Saturday 23 March 2019

Report shows County Cork rents rose by over 10 per cent last year

However, Rental Report cautiously optimistic of stabilisation during 2019

Bill Browne

The cost of renting accommodation across Cork continued on its upward spiral during the final quarter of 2018 - with the average rent charging more than 60 per cent higher than the lowest point in 2011.

Figures contained within the latest Rental Report have shown the average rent in the county at the tail-end of last year stood at €941 compared to €864 for the same period 12 months earlier - a year-on-year increase of 10.1 per cent. That also represented a 1.5% increase on the figure for the previous year to the end of 2017. 

The report for the final quarter of 2018, which provides a review of rental market trends across the year, showed that Cork had the highest average rental prices outside of the capital and the so-called 'commuter counties' of Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth. 

The figures for Cork city showed that, as of the end of last December, the average rent stood at €1,314, a year-on-year increase of 11.4 per cent  - and also representing a massive 84 per cent increase on the so-called 'trough', the lowest point in the survey's history. 

While all of the Munster counties recorded rental increase during 2018, Cork remained the most expensive and was followed by Waterford (€890), Limerick (€827), Kerry (€814) and Tipperary and Clare (both €801). The report showed that average rents were at an all-time high of €1,347 nationally - 31per cent higher than at their previous peak in 2008. 

While the figures made for dispiriting reading, there was a small chink of light contained within the report, with its author, Trinity College Professor of Economics Ronan Lyons, pointing out that national inflation had fallen from 12.4 per cent in mid-2018 to 9.8 per cent by year end.

 He said one possible reason for the slow-down in inflation could be that the markets have "reached the limits of what tenants can pay." 

He said that another reason for this could be improved supply.

"If true, this could indicate that the mild improvement in Ireland's rental market may continue," he wrote. 

Professor Lyons pointed out that, as of January 1 this year, there were 3,641 properties available to rent nationwide - an increase of more than 11 per cent on the same date in 2018.  

While two thirds of these are located in Dublin, the figure for Munster had stabilised, with 670 properties available to rent - the same amount as 12 months earlier.  To put this into some form of context, the figure recorded for January 2018 was 20 per cent down on that for the same period in 2017. 

Professor Lyons pointed out that the previous Rental Report had been headlined 'No End in Sight for Rental Woes' and had focussed particularly on the lack of availability within the market. 

This, he wrote, was in the context of a tenth consecutive Rental Report where annual inflation in advertised market rents was above 10 per cent. 

This latest report, entitled 'A Chink of Light at the End of the Tunnel?',  had a more optimistic tone to it.

"Whisper it, but perhaps the corner has been turned," wrote Dr Lyons. "Next quarter's report will be able to shed a bit more light on whether conditions are indeed set to improve."