County Westmeath market rents higher in final three months of 2023 than one year previously

Market rents in County Westmeath were on average 10.1% higher in the final three months of 2023 than a year previously, the latest quarterly rental report has revealed.

The average listed rent is now €1539, up 51% from the level prevailing when the Covid-19 pandemic occurred.

The on-going double-digit increases reflect very low availability, with just over 60 homes available to rent in the Midlands region on February 1, largely unchanged on the same date last year and well below the late 2010s average of almost 200.

Nationally, market rents rose by an average of 6.8% during 2023. This compares with an increase of 13.7% seen during 2022 and 10.3% in 2021. The average open-market rent nationwide in the final quarter was €1,850 per month, compared to €1,365 per month seen at the outbreak of covid19 in early 2020.

The decline in rental inflation is driven by Dublin, where rents in the open market rose by just 2.6% during 2023, compared to an average increase outside the capital of 10.6%. Rents in Cork and Waterford cities rose by between 7% and 8% during the year, while those in Galway and Limerick cities rose by 11.3% and 14% respectively.

Outside the cities, the smallest annual increase was seen in Dublin’s commuter counties (7.5% ) while the largest increase was seen in the three Ulster counties, where market rents were almost 17% higher than a year earlier.The different trends in rent are matched by differences in changes in the availability of rental accommodation.

Nationally, the number of homes available to rent increased by 937 between October 2022 and December 2023. Of that increase, 80% was seen in the Dublin area, while almost all the rest was seen in surrounding areas. On February 1, there were just over 2,200 homes available to rent nationwide, up 6% on the same date a year earlier and the 11th month in a row of year-on-year gains in availability.

“The construction of significant amounts of new homes to rent in Dublin over the last two years is reflected in the near-disappearance of inflation in market rents in the capital. This is a welcome reminder that the basic economics of supply and demand work in rental markets and thus that new supply is the answer to strong rental demand.

However, there has been almost no new rental accommodation built outside Dublin, where acute rental shortage also exist. Further, the pipeline of rental projects in Dublin is likely to slow in 2024 and beyond. With significant viability challenges, it remains incumbent on policymakers to deliver a healthy rental market around the country," Ronan Lyons, Associate Professor in Economics at Trinity College Dublin and author of the Report, said.


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