The average rent in Ireland is now more than €100 more expensive than the average mortgage payment.
Trinity College economist Ronan Lyons says rents have skyrocketed over the last decade.
He said: “I can’t find a similar period where rents increased as much, in real terms, as fast as they have over the last 10 years.
“We’re in a uniquely bad position in terms of housing supply for the rental sector.”
The latest stats from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show the average rent across the country was €1,256 per month in the year to December 2020.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show the average sale price during the same period was €297,043. The mortgage payment on this property would be €1,138 per month, €118 per month less.
This is based on a 30-year loan with an interest rate of 3%, the average interest rate agreed on new mortgages in Ireland.
Daragh Cassidy from price comparison site Bonkers.ie said rent prices have traditionally been significantly lower than the price of a mortgage.
He said: “I think it’s fair to say we have a pretty dysfunctional housing market.
"This is borne out by the fact that it’s now, in most cases, cheaper to buy a home than it is to rent. That really should never be the case.”
Although hundreds of thousands of people are out of work due to the pandemic, rent prices have continued to rise.
The RTB figures show that the average rental payment of €1,256 per month as of December 2020 represented an increase of 2.7% compared to the same period in 2019.
This came as Ireland’s unemployment rate, when those on government support payments are included, stood at 25% in February.
Mr Lyons said the fact that rents have continued to rise, despite the massive number of people out of work, shows how serious Ireland’s lack of rental properties is.
He said: “These things are signals from the market. They’re telling us about a lack of supply, and in particular, a lack of supply of rental homes.
“From a policymaker’s point of view, cheaper rents are always better.
“Estate housing for people with a mortgage, that came back on-stream. By 2018 or 2019, that sector was largely in balance. Whereas the rental market is still blighted by shortages.”