Rent Prices: What tenants pay varies wildly from county-to-county

Ireland’s average cost of rented accommodation is rising, but the national figures conceal a wide range of price variations across the country, says Seán McCárthaigh

Rents are on the rise…..which is good news for landlords but bad news for tenants who fear a return to the boom years of spiralling house prices and rents.

In 2014, average rents for private sector accommodation rose by 5.8% annually with rent for houses up 4.8% and apartments up 6.4%, according to the latest rent index published by the Private Residential Tenancies Board.

But such national figures conceal a myriad of different price movements in the cost of renting around the country.

While a shortage of housing pushed up the cost of buying and renting property in Dublin last year, the upward movement in rents has been at a more moderate pace outside the capital.

This special report examines how the rental market has been performing across Ireland during 2014. The PRTB rent index, which is compiled by the Economic and Social Research Institute, is considered the most accurate and authoritative report of its kind on the private accommodation sector in Ireland.

The figures are derived from the PRTB’s own register of tenancies which contains details of the actual rents being paid for rental properties.

The current register has recorded information on more than 303,500 tenancies at the end of last year with details on the cost of monthly rents, location, dwelling type, accommodation size and number of occupants and tenancy length.

The ESRI used a hedonic regression methodology to calculate average rents on more than 440 locations around Ireland based on the number of bedrooms and property type.

For more detailed figures on rents check the index on the PRTB’s website: www.prtb.ie

CARLOW

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €603

Rank: 10

Change since 2013: ↑€6 (+0.9%)

Change since 2008: ↓€133 (-18.1%)

Most Expensive: Carlow Town - €619

Least Expensive: Tullow - €565

The cost of rental property in Carlow increased in 2014 for the first time since the start of the recession in 2008 – albeit by a modest rise of €6 per month.

The strongest rise in the past 12 months has been in the average price of two- bed properties in the county – up €19 per month or 3.5%.

In contrast, the cost of renting large homes with four or more beds has actually fallen – down €17 or 2.3%.

On average, rents for detached and terraced house across Carlow fell slightly last year. However, apartment prices rose by 4% averaging €596 per month.

The price of semi-detached houses in Carlow Town declined marginally in 2014, while apartment rents in the town jumped by almost 9% to average €666 per month.

Rents in Tullow bucked the general trend by recording a slight fall last year – down less than 1% to average €565 per month.

Over the past six years, average rents in the county have fallen by 18% or around €1,600 annually since they peaked in 2008.

CAVAN

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €436

Rank: 24

Change since 2013: €0 (-0.1%)

Change since 2008: ↓€122 (-21.9%)

Most Expensive: Kingscourt - €495

Least Expensive: Ballyconnell - €383

Although Cavan has a reputation for having some of the largest house sizes anywhere in the country, it still has the third cheapest overall rents in the Republic.

Average monthly rents across the county remained virtually static over the past 12 months at €436 with prices rising in a few places including Cavan Town,

Ballyconnell and Ballyjamesduff. However, they fell by 5% or €264 annually in Bailieborough and by 2.5% or €120 in Belturbet.

Unusually, average rent prices in the county’s largest population centre, Cavan town are cheaper than several other areas including Kingscourt, Ballyjamesduff and Virginia. However, the figures probably reflect a greater mix of housing types and sizes which wouldn’t be present in the smaller population centres.

While average rents in Cavan Town rose by almost 2% last year, the price of renting detached homes in the county town increased by 4.5% or €23 per month to €519.

Demand for popular semi-detached homes helped to push up rent prices in this category in most parts of Cavan with the exception of Cootehill.

Apartment prices rose by almost 3% in Cavan town to €386 per month and by almost 10% in Cootehill to €424.

CLARE

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €511

Rank: 19

Change since 2013: ↓€1 (-0.2%)

Change since 2008: ↓€173 (-25.3%)

Most Expensive: Shannon - €570

Least Expensive: Kilrush - €426

The cost of renting property in Clare during 2014 remained effectively unchanged with costs down just over €1 per month to average €511.

Rental prices in the main urban centre of Ennis fell slightly more at 0.7% or just over €3 per month for the same average of €511, although the cost of renting semi-detached properties in the town rose marginally.

Price increases were even more pronounced for rental properties in Killaloe (up 3% to €568) and Newmarket-on-Fergus (up 1.8% to €568) over the past year.

However, rents fell notably over the same period in Sixmilebridge (down 3.6% to €552) and Kilrush (down 2.3% to €426).

When it comes to property types, there were slight increases in rents for two and three-bed housing but a decline for homes of four or more bedrooms.

Apartment rents increased by 3% on average in Clare to €470 per month including up 7% or €37 per month in Killaloe.

