Rent increases have slowed down, figures show

Residential Tenancies Board says it is too early to say if rent pressure zones are effective

Rents in Dublin and surrounding commuter counties are among the highest relative to the national average, with parts of Cork and Galway cities also above the average. Photograph: Getty Images

Rents in Dublin and surrounding commuter counties are among the highest relative to the national average, with parts of Cork and Galway cities also above the average. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The cost of renting a home countrywide jumped by almost 7.4 per cent in the 12 months to the end of March, according to the latest report from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

The report for the first quarter of 2017 – the first since the introduction of rent pressure zones aimed at softening rent spikes – published on Thursday morning shows that while rents continue to trend upwards, quarter-on-quarter growth was relatively flat, increasing by 0.1 per cent. This is down from a 2.8 per cent increase over a three-month period recorded in the previous quarter.

The standardised average national rent is now €987 per month, which is up just €1 on the last quarter of 2016.

Trends in private sector rents in Dublin and outside Dublin appear to be mixed once again, illustrating the diversity of the rental market across the State.

Rents in Dublin and surrounding commuter counties are among the highest relative to the national average, with parts of Cork and Galway cities also above the average.

However, overall rents in Dublin declined this quarter by 1.5 per cent, driven primarily by a fall in rents for Dublin apartments.

Private rents for houses continued to rise in this quarter, albeit marginally by 0.1 per cent. For apartments, there is evidence of a moderate slowdown in the pace of expansion, with year-on-year growth dropping from double digits down to 7.9 per cent.

Outside Dublin, rents for houses and apartments continued to grow on a quarterly basis, resulting in an overall growth of 1.3 per cent. Annual growth is 7.6 per cent, a trend which is observed for houses and apartments (7.5 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively).

Peak levels

While outside of Dublin rents are still 8 per cent below their peak levels in 2007, the margin between the two is shrinking each quarter.

“This index is the first rent index looking at the period since rent pressure zones were first introduced,” said the director of the RTB Rosalind Carroll.

“The findings for the first quarter do suggest that the rate of increase in private rents is moderating. However, the rental market is still volatile, and it is too early to determine if this moderation is a trend. We would like to see similar findings over consecutive quarters in order to identify trends.”

Based on the rental data of this latest rent index, no additional parts of the country meet the criteria to be designated as rent pressure zones. There are currently 19 rent pressure zones in the State, including the four Dublin local authorities and Cork city.