Rent and house prices soar up to 54pc in five years in Dublin commuter belt
Rent and house prices soared by up to 54pc in towns in the Dublin commuter belt over the last five years, it has been revealed.
At the same time, the overall cost of living rose by just 1pc.
The average worker's wages failed to keep pace with the spiralling cost of putting a roof over their head as pay rose by less than 10pc in the same period, according to new research.
The 'asking' rent in Meath is nearly €1,300 a month. This is half the take-home pay of an average worker, according to Siptu economist Michael Taft.
He told a housing conference yesterday that rent rose by 54pc in Navan between 2013 and last year, just under 50pc in Trim, almost 44pc in Ashbourne and 41pc in Kells.
Rent is now highest in Ashbourne, at an average of €1,181 a month, followed by an average of €960 in Trim, €951 in Navan, and €775 in Kells. Renting a three-bedroom property in Ashbourne costs €1,220.
Rent in Meath is the third highest outside Dublin - behind Wicklow and Kildare.
Average house prices in Meath rose by almost 54pc since 2013, to €254,000, while the cost of new homes rose by 41pc to €318,800.
"Everyone knows Dublin's got a rent problem but I think people were taken aback when we started getting into four figures in Meath," he said.
"You're going to see increases in house prices and rent significantly above the national average over the next two or three years as people in Dublin move out to Meath, Louth or Wicklow, or like after the crash, Offaly or Wexford.
"It's not just about rent and prices. It's also about living standards and not spending time in a car like a loner, having an unsustainable environmental impact."
He promoted the idea of 'cost rental', where the rent paid by tenants is based on the cost of construction. The rent would include the cost of the building - which would be ultimately owned by the State or local authorities - and design, but would not be as expensive because it would not include a profit margin. Although some pilot projects have been set up, he said the idea should be extended and has the backing of the head of the Housing Agency, John O'Connor.