Overall average rents in Clare have fallen by around €2,075 per annum since 2008 – a decrease of 25% but by more than €2,850 or 36% in the case of Kilrush.

It makes the decline in rents in Clare since the end of the economic boom the second largest in the Republic.

CORK

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €769

Rank: 5

Change since 2013: ↑€16 (+2.1%)

Change since 2008: ↓€131 (-14.5%)

Most Expensive: Frankfield - €973

Least Expensive: Skibbereen - €468

When the diverse rental property markets of Cork city and numerous towns in Ireland largest county are taken into account, the cost of renting in Cork rose by €192 per annum on average or just over 2%.

In Cork city, rents rose by just under 2% during 2014 to average €851 per month.

However, several of the city’s suburbs continue to attract even higher rents than in the city centre, combined with above-average price hikes in the cost of renting last year.

The results are indicative of the ongoing trend of people abandoning city centre locations in favour of more spacious, suburban accommodation.

Frankfield, which attracts the highest rental prices in Cork (averaging €973 per month) saw costs rise by more than 8% in the past year.

Other expensive locations include Bishopstown with average rents at €972 (which were virtually unchanged on 2013 figures), Rochestown (€930) and Douglas (€926).

At the other end of the scale, rents continued to fall in Cork’s cheapest location – Skibbereen – where the cost of renting decreased by 2.3% to €468.

The west Cork town was one of only seven locations out of more than 40 in the county monitored by the PRTB which saw rents fall during 2014.

Other towns which feature reductions in rent of approximately 1-2% were Charleville, Kanturk and Youghal, while in Cork city the Tivoli area saw average monthly rents come down by around 1.5% to €838.

Other good locations for cheap rents in Cork include Kanturk (€473), Millstreet (€518) and Dunmanway (€521).

Demand for detached homes appears strong with rents for such properties up 3.2% to average €768 around the county and €909 in the city.

Growth in the average cost of rents for other property types was more modest including a 1.5% increase in rental apartments to average €772 across the county and €845 in Cork city.

Overall rents across Cork city and county have now fallen 15% on average since the start of the recession – saving renters approximately €1,570 per annum.

However, the reduction in rents since 2008 has been considerably higher in some locations like Cloyne (down 26% or more than €2,500 per annum), Castlemartyr (-25%), Charleville and Clonakilty (both -23%).

DONEGAL

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €442

Rank: 23

Change since 2013: ↓€3 (-0.7%)

Change since 2008: ↓€125 (-22.1%)

Most Expensive: Letterkenny- €469

Least Expensive: Carndonagh - €381

Donegal was one of eight counties which bucked the national trend last year by seeing house prices fall and the situation is mirrored when it comes to rental properties.

Overall the average monthly cost of renting in Donegal fell by 0.7% last year to €442.

The modest prices ensures Donegal has the fourth cheapest rental properties in the Republic, falling to below the €400 rate in one of the most northernmost corners of Ireland in Carndonagh.

Not unsurprisingly, the main town, Letterkenny commands the highest rents at €469 per month – virtually unchanged since 2013 and the only major population centre in the county where rents haven’t fallen in the past 12 months.

Decreases in excess of 3% in average rents were recorded in Donegal Town, Carndonagh, Lifford and Stranolar.

One of the biggest decrease was a 13% reduction in the space of a year for two- bed rental properties in Donegal Town which fell by €708 annually to €4,767.

Unlike in several other counties, there was a slight increase in rent for large properties with four or more bedrooms in Donegal last year, rising by more than 2% in towns like Lifford and Donegal Town.

The cost of renting semi-detached homes fell in most towns with the exception of Letterkenny and Buncrana, while apartment rents dropped in all locations by 1.5% on average.

DUBLIN

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €1,119

Rank: 1

Change since 2013: ↑€57 (+5.3%)

Change since 2008: ↓€178 (-13.7%)

Most Expensive: Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2 - €1,937

Least Expensive: South Circular Road, Dublin 8 - €624

No prizes for guessing that the most expensive rents in Ireland are found in Dublin,

As the country’s main population centre, Dublin’s rental market has always commanded the highest rents and it was inevitable that any resurgence in the property sector would begin in the capital.

A growing population with rising employment and a shortage of new housing has ensured that rents have even outpaced property prices in many parts of Dublin during 2014.

Even allowing for the impact of the less populous and popular outlying parts of the county, average rents in Dublin rose by 5.3% last year or €57 per month.

However, the average figure for the county conceals much larger annual increases in rent in localised areas. For example, average monthly rents have soared by almost €200 for properties in Grand Canal Dock – a jump of more than 12%.

