January 18, 2021
Business News

Rents in Waterford tumble due to pandemic: report

A long period of rising rents has come to an end, new figures show. Waterford county bucked the national trend with an average year-on-year increase of more than 5% but rents in both county and city have tumbled since the Covid-19 crisis set in.

The latest report from Daft.ie finds that, even before the Covid crisis, rents nationally had started to fall. It follows a run of 29 consecutive quarters – more than seven years – in which rents had risen steadily both nationally and locally.

As the crisis took hold rents fell nationally by 2.1% in April compared to March. This is the largest monthly decrease in more than 11 years. Rents in Waterford  fell by 1.8% between March and April.

Nationally in the first quarter rents rose by an average of 3.8%, the lowest rate of inflation since late 2012.

In Waterford county rents have been rising at a greater rate, although the same trend is evident.  In Waterford city, rents have risen by 2.7% in the last year and the average rent is now €1013.

In the rest of Waterford, rents were on average 5.9% higher in the first three months of 2020 than a year previously. The average listed rent is now €983, up 73% from its lowest point.

In Munster, rents rose by an average of 6.2% in the year to December 2019 and are now 21% above their previous high in early 2008.

The number of homes available to rent nationwide on May 1 was almost 40% higher than on the same date a year earlier, with almost 3,800 homes on the market, compared to 2,700 in May 2019.

This increase in availability comes even as the number of rental ads being posted dropped sharply. Over the course of April 2020, there were almost 15% fewer homes advertised than during April 2019. Dublin bucks this trend, with a small increase in the number of listings during  April.

Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin and author of the Daft Report, said: “Before Covid-19 stopped the economy in its tracks, it seemed as though things were finally beginning to improve for Ireland’s rental sector. After a decade where effectively no new rental homes were built, the situation had improved in recent quarters.

“Figures in this report show that over 35,000 new rental homes were in the pipeline, when Covid-19 shut down the construction sector.

“Given that the pandemic is unlikely to change any of the long-term fundamentals driving underlying housing need, there is a danger that while its immediate impact might be to lower rents, its longer term effect could be to worsen the shortage.”

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