Rents rise in June, despite house prices falling

Trinity Professor Ronan Lyons introduced the report

The latest report, introduced by assistant Trinity professor in economics Ronan Lyons, shows that while house prices fell in June, rent prices rose considerably.

Rents rose 0.2% in the 12 months to June, with the average monthly listed rent now €1,402. 

However, the price of houses to buy was 3.3% lower in June than the same month a year ago.

The report on compares both rent prices and houses to buy prices in June last year and June this year. 

Lyons noted that significantly more houses were listed for rent in June this year than the same period last year.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Lyons explained: “The concern remains that policymakers see this as the underlying problem solved. While the new Government may want to favour the construction of owner-occupied homes, the fundamental shortages are in the social and market rental segments and it is those segments that must be the focus for policymakers over the coming years.”

According to the Irish Times, landlords said the release of student accommodation previously used for the summer tourist season, and the decision of some multinationals to facilitate working from home, had resulted in more rental accommodation becoming available.

In Dublin, property prices fell 3.8% in the 12-month period, while rents rose by 0.5%. 

In the report, Lyons stated: “Setting to one side – if that is possible – the Covid-19 pandemic and the related economic turmoil, the additional rental supply in Dublin is most welcome for a city starved of rental homes.”

He continued: “The danger, however, lies in the trap of thinking that these extra 3,000 homes on the market represent the solution to the housing shortage. 3,000 homes represents less than one month’s demand of rental homes and – to the extent that it represents a shift from the short-term lettings market to the long-term rental one – is a one-off gain.”

According to the Irish Property Owners Association chairman Stephen Faughnan, a rent increase was to be “expected”. 

He spoke to the Irish Times, saying: “The lockdown restricted re-letting and, in spite of demand being high, Government guidelines restricted the showing of property as it was not deemed an essential service, leading to a stock of empty properties accumulating over the previous three months.” 

During the Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI) Congress in May, the union voted to lobby for a Covid-19 rent suspension, for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The motion called for “an immediate” rent suspension for students during the crisis with “no subsequent repayments”, a ban on all Covid-19 caused evictions, which is to “protect the most vulnerable students during this period of uncertainty” and “clarity” from higher education institutions regarding plans for the 2020/2021 academic year to allow students to “make decisions” on their accommodation.

Professor Lyons said in the report: “The country is still in need of hundreds of thousands of homes, principally for smaller households of one to two persons, in the social and market-rental segments, and in or close to the biggest cities and towns.”

In 2019, Trinity students formed the Cut the Rent TCD campaign group to protest the cost of student accommodation, with similar protests held throughout the last academic year on college campuses throughout the country. 

The campaign emerged after many colleges proposed a 4% increase on accommodation costs, resulting in a 12% increase overall in the next three years. Colleges that proposed this 4% increase in accommodation included University College Dublin (UCD) and Dublin City University (DCU).

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.