Rent increases of 10% or more were recorded in several locations including Spencer Dock (now €1,598 per month), Leopardstown (€1,406), Lower Mount Street (€1,312), Harold’s Cross (€1,168), Santry (€1,104), Kimmage (€1,058), Drumcondra (€1,055), Lusk (€1,005), Inchicore (€1,020), Porterstown (€937) and Killester (€1,139)

One of the few areas of Dublin to see average rents fall was the normally high- in-demand Sandycove where rents declined by 3.4% to €1,156, although the decrease might be explained by changes to the composition of the property mix of rental properties on which last year’s index was based. Similarly upmarket Dartry saw rents fall by almost 2%.

The Docklands areas of Dublin, which has been the scene of much urban regeneration in the past decade, now has some of the highest rents in Ireland, particularly on the south banks of the River Liffey. Average monthly rents in Grand Canal Square are now almost €1,950 – Ireland’s most expensive rental location.

More traditional upmarket suburbs, again more notably on the city’s southside, like Mount Merrion , Foxrock and Goatstown also command average rents in excess of €1,600 per month.

The biggest increases last year were in rents for one- and two-bed properties which were up around 7.5% on average.

Rents in Dublin have held up better than most other parts of Ireland since they began to tumble during the economic downturn which started in 2008. Average rents have fallen by just under 14% - the third lowest decrease after Galway and Sligo over the period – with rental rates down €178 per month compared to seven years ago.

Bucking the national trend, average rents in a few parts of Dublin in 2014 are actually higher than in 2008. They include Islandbridge, Glasnevin, the IFSC and Goatstown.

Among areas of the city suffering above-average declines in rents over the same period were Ballymun, Balbriggan, Ballyfermot, Howth, Mulhuddart and Tyrrelstown.

GALWAY

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €785

Rank: 4

Change since 2013: ↑€16 (+2.1%)

Change since 2008: ↓€89 (-10.2%)

Most Expensive: Newcastle - €1,054

Least Expensive: Portumna - €414

Galway is the most expensive place to rent in Ireland outside the greater Dublin region with average monthly rents costing €785 – up 2.1% on 2013 figures.

In Galway city, rents also rose by around 2% to average €870 per month.

However, some Galway suburbs and other towns command even higher prices including Bohermore, Headford, Knocknacarra, Newcastle, Wellpark and Woodquay in part due to a smaller mix of housing types.

Rents rose by around 5% or more in several locations last year including Ballybane, Ballybrit, Bohermore, Knocknacarra, Wellpark, Portumna and Renmore.

Only two towns in Galway witnessed a reduction in average rent prices last year – Headford (down 7.7% to €973) and Moycullen (down 2.6% to €674).

Demand for two-bed rental properties appears strong with average rents up almost 3% or €20 per month, while the average rent for semi-detached houses jumped 2.7% to €820 per month and terraced homes rose 3.5% to €819.

Apartment prices averaged €782 – up 2.5%.

The popularity of Galway as a place to rent is also evident by the fact that rent prices have only fallen in the county by an average of 10% since they peaked in 2008 – the smallest percentage decline anywhere in Ireland over the period at just €1,068 per annum.

However, rents have fallen more sharply over the past seven years in several locations including Ballinasloe, Monivea and Portumna.

KERRY

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €533

Rank: 15

Change since 2013: ↑€5 (+1%)

Change since 2008: ↓€112 (-17.4%)

Most Expensive: Killarney - €616

Least Expensive: Dingle - €457

It might have some of the most expensive properties in Ireland when it comes to tourist accommodation but it’s a different story in Kerry when it comes to ordinary homes for rent.

Such properties enjoyed a modest increase last year with general rents in the county up 1% during the year to average €533.

The growth in rental prices was even stronger in towns like Killorglin (up 5.2% to €506), Kenmare (up 3.4% to €482) and Killarney (up 2.4% to €616).

Only two towns in the Kingdom experienced rent prices in 2014 – Dingle which suffered a 4.3% drop to €457 meaning it overtook Listowel as the cheapest main population centre to rent in Kerry. Listowel recorded a more modest decrease of just 0.4% for average monthly rents of €465.

Rents for two-bed rental properties in Kenmare and Killorglin showed strong growth with prices up 8.3% and 6.1% respectively.

Across Kerry, rental prices for semi-detached homes rose by almost 2% to average €574, while the cost of renting terraced properties was static at €525.

Apartment prices also recorded strong growth of around 4% or more in Killarney, Killorglin and Listowel.

Compared to 2008, the cost of rental properties in Kerry has fallen by 17% or €1,344 per annum with most towns experiencing even greater declines with the exception of Tralee where rents have just fallen 8% over the period.

