Landlords pile on rises ahead of new rent controls
Increases to September strongest since crash
Landlords have reacted to Government moves to control rents by pushing through huge increases before the new measures came into effect.
This was confirmed by figures showing rents experienced their strongest rise since the bust in the three months to September.
Economists had warned that introducing a rent freeze would prompt landlords to pre-load rises ahead of the new Government measures due to come into operation.
Now new figures show that those who rent a house are having to pay out €82 more per month than a year ago.
The latest Daft.ie survey shows rents nationwide jumped by an average of 3.2pc in the July to September period.
This was the largest three-month increase since early 2007, according to the property website.
The national average rent between July and September was €964, compared to €882 a year previously.
Daft.ie economist Ronan Lyons - who is also a lecturer in Trinity College Dublin - said the sharp rises were a reaction by landlords to the Government discussions on limiting rises.
Last week, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said tenants will not face rent increases until 2017 under new rent controls.
They unveiled a housing package after months of discussion between the two departments - effectively warning the market to expect rent freeze measures.
The Daft report shows that rents were up by 9pc annually in the year to September.
Professor Lyons said: "The latest Daft.ie rental report suggests that the market reacted to talk of rental controls, with, for example, rents rising by 7pc in Cork in three months and by 6pc in Galway, by far the largest three-month increases seen in a series that extends back ten years.
"Ultimately, while controls on rent increases may help those at risk of becoming homeless, they do nothing to help those already homeless."
Prof Lyons said that the much more pressing issue is the lack of supply, which ultimately depends on the cost of construction. The survey shows supply in the market is at the lowest level since records began.
There were just over 4,000 properties available to rent nationwide at the start of this month, Daft.ie said.
Back in early 2007, just before the housing market and financial sector went into a tailspin, the figure was 4,300.
Along with Dublin, other parts of the country are now seeing dramatic falls in rental properties available for rent.
There are 40pc fewer homes to rent in Munster than a year ago, Daft.ie said.
The average rent in Dublin is now €1,409, a rise of close to 9pc in the past year. In Cork, the cost of renting has gone up 13.5pc in a year and now stands at an average of €950.
Galway saw rental costs rise by 12pc in the past year, with the average cost now €868. Limerick saw rises of 11.4pc to €761, with Waterford experiencing a 9.6pc rise to €661.
The new rental figures come as the International Monetary Fund said the Government's rent-freeze plans will not work.
In its latest post-bailout monitoring report, the IMF said a rent freeze could turn construction firms off building at a time when there is a housing shortage.
It said renters could benefit from the Government move, but added: "Some of the gains, however, may be offset by new administrative measures to stabilise rents which, by reducing rates of return on investment properties, could dissuade construction."