Tourism and changing work practices contribute to soaring Kerry rents

Traditional trends reversed by pandemic but far too few new properties being built

Tourism, changing work patterns and a shortage of properties to buy have all contributed to a surge in rental prices in Kerry.

Tourism, changing work patterns and a shortage of properties to buy have all contributed to a surge in rental prices in Kerry.

 

A “massive” demand for property to buy in parts of Kerry is a key factor in the county being found to have the country’s fastest rising rental prices in a report published this week, according to local industry experts.

Changing patterns of work resulting from the pandemic with people whose jobs are in cities now increasingly working from home as well as tourism and a desire to retire in the area are all also said to have contributed significantly to price rises.

Average rent increases in Kerry were up 16.5 per cent year on year at the end of the second quarter, according to the report by Daft.ie, with the county recording increases well ahead of other areas.

The average monthly rent in the county is €1,022 with towns like Tralee and Killarney, a rent pressure zone, among the most expensive areas.

Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons who was the lead author of the report says the increase in Kerry is part of an “overall pattern” in Munster.

The fact that people were required to work from home and students were no longer on campus had led to a particular surge in demand for rental property in rural towns and amenity locations.

Jonathan Greene of “Its4Rent” in Killarney said the increases in Kerry come down to “lack of availability”of property and also “relocation”.

Covid-19 was changing how people worked and where they live with many embracing the opportunity to stay at home far more. “They are out of the city. They have a good life,” Mr Greene said.

Many were looking for property to rent while looking around for permanent residences and Michael Coghlan of Sherry Fitzgerald Coghlan in Killarney says the demand for property to buy is “massive”.

The pandemic has led to a “complete reversal” of previous trends with high demand from young families selling up and moving for good from Dublin, Cork and London. Overwhelmingly these are people who have local links and in many cases they want to return to the countryside, to rural locations. Prior to this the demand had been for urban property.

“This is happening nationwide. Family houses outside the town are in big demand,” Mr Coghlan said.

With almost nothing being built right now, there is pressure too from people who have retired while “people are also looking to buy holiday homes,” he said.

On the Dingle Peninsula investor owned tourist lets as well as second home ownership were limiting factors on property availability for locals and for longer term letting pre-Covid.

Short term letting through the likes of Airbnb has meant lack of rental property for tourism workers in recent years.

A report published by North, East and West Kerry Development (NEWKD) in July highlighted how higher levels of home-building in the past twenty years has not led to any real increases in permanent occupancy or population.

At 62 per cent, the housing occupancy level in the peninsula is well below the State’s average despite the huge demand.