KILDARE

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €814

Rank: 3

Change since 2013: ↑€39 (+5%)

Change since 2008: ↓€173 (-17.6%)

Most Expensive: Leixlip - €990

Least Expensive: Athy - €549

Given that several towns in Kildare form part of Dublin’s commuter belt, it’s no great surprise that the county commands the third highest rents in the Republic.

Reports that housing shortages in the capital have fed through to rising house prices and rents are confirmed in Kildare’s case with the cost of rental properties rising by 5% on average during 2014 – an annual increase of €468.

It is the second year in a row that rates have gone in an upward trajectory after a long period of falling rent prices since 2008.

The rate of rising rents was even more pronounced in the parts of Kildare closest to Dublin including Naas (up 7% to €859), Celbridge (up 6.4% to €945), Clane (up 8.3% to €846) and Leixlip (up 8.2% to €990).

Conversely below-average increases were recorded in towns at the other ends of the county including Athy, Kilcock and Rathangan, although rents still continued to rise in all parts of Kildare last year.

One-bed units across the county seem popular with average rents up 7.4% but with double-digit rate increases in Clane, Leixlip and Maynooth.

The cost of renting apartments grew by 6.2% on average up €44 per month to €741 and as much as 9.4% in Maynooth to €912 which has a large student population.

Annual average rents in Kildare have now tumbled by around €2,076 in the past six years.

KILKENNY

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €609

Rank: 9

Change since 2013: ↑€17 (+2.9%)

Change since 2008: ↓€147 (-19.4%)

Most Expensive: Kells - €694

Least Expensive: Thomastown - €574

Rents increased across all towns monitored in the PRTB Rent Index in Kilkenny during 2014 for the first time since 2008 with the average monthly rent up almost 3% - one of the larger increases anywhere in Ireland last year.

The rent increases were driven by their rise in Kilkenny City, as the county’s main population centre, where rents were up 3.6% to €615 per month.

The growth in rent prices elsewhere in the county was more modest but still around 2% or more in Callan and Castlecomer. However, rents were relatively static in other places like Freshford and Thomastown.

With regard to property type, above-average growth in rents were noted across the county for terraced properties and apartments.

Annual rents in Kilkenny are now €1,764 or 19% below their peak in 2008.

LAOIS

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €528

Rank: 18

Change since 2013: ↑€16 (+3.1%)

Change since 2008: ↓€155 (-22.7%)

Most Expensive: Portlaoise - €551

Least Expensive: Mountmellick - €472

Rents in Laois recorded the first growth since the start of the recession in 2014 with average prices for rental properties up more than 3% - one of the biggest annual increases among the 26 counties.

It equated to an average monthly increase of €16 in rent to bring the new rates to €528.

Rents in Laois had fallen particularly far compared to most other counties over the past seven years with average prices down 23% or €1,860 per annum.

As the county town, Portlaoise, not unexpectedly commands the highest rents - €551 per month in 2014 – up €21 on 2013 levels, representing an increase of almost 4%.

Average rents in Laois across all locations and property types recorded various levels of growth.

In Portlaoise, the biggest increases were for one-bed housing where rents grew by almost 6% for a monthly average of €433.

LEITRIM

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €403

Rank: 25

Change since 2013: ↑€5 (+1.2%)

Change since 2008: ↓€131 (-24.6%)

Most Expensive: Carrick-on-Shannon - €408

Least Expensive: Manorhamilton - €387

As might be expected with one of the least populous counties in Ireland, data on rent prices in Leitrim is limited with information confined to the two main towns of Carrick-on-Shannon and Manorhamilton.

Also as a county with a known oversupply of housing – one of the main legacies of the property boom to affect the midland region in particular – it’s inevitable that it has some of the cheapest rents in the country.

Only neighbouring Longford had lower average rents than Leitrim in 2014.

Nevertheless, last year also witnessed the first pick-up in rents since 2008 with average prices up 1.2% in Leitrim to €403 per month.

The county town, Carrick-on-Shannon, saw rents increase by an average 1.4% to €408, while prices in Manorhamilton dipped slightly – by 0.6% to €387.

Detached homes in Carrick-on-Shannon were one of the main drivers of growth in rents – up 5.4% or €25 per month to €483, while apartments in the town also rose by 4.2% or €15 per month to €384.

The scale of the property bubble which burst in Leitrim since 2008 is evident by the 25% fall in rents over the period – resulting in annual savings of €1,572.

LIMERICK

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €627

Rank: 8

Change since 2013: ↓€1 (-0.2%)

Change since 2008: ↓€116 (-15.6%)

Most Expensive: Old Cratloe Road, Limerick - €734

Least Expensive: Abbeyfeale - €455

Limerick is only of only six counties in the Republic where the general trend of rising rent prices during 2014 failed to take hold.

