Sinn Féin has labelled the figures a "cause of shame and disgrace” for the Government
The Taoiseach has insisted the Government’s Rent Pressure Zones are having an effect.
Leo Varadkar was speaking after new figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) revealed that the average national rent has topped €1,000 per month.
The figures show that Dublin is still the most expensive pace in the country to rent – with properties costing an average of €1,500 a month.
Rents across the country grew by 6.4% in the year to October 2017 – slowing from an 8% rise in the year to July 2017.
Speaking in the Dáil, the Taoiseach insisted the rental market is “now beginning to stabilise.”
“What people are willing and able to pay is now much closer to what landlords are able to charge,” he said.
“It shows that the Rent Pressure Zones are starting to work as well.
“Because of course, these are new tenancies and for new tenancies rents have increased by 6.4% in the last year – and that rate is slowing.
“For those who have existing tenancies, the rate of increase with some exceptions is 4% or less.”
The average national rental price is now €1,054 – a figure the Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou Mc Donald labelled a “cause of shame and disgrace” for the Government.
“It is unaffordable for working families,” she said.
“For people at work Taoiseach, who get up very early in the morning, who work very hard and who have the modest aspiration of a secure roof over their head.”
RTB director Rosalind Carroll, said the apparent slow-down in rent inflation marks a step in the right direction – but warned rates must drop further to tackle affordability issues:
“It is a slow-down on the previous growth figure,” she said. “So we would have looked at a rate of 8% in the previous quarter.”
“That then is replicated when we look at the Dublin market; in fact we see it even more reduced there.
“So, while we still see obviously affordability issues what we do want to see is a dampening of that growth level.”
The Housing Minister has welcomed the report, saying there are signs that Rent Pressure Zones in urban areas are starting to work.
He said the rules would now be strengthened making it an offence to increase rents in contravention of the legislation.
The RTB will also be given the powers to investigate and prosecute such cases.
Ms Carroll said prices declined in Cork city during the quarter while they rose by 1.1% in Dublin city.
Pat Davitt, chief executive of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers (IPAV) said the figures show that people have been priced out of the Dublin area and into surrounding counties.
“In the Greater Dublin Area, excluding Dublin city but including commuter counties Meath Wicklow and Kildare, growth has jumped from 4.8pc in Q3 to 7.5pc in Q4,” he said.
He said the supply of properties is increasing far too slowly and called on the Government to give absolute priority to measures that could assist supply.