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Irish rental stock hits record low as housing crisis deepens

Irish rental stock hits record low as housing crisis deepens
Irish rental stock hits record low as housing crisis deepens   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters

DUBLIN – The number of Irish homes available to rent sunk to their lowest level on record this month, Ireland’s largest property website said on Tuesday, as a chronic supply shortage hit rural areas harder and pushed average rents up by 5.6% year-on-year.

A years-long mismatch between low supply and high demand in Ireland has been compounded by two shutdowns of the construction sector in the past 18 months to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The resultant stalling in the building of new homes has contributed to house prices rising again, rents increasing from already record levels and left just 2,455 homes available to rent as of Aug 1, property website said.

That represented an “extraordinarily low figure” for a population of almost 5 million people, said Ronan Lyons, an associate professor for economics at Trinity College Dublin who analyses the data for Daft.

It compared to an average of 9,300 homes available to rent at any time since data began to be collected in 2006.

Two thirds of all homes on the rental market were in Dublin, where the stock was broadly in line with the 2015-2019 average. That helped keep the annual increase in rent costs, which have doubled over the past decade, at 0.5% in the second quarter.

With more people choosing to work remotely in rural areas, the lack of supply elsewhere meant rental prices jumped by more than 10% in most other counties, many of which are not covered by laws that aim to limit rent increases.

There were just 15 homes to rent in Waterford, a county with the fifth largest city in Ireland and a population of 116,000 people. Rental costs there rose by 14.7% year-on-year.

“The hope for renters and for Irish society is that August will mark the low-point – as has been the case in other years and reflecting the timing of leases for the academic year,” said Lyons.

“But the underlying pressure on Ireland’s rental system is intense and the supply shortages are chronic and worsening.”