Rents in the State rise at slowest rate in six years

Average rent across the State was up 6.4% in final quarter of last year to €1,226, RTB says

Five local electoral areas have met the rent pressure zone criteria, and will be so designated from today. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Five local electoral areas have met the rent pressure zone criteria, and will be so designated from today. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

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The average rent in the State rose to €1,226 per month in the final quarter of 2019, the lowest annual increase in six years, while five new areas have breached the threshold to be classified as rent pressure zones.

Figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show that between October and December last year, the standardised average rent rose by 6.4 per cent. Compared to the previous quarter, however, rents actually fell by 1.2 per cent.

Five local electoral areas have also met the rent pressure zone criteria, and will be so designated from today, meaning that rents for properties in those areas cannot increase by more than 4 per cent per year unless they fall under some exceptions. Those areas are Mallow, Killarney, Athy, Tullamore and Mullingar. Rents in Mullingar and Tullamore rose more than 19 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2018 while rents in Killarney were up almost 14 per cent.

The index, compiled in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute, is based on actual rents paid across 17,269 tenancies registered with the RTB in the period.

Dublin saw the lowest annual increase in rents since 2013, with prices up 5 per cent to €1,716 per month on average. Similar to the national picture, rents declined by almost 2 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

Outside Dublin

Outside Dublin, the standardised average rent was €922 in the three month period, a rise of 7.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. Yet there are seven counties, including Dublin, where the average standardised rent exceeds €1,000 per month. They are: Cork, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow.

“We are encouraged to see that Q4 2019 recorded the lowest annual rent increase in six years, showing signals of stabilisation in urban areas,” said Padraig McGoldrick, interim director of the RTB.

“However, I am aware that the period reflected in the latest Rent Index represents a very different world to the one we are living in today, and that the Covid-19 crisis presents new challenges for both landlords and tenants across the country.”

While the growth rate of rents is declining, rents are still 32 per cent higher than the previous peak seen in the fourth quarter of 2007.