Updated: 09/05/17 : 07:59:01
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Rents now at all-time high

Average rents reached a new record high during the first three months of the year, while supply in the rental market is at an all-time low, according to the latest Rental Price Report from property website Daft.ie.

Rents nationally rose by an average of 13.4% in the year to March, with the average monthly rent reaching €1,131 in the first quarter of 2017.

RTÉ reports that a new all-time high has now been recorded in each of the last four quarters.

Dublin, at €1,668, has the most expensive monthly rent in the country, followed by Wicklow (€1,168), and Kildare (€1,131).

At €517, Leitrim is the county with the cheapest average monthly rent.

The average rent nationwide has risen by 52% since bottoming out in 2011 and, having exceeded its 2008 peak last year, is now 9.9% above the previous high.

Meanwhile, according to the Daft report there were just 3,084 properties available to rent nationwide on 1 May, representing the second-lowest number on record.

Availability has not improved since a low of 3,082 properties was recorded in May of last year.

The report's author, Ronan Lyons, said the latest figures show the rental market here "continues to exhibit signs of extreme distress.

"Rents are at a new all-time high, while the number of homes available to rent remains at the lowest levels on record," he added.

Commenting on the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones, which were designed to reduce rent rises in areas where particularly high increases have been seen, Mr Lyons said: "Regulatory measures designed to limit rent increases could only ever have a very limited effectiveness in a market with such a scarcity of supply.

"Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that rent increases for sitting tenants have been only half the size of increases faced by new tenants. The more appropriate solution remains to increase supply.

"This includes both making better use of the existing stock of housing and building substantially more, in particular more apartments."

The Simon Communities in Ireland said the figures show the private rental market is struggling to cope with demand and is not capable of delivering the housing needed to respond to the current housing and homeless crisis.

National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities Niamh Randall said: "The soaring rents and plummeting supply within the private rented sector must be constantly monitored and addressed.

"These issues are preventing people from finding and sustaining affordable homes within the rental market."