The cost of renting a home in Cork has risen by over 5% this year, indicating what may be the beginning of a resurgence in the urban property market.
Rents in Dublin also rose slightly while those in rural areas continued to fall.
The average rent nationwide in the first quarter of 2012 was largely unchanged from a year previously (down 0.1%), according to the latest report published by property website Daft.ie.
This marks the eighth consecutive quarter of stable rents, with the average rent nationwide now €812 a month.
This national average hides different trends in Dublin and Cork compared to elsewhere.
Dublin rents in the first three months of 2012 were 1.2% higher than a year previously, with city centre rents up 2.1%, while in Cork, city rents were 5.5% higher.
Rents in Galway City were largely stable (down 0.4%), while in Limerick and Waterford cities, rents fell by 1.7% and 3.6% respectively.
Elsewhere in the country, rents fell by an average of 2.1%.
Ronan Lyons, economist at Daft.ie, said: “There is now a clear difference in rental trends between the major urban centres of Dublin and Cork, where rents are rising, and the rest of the country, where rents are falling, albeit slowly.
“This difference reflects greater demand for living near cities, which are home to most new jobs, and also reflects supply factors.
“The number of properties available to rent in larger cities is falling, with 13% fewer properties available to rent in Dublin now than a year ago.”
Mr Lyons said there may now be a shortage of residential property in certain areas, something that has not occurred since the property crash.
“Rural rents fell for every single county for the first quarter of 2012 so we are now seeing a widening of the urban-rural gap.
“If you look back at the trend for the past two years, rents in Dublin and Cork have been stable and are now starting to rise again so the idea of shortages of property in certain areas is not as far-fetched as it sounds. The rental market is a good place to see those signals.”
Commenting on the report, Barry O’Leary, chief executive of the IDA, said: “While there is concern among some property owners that rents and prices have not returned to boom levels, the market emerging from the economic crash appears more sustainable, which is something the IDA would always welcome.”
Year-on-year change in rents in major cities for the first three months of 2012.
* Dublin: €1,032, up 2.1%
* Cork: €917, up 5.5%
* Galway: €744, down 0.4%
* Limerick: €675, down 1.7%
* Waterford: €617, down 3.6%
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