Rents soar on back of housing shortage

Rents are continuing to skyrocket to record levels across the country despite repeated Government efforts to tackle the housing crisis.

Rents soar on back of housing shortage

The rental report for the second quarter of this year shows that double-digit rental increases are being recorded in most parts of the country, while the number of properties available to rent has reached an all-time low.

The figures show that rents nationally are now almost 13% higher than their 2008 peak. The average rent is at a record €1,159 — the fifth quarter in a row that a new record has been set.

The situation in Dublin is even worse, with rents in the capital rising by 12.3% in the second quarter of the year. They are now over 18% (or €260) higher than their previous peak during the boom in 2008.

In Cork City, rents rose by 6.8% in the year to June and now stand at €1,122. In Galway, rents average €1,026 — up 10% on 2016. This is the 11th straight quarter of double-digit hikes in the city.

In Limerick, the average rent is up 10.8% in the past year and stands at €919, while in Waterford rents jumped by 8.4% to €772, while outside of the cities, rents rose by just under 12% to €824.

In Munster as a whole, rents outside the three cities rose by 3.5% between March and June, and are now just 1% below Celtic Tiger peaks.

One of the principal reasons for the continuous rise in rental costs is a drastic shortage of supply.

There were just 2,930 properties available to rent across the entire country at the beginning of this month — the lowest number ever recorded, in a series that dates back to January 2006. It is also the first time that fewer than 3,000 homes have been available to rent.

The figures come as the latest official homeless figures show a record number of 7,941 men, women, and children were homeless in June — an increase of almost 25% on 2016.

The situation is particularly difficult for those only joining the hunt for student accommodation this week after being offered college places from the Central Applications Office. Many of them will be among the 26,000 who accepted places by teatime yesterday.

As well as shorter supply and higher costs, a Union of Students in Ireland survey has highlighted the poor standards and bad treatment faced by students.

Nearly one in five students had their rents hiked unexpectedly, including 14% whose landlords increased the rent from what had been agreed before they moved in.

Labour’s housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan said the figures highlighted the “absolute failure” of the Government’s Rent Pressure Zone model to slow the pace of rent hikes.

“The Rent Pressure Zone alternative simply hasn’t delivered and cities like Limerick and Waterford are still excluded despite yearly increases of 10.8% in Limerick and 8.4% in Waterford,” she said.

“Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will have to go back to the drawing board quickly if we are not to see more and more families becoming homeless because rent prices are simply beyond their means. The rate of rent increases is completely out of control with no reference towards affordability, salaries or the inflation rate in the economy as a whole.”

CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust Pat Doyle urged the Government to instruct and resource councils to begin building affordable rental accommodation.

“The rising cost of rent is the main source of new homeless cases, and our worry is that we will see even more households losing their homes as the situation worsens,” said Mr Doyle. “Unfortunately, rising rents also make our job of finding homes more difficult.”

“We don’t have enough social housing so we are overly reliant on the private rental sector. If rents continue on their runaway path, and alternative affordable supply is not forthcoming, then we cannot secure homes for people to move out of homeless services.”

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