The rental market mirrored the experience of property prices in Limerick last year which also witnessed a setback in contrast to most other parts of the country.

However, the fall in rental prices in Limerick was relatively minor at just 0.2% to leave the average monthly cost of rent across the county at €627.

In fact, rent increases in excess of 3% during 2014 were recorded in several locations in Limerick including Castleconnell, Dooradoyle and the Old Cratloe Road area of Limerick. The cost of renting soared by 9% in Corbally over the same period – up €47 per month to €567.

In sharp contrast, there was an 11% decrease in rental prices fetched in Castletroy – good news for tenants who saw their monthly rent fall by €83 per month to €674, while there was a 5.2% drop in rents in Abbeyfeale – down €25 to €455.

The cost of renting in Limerick city showed modest growth of 1.8% with prices up an average €11 to €629, while rents were virtually unchanged in other towns like Glin and Kilmallock.

One-bed properties in the city saw their rents go up by 3.4% to €451.

Average rents across Limerick city and county have now fallen by just under 16% since their peak in 2008 – an average reduction of almost €1,400 per annum but more than €2,730 in Corbally.

LONGFORD

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €402

Rank: 26

Change since 2013: ↑€6 (+1.5%)

Change since 2008: ↓€155 (-22.7%)

Most Expensive: Longford - €406

Least Expensive: Ballymahon - €384

It has the cheapest property prices in the country with the average cost of properties sold in Longford last year at just €55,000. With such pedigree, it’s also no major revelation to discover that the county also has the lowest rental prices in the Republic.

Average monthly rents stood at €402 at the end of 2014 – a year which also witnessed the first price rise for rents in Longford since 2008 – albeit by just 1.5%.

Across the four towns in the county monitored by the PRTB index – Longford, Ballymahon, Edgeworthstown and Newtownforbes – there is very little difference in the cost of renting with just a gap of €22 per month between the dearest and cheapest.

Last year saw slight increases in rents in Edgeworthstown and Longford, while Newtownforbes was effectively unchanged. However, rents came down by almost 2% on average in Ballymahon.

Overall, the cost of renting in Longford has fallen by 28% since the end of the boom, resulting in average annual savings for tenants of €1,860.

LOUTH

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €628

Rank: 7

Change since 2013: ↑€14 (+2.3%)

Change since 2008: ↓€172 (-21.5%)

Most Expensive: Drogheda - €657

Least Expensive: Ardee - €594

It might be the Republic’s smallest county but Louth has always had a relatively strong property market as a result of its strategic location between Dublin and Belfast with the 7th most expensive rental properties in the country.

The cost of renting in Louth increased by a moderate 2.3% in 2014 – up €14 per month to €628 with above-average increases in Drogheda and Louth village.

Rental properties in the county’s two other main towns, Dundalk and Ardee rose by approximately 1.5%.

The performance of detached homes in the county was stronger with rents up almost 4% or €27 per month to €576. However, the average rent for both semi- detached houses and apartments were below the 2.3% average for all property types.

Drogheda – because of its proximity to Dublin – commands the highest rents in Louth with average monthly rent up €21 last year to €657. Rents for detached houses in the town jumped by almost 5% to €780. Apartments in Drogheda were up 3.3% to €612.

Apartments were less in vogue in Dundalk where average rents fell by 1.5% to €562 although rents for other property types in the town recorded growth of around 2%.

Since the recession kicked in during 2008 rents in Louth have fallen on average by 21% - an effective annual saving of €2,064.

MAYO

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €506

Rank: 20

Change since 2013: ↓€1 (-0.2%)

Change since 2008: ↓€131 (-20.5%)

Most Expensive: Westport - €609

Least Expensive: Ballyhaunis - €414

Rents in Mayo remained virtually static during 2014 although technically the county was one of only six in the Republic where they actually declined, albeit marginally.

Average monthly rents dipped by just €1 or 0.2% last year to leave monthly rents in Mayo at €506.

Rents fell in a majority of the 10 main towns surveyed in Mayo including Ballina, Ballinrobe, Castlebar and Claremorris.

The decline in the cost of rental property was most pronounced in Belmullet where they fell 4.3% to €549 – a factor which may be linked to a reduction in the numbers working on the construction of the controversial Corrib gasfield which had catapulted Belmullet into having the most expensive rental properties in Mayo in 2009.

Somewhat less pronounced but still substantial was a fall in rents in Ballyhaunis of almost 3% which replaces Charlestown as the cheapest large town in Mayo for tenants.

Going against the downward trend in the county were Swinford and Westport with rent increases of less than 0.5% even though the latter remains the most expensive location for renting in Mayo with average monthly rents at €609.

