Student rents to remain high as Covid-19 outweighed by other factors

Report blames accommodation shortages and natural increases in ‘college age cohort’

Students at UCD. Photograph: Alan Betson

Students at UCD. Photograph: Alan Betson

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There is no evidence of a fall in rents relating to Covid-19 for students heading to college this autumn due to an ongoing shortage of supply, according to a new study.

The Daft Student Housing Report found the average asking price in Dublin for a room in a shared property was €680 a month, up 0.3 per cent on the same time last year. In other parts of the country, the average rent was €462 a month, up 2.8 per cent year on year.

The rent sought for a full property increased by 1.2 per cent on average in the year to July but was largely unchanged in Dublin city, rising by just 0.2 per cent.

The increase comes despite many colleges offering courses partially online, which may have led some students not to seek accommodation until early next year.

Many prospective students had been hoping that a reduction in the number of students coming to Ireland from overseas due to the pandemic would have meant less competition and lower prices for accommodation.

Increased demand

Daft.ie said there had been “a large increase in the college-going age cohort” as well as “further increases in enrolment rates and international student numbers”. This had resulted in increased demand for purpose-built student accommodation, it said.

Ronan Lyons, report author and economist at Trinity College Dublin, said students preparing for the 2020-2021 academic year would see little evidence “of any Covid-19 effect on rents”.

“Indeed, in most market segments of interest to students, rents may if anything be slightly higher than last year. Given large increases in rents in recent years, a year with largely unchanged rents is perhaps not the worst outcome for students,” he said.

“Substantial growth in student numbers over the coming decade – largely driven by a natural increase in the college-age cohort – means that the country needs significant construction of purpose-built student accommodation. Recent building has been concentrated in Dublin but the shortfall, of between 20,000 and 25,000 units, is spread around the major cities,” he said.