Students go flat out in rent race
THEY may have won the points race, but students now face stiff competition to find a place to stay for the third year in a row.
The choice of rental accommodation has tightened once again despite a slight drop in rents, according to new research by a major property website.
The number of properties available to rent was 12pc lower at the start of this month than a year ago, the third year this has been the case.
Dublin students will fare the worst in the scramble for a place to live before the academic year begins.
Daft.ie's latest Rental Report, which analysed the rental market between April and June 2012, also reveals that students in Dublin face rent hikes despite a drop in rents nationally.
"This is the third summer in a row where there were fewer properties available to rent nationwide at any one time," said economist and author of the report, Ronan Lyons.
"This is particularly the case in Dublin, which means that some prospective tenants may find that they have to live further out than expected."
However, there is good news for students in some parts of the country.
The average rent is 0.5pc lower than it was a year ago. The latest figures show the average advertised rent stood at €809 a month in June compared to €814 at the same time last year.
Union of Students in Ireland president John Logue said the savings in rent, which are down 25pc on their peak in 2007, were a "rare comfort" to families facing "ever-increasing costs".
However, rents have risen in the major cities and are up by 2pc in Dublin, and just under 2pc in Cork. Increases in Galway and Limerick were under 1pc since last year.
Areas close to TCD, DIT, DCU and NUI Galway have seen small rent increases in the last 12 months.
In contrast, students in Tralee, Waterford and Dundalk can expect savings of between 4pc and 6pc. The survey shows the cost of a double room is highest in Dublin city centre, near TCD and DIT, at €499 a month, up 1.6pc on last year.
The second most expensive double rooms are in the south of the city near UCD and IT Tallaght, where prices are €473, followed by an average monthly rent of €402 in north Dublin near DCU.
The cheapest double rooms are in Letterkenny in Donegal, where they cost €231 a month, the same as last year.
The report says the lack of accommodation and rise in rents in big cities comes as the cost of achieving a third-level education continues to soar.
It notes that the Student Contribution Charge, paid to colleges, increased by €250 last year to €2,250, up from €900 in 2007, while maintenance grants had been cut.