Charlestown saw rents go up by 1.1% to €418 while Foxford recorded the biggest hike in rents – up almost 3% to €467.

Rents for apartments across Mayo rose by 1.6% last year to average €479 including a rise of over 4% in Westport. All other property types recorded slight decreases in the cost of rent.

Average rents have fallen in Mayo since the start of the recession by 20% or €1,572 annually.

MEATH

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €702

Rank: 6

Change since 2013: ↑€27 (+3.9%)

Change since 2008: ↓€173 (-19.7%)

Most Expensive: Dunboyne - €921

Least Expensive: Kells - €563

As the cheapest of the three counties bordering Dublin in terms of rent costs,

Meath remains a popular location for tenants with commutes to the capital looking for cheaper housing.

Nevertheless, Meath recorded one of the biggest increases in the prices of average rents last year – up almost 4% or €27 per month to €702 and is the 6th most expensive county for rental accommodation in Ireland.

Of 15 towns in Meath surveyed by the PRTB, only one saw the average cost of rents fall during 2014 – Duleek where rents fell by just 0.5% to €674.

The strongest growth was recorded in Enfield (up 7% to €754) and Dunshaughlin (+6.7% to €780) with above-average increases also experienced in Ashbourne, Athboy, Clonee, Dunboyne, Navan and Rathoath.

Locations nearest to Dublin obtain higher rents generally with average monthly rents exceeding €850 in Ashbourne, Clonee, Dunboyne and Rathoath.

Popular family homes such as semi-detached houses saw above-average increases of 4.3% including a 8.6% rise in Dunboyne where such housing now commands average monthly rents of €1,020.

Apartment prices also witnessed a 5.6% jump in 2014 to reach an average price across Meath of €648 per month, including a 7.6% increase in Clonee where monthly rents now reach €878.

Rents in the county have fallen by just under 20% in the last seven years – with the average monthly rent now costing €133 less than in 2008.

MONAGHAN

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €489

Rank: 21

Change since 2013: ↑€3 (+0.6%)

Change since 2008: ↓€127 (-20.6%)

Most Expensive: Monaghan - €528

Least Expensive: Ballybay - €426

While it has a number of large towns, the cost of buying and renting homes in Monaghan has always been comparatively affordable to most other parts of the country.

Monaghan remained at the cheaper end of rents in Ireland with the sixth lowest monthly average prices, although they rose slightly during the course of 2014 – up just 0.6% to €489.

The county’s three largest towns – Monaghan, Carrickmacross and Castleblayney – all recorded above-average increases with Castleblayney the most buoyant performer with rents up 2.5% on average to €486.

However, the only other location in Monaghan monitored for rents – Ballybay – saw a more pronounced fall with average rents down 5.6% or €25 per month to €426.

Rents for all main property types in the county with the exception of terraced houses rose by around 1% last year.

One of the biggest increases was the cost of renting two-bed properties in Carrickmacross which were up almost 6% to €464.

Rents have declined in Monaghan by more than 20% since 2008 – effecting annual savings for tenants of €1,524.

OFFALY

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €528

Rank: 17

Change since 2013: ↑€5 (+0.9%)

Change since 2008: ↓€157 (-22.9%)

Most Expensive: Edenderry - €555

Least Expensive: Clara - €484

The property market in Offaly could be a by-word for stability. The performance of the county’s rental sector during 2014 saw little real movement in prices.

Overall monthly rents were up by an average of just under 1% to €528 with no great differences in the cost of renting in the Offaly’s five main population centres.

Banagher recorded the highest increase with rents up 1.5% to hit €524, while the cost of renting in Birr was unchanged at €497. Only rents in Clara retracted slightly – down 0.4% to €484.

The cost of renting in Tullamore at just under €555 sees it eclipsed by less than €1 by Edenderry as the county’s most expensive location to rent.

Terraced houses in Offaly showed the strongest growth over the past year with average rents up almost 3% but otherwise there was no significant change in rents for different property types.

However, rents in Offaly have suffered one of the bigger falls recorded since the end of the boom – down almost 23% which has proven good news for renters who have achieved annual savings of €1,884.

ROSCOMMON

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €456

Rank: 22

Change since 2013: ↑€3 (+0.7%)

Change since 2008: ↓€148 (-24.5%)

Most Expensive: Athlone - €595

Least Expensive: Ballaghaderreen - €456

The first signs of a growth in rents in a long time were recorded in Roscommon last year – a county which has witnessed the third sharpest decline in rents since the start of the recession in 2008,

Signs that the fall in the cost of renting has been arrested comes with the 0.7% increase in 2014 which leaves average monthly rents in Roscommon standing at €456.

