Rents in Ireland at highest ever level

Charities call for the introduction of rent certainty and a "housing-led solution" to address spiralling prices

Rental prices across the country are now at their highest ever level, according to a new report.

This year saw the largest annual increase in prices since property website Daft.ie began its report almost 15 years ago.

Ireland’s average rent is now €1,077 - an increase of 11.7% on this time last year and a new all-time high.

The country has seen double-digit rent rises in 37 of the 54 areas analysed - up from just 17 as recently as last year.

There were just over 3,600 properties available to rent nationwide on October 1st, the least amount of properties available in October since the start of the series.

Just two years ago - on October 1st 2014 - there were almost 6,000 properties listed.

With rents now dwarfing those experienced during the Celtic Tiger era, the report said the prices are "having a disastrous effect on social cohesion as well as on Irish competitiveness.”

It notes that “the complete absence of any meaningful level of construction over the past five years is a systemic failure in desperate need of policy solutions.”

“There is no more urgent task facing the Minister for Housing, his department and advisers, and the Housing Agency, than understanding why the costs of building - and building apartments in particular - is so dramatically out of line with our own incomes and indeed with the cost in other countries.”

Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation said rents won't come down until the supply of houses is increased:

"The powers that be need to sit down and look at what couples can afford to borrow within the Central Bank regulations," said Mr Parlon.

"They need to look at the costs and look at where those costs are coming from.

"Whether it be the VAT again or the very substantial levies that are there, I believe they have to be addressed if we want to reduce the cost of the construction of houses."

In Dublin, rents have risen at a rate of 12.1% - the highest rate of inflation in over two years - with rents in the capital now nearly 10% higher than their previous peak in early 2008.

Homeless charity, the Simon Community has one again called on the government to introduce rent certainty and "enhanced security of tenure" in order to address the crisis.

The charity yesterday submitted a strategy to the Department of Housing which, they say, will address the "spiralling rents and dwindling supply that have characterised the private rented sector in recent years."

National Simon Community spokesperson, Niamh Randall said today’s figures are “very worrying.”

“Keeping people in the homes that they already have is key to stopping the flow of people into homelessness,” she said. 

“People renting their homes must have the security of knowing that their rents are in line with real market rates and index linked - for example to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).” 

Kerry Anthony, CEO of homeless charity service Depaul said the past year has “seen persistently high levels of families and children” accessing homeless services.

Ms Anthony said if the government does not urgently accelerate the provision of social and affordable housing, “vulnerable families and children will continue to fall through the cracks.” 

“Homelessness can be particularly devastating for children, with homeless children at higher risk of mental, physical and behavioural issues that can have life-long consequence,” she said.

“The impact of homelessness on a child’s sense of self-worth cannot be overstated.”

She said the homelessness crisis requires a “housing-led solution.”

“While Depaul works tirelessly to help transition families from homelessness into more permanent accommodation; the housing crisis continues to pose a huge barrier to our ability to do this.”

Trinity College Economist Ronan Lyons - the author of the report - said the rate of inflation is extremely worrying: 

Mr Lyons said the government needs to make properties cheaper to build and introduce policies that will fill vacant homes in order to tackle the crisis.

“With the number of homeless families and with the height of winter approaching, it is extremely urgent that we really tackle this from a practical point of view,” he said. 

“Why are homes vacant? Is it to do with the legal process? Is it to do with Fair Deal? Is it to do with a lack of incentives in the tax system? 

“How can we make sure that all the properties that we have built are in use and then how can we build more?” 

Irish rent increases 2015 - 2016:

 

  • Dublin: €1,580, up 12.1%
  • Cork: €1,087, up 14.4%
  • Galway: €962, up 10.9%
  • Limerick: €862, up 13.2%
  • Waterford: €735, up 11.2%
  • Rest of the country: €764, up 10.9%

Sinn Fein spokeperson on housing, Eoin Ó Broin said the figures are “hugely concerning” and accused the government of “failing renters.”

“What is clear is that rent certainty cannot wait for the Minister’s strategy on the rental sector. We need it now,” he said.

“Rent certainty on its own will not tackle the issue of high rents; however it will put a break on the unaffordable rent increases that thousands of people are facing.”

He said it is no coincidence that “as rents rise the number of families in emergency accommodation also rises.”

"Renters cannot wait any longer. The Minister can no longer kick the rent certainty can down the road. The time to act is now," he said.