Rents rose by 8.3 per cent nationally in the third quarter with tenants now paying an average of €1,397 per month for accommodation, according to figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
This marks an increase of €44 on the previous quarter with average rents above €1,000 month in 12 counties.
Dublin remains the county with the highest standardised average rent, at €1,916 per month. Leitrim has the lowest at €731.
Considering the longer-term trend in prices, Dublin has seen a greater initial drop and slower rebound in rental price growth since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic than elsewhere.
While rental price growth remained lower in Dublin than in other counties during the July to September period, its quarter-on-quarter growth of 3.6 per cent was the highest since the second quarter of 2019.
In tandem with rising prices for accommodation nationally, there was a 31 per cent fall in the number of tenancies registered nationally when compared with the same quarter a year earlier. This is unusual as the third quarter typically sees the highest number of tenancies registered.
The RTB index shows the national growth rate at its highest since the fourth quarter of 2017 in the July to September period.
RTB’s index is based on actual rents paid on 15,042 private tenancies newly registered with it. This includes new tenancies in existing rental properties. It does not, however, provide a measure of the rental prices faced by existing tenants.
Padraig McGoldrick, interim director of the board, said there continues to be a large degree of uncertainty across the sector.
“The significant rise in rent prices across Ireland is indicative of the wider growth being experienced in our economy as a result of lifted public health restrictions. Rates of unemployment have dropped significantly and Irish retail sales continue to grow,” he said.
“There are other reasons for the increased figure. A lower number of tenancy registrations has impacted average rents, seemingly reflected by a tendency for people to stay in their rental properties longer. Rents too continue to increase more rapidly outside the greater Dublin area and other non-urban areas, potentially linked to the continuation of the pandemic effect around long-term working and lifestyle choices.”
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien noted the increase in rental costs and said his department was continuing to work closely with the RTB to ensure rent pressure zone legislation is fully enforced.
Noting that 20 counties had experienced rent rises of more than 10 per cent in the quarter, Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said rent caps are not working. He called for a ban on rent increases instead.
“The rent caps do not work for rent pressure zones, and for counties where they don’t apply renters are left struggling with astronomical rent rises,” he said.
“This system needs to be scrapped and we need to see a ban on rent increases across the state. This Government is in denial if it thinks any more tinkering around the edges of a broken system will make any difference to renters, Mr Ó Broin added.
The Social Democrats also called for a ban on rental increases.
“This level of rental increase is crippling ordinary workers. It is plunging people into poverty and seriously impacting people’s ability to live a life of dignity,” said housing spokesman Cian O’Callaghan.
“Instead of tinkering around the edges – by linking rents to sky-high inflation or imposing rent caps that don’t work – the Minister for Housing must ban rental increases. This is the only way to stop the inexorable increases in rents until more supply is delivered,” he added.