However, the results are still decidedly mixed with rents still continuing to decline in some parts of the county.

Rents in Ballaghaderreen failed to match the overall trend by slumping a further 3.6% last year to €364. The town has now seen rents fall by a third since 2008 – one of the highest decreases anywhere in Ireland over the period.

The cost of renting in Boyle also eased by a further 2.7% to €418 and in Castlerea by 1.3% to €391.

Elsewhere in Roscommon rents rose by in excess of 2% including Strokestown where they grew by 2.5% to €402.

The outskirts of Athlone that are on the farther side of the River Shannon and geographically in Roscommon still have the highest rents in the county at €595 which represents an annual increase of 2.1%.

Rents rose across all main property types in Roscommon last year with the exception of apartments which recorded a 1.3% decline to average €397 per month.

SLIGO

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €583

Rank: 11

Change since 2013: ↑€5 (+0.9%)

Change since 2008: ↓€84 (-12.6%)

Most Expensive: Ballinode - €823

Least Expensive: Lough Gill - €312

Rents in Sligo have weathered the economic downturn better than everywhere else in recent years with average annual rents down by €1,008 – the smallest reduction of rents in any of the 26 counties since 2008.

Nevertheless, last year was the first time in the period that rents have again begin to move upwards in Sligo – rising on average just under 1% or a modest €5 per month to €583.

But the increase hasn’t been uniform across the county with almost half of the nine locations surveyed seeing the cost of renting continuing to fall including Strandhill (down 3.7% to €707) and the Ballytivnan area of Sligo Town (down 2.1% to €710). Rents also were down 2% in Ballymote to €418 and marginally in Ballisodare.

However, there was an exceptional increase of 12.7% in the cost of renting property in the Ballinode area of Sligo Town where monthly rents are now averaging €823, while there was also a 14.5% increase in rents for property around Lough Gill which are largely in out-of-town locations. More moderate

increases were recorded in Tubbercurry and Collooney.

In Sligo Town itself, rents were up by almost 2% to average €562.

Rents for detached and terraced houses bucked the general trend with rents for such homes falling in most locations. However, the cost of renting apartments across the county rose by more than 3% on average to €566, although there was a small drop in rents for apartments in Sligo Town.

TIPPERARY

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €530

Rank: 16

Change since 2013: ↑€4 (+0.7%)

Change since 2008: ↓€125 (-20.2%)

Most Expensive: Ballina - €630

Least Expensive: Templemore - €468

Like most other counties, 2014 marked an end of an extended period of falling rents in Tipperary with a modest return to growth. The average cost of rental property in the county was up almost 1% to €530.

Average rents in most of the 11 main locations in Tipperary surveyed are between €500 and €550 per month.

Despite the general increase in rents, four towns recorded lower rents than in 2013 including Templemore where rents fell by 5% to €468, although the recent recruitment of several hundred new trainee gardai might change the picture given their need for housing while attending the town’s Garda Training College.

Rents also fell in Cahir by 1.3% to €528 and just under 1% in Thurles to €512.

A marginal decline in rents in Cashel sees the average monthly rate now at €506.

The biggest increase in rents was noted in Fethard – up 2% to €525 with Clonmel and Tipperary Town also recording a rise in rents of just under 2% to €588 and €508 respectively.

Ballina – situated in a picturesque setting on the other side of the Shannon to Killaloe and a short distance from Limerick – attracts the highest rents in Tipperary at €630 per month.

Large homes of four or more bedrooms in Tipperary recorded one of the biggest rent increases based on property type – up 1.4% to €634, while apartment rents were also up 1.2% to average €452 per month.

Across Tipperary rents have now fallen by 20% on average since 2008 – or €1,608 annually over the period. Rental costs in Cashel in that time have dropped by 28%, although the decrease was far less pronounced in Roscrea and Thurles where they have declined by just 13%.

WATERFORD

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €540

Rank: 14

Change since 2013: ↓€4 (-0.8%)

Change since 2008: ↓€154 (-22.2%)

Most Expensive: Templars Hall, Waterford - €767

Least Expensive: Inner Ring Road, Waterford - €281

It might contain Ireland’s fifth largest city but average rents in Co Waterford are similar to many other counties with smaller, less concentrated populations.

Although it’s a relatively small decrease at just 0.8% or €4 per month, Waterford still recorded the biggest fall in rents of any county in the Republic in 2014.

Average rents in Waterford now stand at €540 per month. It is the sixth successive year that tenants have enjoyed a decline in average rents which have dropped by more than 22% since they peaked in 2008 with several parts of Waterford city experiencing rents falling around 30%.

Similarly average rents across the city last year declined by 1% to €540 but the decrease was even more pronounced in areas like the Cork Road and Inner Ring Road.

