Wednesday 19 December 2018

Revealed: This is how many days you need to work just to cover your rent in Ireland

Rise means average earners pay nearly €10,000 per year

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Paul Melia

Paul Melia

A single person is putting in an average of 86 days of work - which would take you from January 1 into the middle of May - just to afford the annual rent on a one-bedroom home.

Soaring rental costs year-on-year mean that workers are being forced to put aside every cent they earn to pay a landlord for an extra six days a year.

Figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), which records the rents paid, show that in quarter four of 2017 - the most recent available - the average rent on a one-bed home was €9,924 a year.

The average worker earns €574 a week after tax, meaning they have to work for just over 17 weeks before their annual rent is covered.

In the same quarter of 2016, the equivalent property cost €9,912 to rent, meaning 16 weeks of salary was required.

The figures come as a separate report from Daft.ie last week showed that asking rents are now well above boom-time levels in many parts.

Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Darragh O'Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers
Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Darragh O'Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers

The lack of new homes coming onto the market is leading to the increases, which show no sign of slowing.

The RTB data shows just how out of reach many areas are for renters on average salaries.

To rent a one-bedroom home in Leopardstown, Co Dublin, a worker would have to set aside 169 days of salary.

On Dublin's South Circular Road, tenants have to forego 108 days of salary - up 26 days year-on-year.

Of the 144 rental locations analysed, workers had to set aside an extra 10 days salary - two weeks - in the last quarter of 2017 to rent a one-bed home in 38 locations compared with 12 months previously.

In another 61 locations, between five and nine days' salary was drawn from household budgets to make monthly rental payments.

The Simon Community said rent figures demonstrate how tenants are "virtually powerless" in the face of rising rents and very low supply.

Spokesperson Niamh Randall has called for "urgent measures" to be introduced to enhance security of tenure and to provide renters with certainty about how much they must pay for a home.

She said rent pressure zones and other measures cannot work without proper monitoring and enforcement by the RTB.

"Tenants cannot be expected to police this private market when they are clearly at such a huge disadvantage with continuously diminishing supply and rising prices," she added.

The analysis also shows that couples looking to rent a two-bedroom home will also struggle.

The average rent for a two-bed home across the State in Q4 2017 was €1,027 a month, or €12,324 a year. The equivalent figure in Q4 2016 was €961, or €11,532 per annum.

This means that a couple on an average salary need to set aside 53 days of their joint income to afford an 'average' two-bed home, compared with 50 days in the same period of 2016.

For two-bed homes available in 274 areas, where a working couple is paying the rent, three areas - Grand Canal Dock, Ballsbridge and Spencer Dock in Dublin - require more than 100 days of salary to be set aside.

Between 80 and 97 days of salary is required in another 34 areas.

At the other end of the scale, a two-bed unit in Ballaghaderreen in Co Roscommon can be rented for the equivalent of 18 days of salary - up a day in the year.

Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Darragh O'Brien said the rocketing price of rent shows that the Government must dramatically change its approach to the housing crisis.

"Forking out for rent increases that are 30 times inflation - is it any wonder that there are more people forced out on our streets than ever before?

"Supply has reached an all-time low while the degree of pressure on the private rental sector means more and more have no hope of ever owning their own home. Paying rent at these prices makes saving for a mortgage impossible," he said.

"Government must immediately strengthen and enhance the rent pressure zone system by providing the RTB with investigatory powers," he added.

The Labour Party said the rate of increases were "completely out of control" with no reference towards affordability, salaries being earned or the inflation rate, which has remained largely stagnant over recent years.

Read more: Rental gap between supply and demand is countrywide

Read more: Revealed: How much rents have rocketed above Celtic Tiger peak

Read more: A single bed in a kitchen in Stoneybatter is being advertised for €800/month

Irish Independent

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