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Rents fall for first time in over seven years

Rents fell marginally, by 0.1%, in the final three months of 2019, according to the latest quarterly Rental Report by, the first time since mid-2012 that rents have not risen quarter-on-quarter.

With increases earlier in the year, the annual rate of inflation in rents during 2019 was 4.1%, again the lowest since 2012. The average monthly rent nationwide stood at €1,402 in the final quarter of 2019, €659 per month higher than the low seen in late 2011.

In Cork City, rents have risen by 5.5% in the last year and the average rent is now €1,386. In the rest of Cork, rents were on average 5.5% higher in the final quarter of 2019 than a year previously. The average listed rent is now €1016, up 74% from its lowest point.

The late-2019 trends differ across urban and rural parts of the market. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, rents rose between September and December, while outside the major cities, rents fell on average. Year-on-year trends are more similar, however. Compared to end-2018, rents in Dublin at the end of 2019 were 3.5% higher and in Cork and Galway were 5.5% higher.

The number of homes available to rent nationwide continues to rise, albeit from a very low base. There were 3,543 properties available to rent across the country in February 1, up 10% from the 3,216 available the same date a year ago. While this marks the 17th time in the last 19 months that availability has improved year-on-year, the number of rental homes on the market is still down 80% from its 2009 peak.

Meanwhile, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) believe Munster property prices will rise by 3% in 2020 while rents are expected to rise by 5%.

Chartered agents and auctioneers in the province say the price stabilisation is being driven by more realistic price expectations, affordability constraints and increased supply in some urban areas.

Agents in Munster reported that 2019 was stable with increased activity in the first half of the year but that there was a significant decline in both instructions and transactions in the second half. This was caused by a reduction in consumer sentiment, uncertainty about interest rates and other macroeconomic policies as well as the unavailability of bank discretions over mortgages.

Going forward agents said the Munster market would be dominated by those wanting or needing to trade up and while it was expected that there will be an increased supply of apartments in Cork and other urban areas, there would continue to be a shortage of new homes, particularly in rural areas where new developments are not yet financially viable.