Other parts of the county to experience similar reductions were Dunmore East (down 4% to €565) and Portlaw (down 4.2% to €474).

The popular seaside resort of Tramore also saw rents fall by 2% to €545.

In contrast, the heritage town of Lismore witnessed a 4.1% rise in rents to €560, while rents in Dungarvan were effectively static at €541 per month. The Templars Hall area of Waterford city also experienced a rise in rents of approximately 5% to €769 – the most expensive rental location in the county.

Rent increases were also notable for large rental properties of four or more bedrooms which were up by almost 2% on average to €696. Rents for apartments fell by 1.3% across the county and by almost 2% in Waterford city where they now average €475 per month.

WESTMEATH

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €540

Rank: 13

Change since 2013: ↑€4 (+0.7%)

Change since 2008: ↓€125 (-18.8%)

Most Expensive: Athlone - €575

Least Expensive: Castlepollard - €462

Unlike other counties in the Midlands region, Westmeath appears to have escaped the more severe impact of the recession…and the same holds true in terms of rental properties.

Rents have fluctuated less in Westmeath compared to most of its neighbouring counties with average rents rising by 0.7% last year to €540 per month.

In a similar fashion, Westmeath is the only county in the region where rents have shrunk by less than 20% since 2008. Tenants in Westmeath are now paying €1,500 less annually in rent than seven years ago.

Somewhat surprisingly given that rents in the parts of the town that lie across the Shannon in Roscommon recorded growth last year, the cost of renting in Athlone fell by 1% to €575 with apartments in the town down more than 2% to €573.

It was the only one of six towns monitored by the PRTB rent index in Westmeath where rents decreased during 2014, although they also remained virtually static in Castlepollard and Kilbeggan.

The largest increase in rent prices was recorded in Kinnegad where they rose 4.7% to average €545 per month. Other upward movement in rents were in Moate (up 3.5% to €504) and Mullingar (up 2% to €526).

WEXFORD

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €544

Rank: 12

Change since 2013: No change

Change since 2008: ↓€151 (-21.8%)

Most Expensive: Clonard, Wexford Town - €603

Least Expensive: New Ross - €508

The days when Wexford’s northern fringes were considered part of Dublin’s extended commuter belt, with its consequent impact on rents and house prices, is long over.

Today the cost of rental properties in the county reflects the downturn that the whole property sector has experienced since 2008 with average rents down 22% or €151 per month compared to the boom period.

The rise in rents recorded in most other counties in 2014 was absent in Wexford which was the only county where the cost of renting remained unchanged – an average of €544.

While most of the nine locations surveyed for the rent index showed only minor variations in rent costs compared to 2013, there were a few notable decreases.

They were the Clonard area of Wexford town (down 3.7% to €536), Bunclody (down 3% to €552) and Ferns (down 3.7% to €536). New Ross also experienced a drop of just under 1% leaving rents at €508 per month.

Only Gorey recorded a marginal increase in rents – up 0.4% to €566 with apartments in the town up 1.3% to €516.

WICKLOW

Average Monthly Rent (2014): €857

Rank: 2

Change since 2013: ↑€37 (+4.5%)

Change since 2008: ↓€200 (-18.9%)

Most Expensive: Greystones - €1,073

Least Expensive: Baltinglass - €617

Given its proximity to the capital it’s no great wonder that Wicklow is the second most expensive county in Ireland when it comes to renting.

And in tandem with Dublin it recorded the second highest level of growth in rent too in 2014. Rents in Wicklow shot up by 4.5% or by €37 per month to an average of €857.

Not surprisingly the highest rate of rents are in the northern part of the county where places like Bray, Greystones and Delgany are effectively satellite towns for Dublin.

The biggest jump in rents last year was in Blessington, which also forms part of Dublin’s commuter belt, where prices were up 7.5% to an average €884 per month. A rent rise of over 7% was also logged in Delgany where the monthly average breached €1,000 for the first time since 2010 to settle at €1,067.

Rent also grew by more than 6% in Bray and Greystones.

Only two out of ten towns in Wicklow monitored by the PRTB witnessed a drop in rates – albeit only a slight fall – Rathnew (down 0.3% to €786) and Baltinglass (down 0.6% to €617).

Since 2008, renters in Wicklow have achieved the biggest savings due to falling prices with rents now down €200 on average per month – a decrease of around 19%.

Demand for one-bed rental properties was particularly strong in Wicklow last year with average rents up 7% to €640 while semi-detached homes saw rents goup by 4% to average €923 per month.

Rents for apartments went up by 6.6% on average across Wicklow to hit €846 with increases of around 11% recorded in Blessington and Greystones.


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