THE monthly cost of renting a home has hit an all-time high, shooting up by an average €200 in some parts of the capital in just the space of a year
New figures from Daft.ie today lay bare the dilemma facing families who would be better off financially if they bought a home.
But difficulties with saving a deposit or securing a mortgage, or a shortage of properties to buy, continue to haunt the housing market.
It means many are locked into a life of renting, while rents are still furiously spiralling.
The average national cost of renting nationwide in the three months to June was €1,300 a month, a rise of €274 a month on the previous peak, which came just after the boom in 2008. The cost of paying the landlord is now €560 more a month than the low in the rental market seen in late 2011.
Costs have been rising now at double-digit rates for more than two years.
But rents are even higher in Dublin, where there has been an average annual increase of 13.4pc. The cost of renting in the capital is now up almost €500 on a decade ago, a surge of 34pc.
It is now around €2,000 a month for accommodation in parts of Dublin.
Many areas of the capital have seen average rents go up by about €200 in the past year.
Using the latest figures, Brokers Ireland calculated that the difference between rent and mortgage costs can now be negligible.
Rachel McGovern, director of financial service at Brokers Ireland, said it displays, in stark terms, just how seriously would be home owners are losing out financially.
She said it “demonstrates that for anyone with a medium to long-term interest in living in Ireland, it’s a no-brainer that owning a home as opposed to renting one is financially the most prudent financial option – that is if you can acquire a suitable property”.
“Home ownership achieved at an affordable price is central to the growth of personal wealth over the longer term.
“The lack of suitable properties available for purchase is a travesty, it is a policy failure that will have long-term implications.”
The frightening new figures also come as thousands of students will be scrambling for accommodation ahead of the new academic year and on the back of Leaving Cert results.
Student unions said young people would be forced out of third-level education due to the rental crisis.
There was a chink of good news in the Daft.ie report, with a slight rise in the number of properties for rent. There were 3,070 properties available nationwide on August 1.
This marks an increase of almost 5pc on the same figure a year ago.
However, aside from this month, the total availability is the lowest on record going back to 2006.
The small increase nationally was driven by Dublin, where availability improved from 1,121 to 1,397 comparing August with a year ago.
Elsewhere, availability continues to fall.
Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin and author of the Daft.ie report, said the building of new homes appears to be having some effect in the housing sales market.
However, that is not reflected in the rental sector.
“While urban apartments make up almost all the net need for new homes in the country as a whole, just 13pc of new homes completed in the year to March were urban apartments. This means it was unsurprising to see rents rise once more.”
Across the country, there are even higher percentage rises than in Dublin, although from a lower cost base.
Outside the five main cities, rents rose by an average of 10pc.
In the rest of the country, it now costs €909 a month to rent a property to live in.
A North Wexford couple and seven children have been left with no option but to live under the constant threat of being arrested, as they desperately try to find alternative accommodation following an eviction notice last month.