Rents fell marginally, by 0.1%, in the final three months of 2019, according to the latest quarterly Rental Report by Daft.ie, the first time since mid-2012 that rents have not risen quarter-on-quarter.
With increases earlier in the year, the annual rate of inflation in rents during 2019 was 4.1%, again the lowest since 2012. The average monthly rent nationwide stood at €1,402 in the final quarter of 2019, €659 per month higher than the low seen in late 2011.
The late-2019 trends differ across urban and rural parts of the market. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, rents rose between September and December, while outside the major cities, rents fell on average. Year-on-year trends are more similar, however. Compared to end-2018, rents in Dublin at the end of 2019 were 3.5% higher and in Cork and Galway were 5.5% higher. In Limerick and Waterford cities, rents were 3.9% and 4.3% higher respectively than a year ago. Outside the cities, rents were 4.7% higher in late 2019 than a year previously.
The number of homes available to rent nationwide continues to rise, albeit from a very low base. There were 3,543 properties available to rent across the country in February 1, up 10% from the 3,216 available the same date a year ago. While this marks the 17th time in the last 19 months that availability has improved year-on-year, the number of rental homes on the market is still down 80% from its 2009 peak.
Commenting on the report, Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin and author of the Daft Report, said: “With the election of a new government, housing – and in particular the rental sector -are likely to be key parts of the new government’s priorities. Despite the desire for a quick fix, such as rent freezes, no such quick fix exists. By worsening insider-outsider dynamics, rent freezes are likely to further harm those most affected by the shortage of accommodation. And, if somehow applied to newly-built rental homes, rent controls could prove calamitous for a country that desperately needs new rental homes but has very high construction costs.”
Average rents, and year-on-year change, 2019 Q4
- Dublin: €2,052, up 3.5%
- Cork: €1,386, up 5.5%
- Galway: €1,309, up 5.6%
- Limerick: €1,217, up 3.9%
- Waterford: €1,010, up 4.3%
- Rest of the country: €993, up 4.6%