Four new Rent Pressure Zones come into operation as average rents rise 8%

Renters in seven counties are now spending more than €1,000 per month in rent, on average.

Four new Rent Pressure Zones come into operation as average rents rise 8%

Renters in seven counties are now spending more than €1,000 per month in rent, on average. New figures published by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show that despite rental increases slowing in Cork city and Dublin, pressure continues to grow in many parts of the market.

The average rent is now €1,243 per month, an 8.2% increase in the last 12 months, according to the RTB’s Q3 2019 Rent Index. The index showed that Cork city rents increased by 1.4% to €1,192 per month — the lowest annual increase in the city since 2015; while rents in Dublin increased by 6.6% to €1,762. It was the lowest increase in the capital since 2017.

There are now seven counties in which average rents exceed €1,000 per month: Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow. And three more — Limerick, Carlow and Kilkenny — are between €900 and €999 per month.

As of today, four new areas have been designated as rent pressure zones (RPZs), capping rent increases at 4% per annum. These are Cobh, where the average rent is now €1,111 per month, as well as Piltown, Co Kilkenny (€1,011 per month), Sligo-Strandhill (€937 per month), and Baltinglass, Co Wicklow (€1,117 per month). In Baltinglass, rent increased by 20.2% in the last year, while in Sligo-Strandhill, this increase was 21.18%.

Excluding Dublin, inflation remains high, with a national rate of 9% in the last 12 months.

Waterford city showed the sharpest growth of any Irish city in the last year at 16.4%. However, it still remains the cheapest of the five cities at €839 per month, on average. Limerick (€973) saw a 7.2% rise in a year, and Galway increased by 8.3% to €1,252.

The county with the lowest average rent is Leitrim at €582 per month, some €1,180 lower than corresponding rents in Dublin. The border and midlands region has, in general, the lowest rents, with Cavan, Leitrim, Donegal, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan and Roscommon all lower than €700 per month.

And, while growth is slowing in Dublin and Cork, it is varying widely elsewhere: eight counties (Galway, Kerry, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Waterford and Westmeath) grew at double-digit levels in the year ending Q3 2019.

The highest in the country was in Kerry, where the standardised average increased by 39.9% in the year to Q3 2019, a growth described as “staggering” by the RTB.

RTB director Rosalind Carroll said the slowdown in inflation in Dublin and Cork city is evidence that the RPZ legislation is having “a dampening effect on rents”.

“We recognise that affordability continues to be an issue in the rental sector with rents peaking over €1,700 in Dublin despite the increase in housing completions,” said Ms Carroll. “It is also important to be aware that, since July 1 the RTB has increased powers to investigate and sanction breaches of rental law.”

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