Rents in Cork have soared 30% above the average rents in Strasbourg, the seat of the European Parliament.
Stark new figures show that Cork rents, while still lower than those in Dublin, now rank among the highest in Europe when compared to cities of similar size.
The revelation prompted calls last night from Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune for Finance Minister Michael Noonan to introduce measures in next week’s budget to tackle the problem.
“I understand that increasing the supply of housing will take time and investment but next week’s budget must lay serious groundwork in tackling a problem which will make our economy uncompetitive,” she said.
Ms Clune (FG) was reacting to figures from Numbeo.com, a website which offers price comparisons across cities, shows that the monthly rent on a one-bed apartment in Cork city centre averages €787.92.
While still 37% lower than in Dublin, it is 30.43% higher than rents in Strasbourg, the seat of the European Parliament; 18.04% higher than rents in Bilbao, Spain; 15.48% higher than the rates in Leicester, England; and 17.40% higher than in Toulouse, France — all of which are around the same size as Cork.
Soaring rents have become a major problem in recent months as the economy recovers and against the backdrop of a chronic shortage of housing units. However, new house completions are on the increase with 11,016 units completed nationally last year — a 33% increase on the 2013 figure.
The trend is positive, with planning permissions granted for 2,144 dwellings in the third quarter of last year, compared with 1,409 units for the same period in 2013 — an increase of 52%.
But it will take time for the units to be built, Ms Clune said. She called for reform in the rental sector so that tenants can take on longer leases where rent increases are limited to inflation.
“This will provide security for the landlord, the tenant and ensure more stability in the market,” she said. “We shouldn’t be looking upon renting as a temporary living arrangement.”
Environment Minister Alan Kelly, meanwhile, voiced his intention to tackle the excessive rise in the cost of rent.
Ms Clune said securing such rent stability and sustainability would benefit tenants, landlords and society as a whole in the long run.: “If we are trying to attract young people to live and work in Cork and large companies to invest here, then it makes no sense to have them priced out of the market.”
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