Editorial: 'Welcome news on rental inflation'
While the analysis published today which shows that the rate of inflation in the accommodation rental sector has slowed significantly in the last almost full year is welcome news, it is still too early to say whether this marks the beginning of the end in what has been a difficult time for those who rent their homes.
There have been such indications before, after all, which have turned out to be false dawns for the many who depend on the rental market. This latest Daft.ie Rental Report reveals that nationally inflation fell from 12.4pc in mid-2018 to 9.8pc by the end of that year. This still represents a sizeable increase for many hard-pressed tenants. The rate of increase slowdown could be put down to several factors, not least that the market has reached the limits of what tenants can afford to pay.
However, with an improvement in the availability of such accommodation evident for the last seven months in the Dublin region alone, it would seem apparent that should such properties continue to become available, the rental market nationwide will at last begin to stabilise and, indeed, that the level of rents will start to decrease in the not too distant future.
What today's analysis does not necessarily state, but what is most urgent all the same, is that full effort must be made to bring some form of normalisation to the property sector.
This is most definitely not a time for government, or those within the industry, to sit back and assume that market forces are or will ultimately resolve what has been a decade-long crisis which has affected many strands within society - mostly younger generations who have been unable, and will continue to be unable in the relatively near future, to get a lasting foothold within their communities upon which to build their lives.
The effects of the housing crisis have been manifest for many years, not only among the younger generations, but evident also in significant levels of homelessness which cross all generations and reach into many strands in society, not just those which have been traditionally allowed to struggle. It will take many years yet before the full impact of this crisis becomes known.
The focus on housing has been lessened in recent months as the Brexit process nears endgame. However, that is no reason to divert attention from what is, properly, the business of government - be that housing, or the building of a new hospital for the nation's children, or indeed the difficult conditions faced by those who work within the health service, as represented by the nurses' strike.
These issues are most pressing indeed, and deserve the full attention of all within government, and policy makers in general. However, it would be remiss not to acknowledge progress when progress does seem to have been made.
After a decade of rental inflation, then, it must be welcomed that the pace of that inflation, at last, seems to be markedly slowing.