Average monthly rents in Galway city have escalated to €1,260 a month, according to the latest Daft.ie report. Despite this being below the national average of €1,366, it is still an 11.4 per cent increase over the last year.
Daft's Q1 2019 report also revealed that the average rent in the county has also risen to €906 - a rise of 17 per cent and the largest such increase in the State. Furthermore, the increases in the city and county have come despite Galway being declared a Rent Pressure Zone, which was meant to see rent increases capped at four per cent.
Sinn Féin Galway City East councillor Mairéad Farrell said the report makes for "grim reading" and reveals that the Government's rental sector strategy is not working. "The Rent Pressure Zones are now effectively meaningless for new renters," she said.
The Social Democrats Galway City Central candidate Sharon Nolan said "a whole generation of renters has been effectively abandoned to the private rental sector". She criticised the Government for "continuing to pretend that the market can solve this escalating problem".
Cllr Farrell said the Daft.ie rent demonstrates "the need for urgent action on rents and house-building" in Galway. She called for "an immediate rent freeze on all new and existing tenancies" and "major investment" in a programme of affordable cost rental accommodation across Galway city and county.
She said this was especially important, for while the cost of new tenancies "continues to spiral upwards", the number of available properties continues to plummet. According to the report, the number of available properties across the State is the lowest since the Daft.ie reports started in 2006.
'Instead of getting on with building affordable homes, the Fine Gael government continues to pretend that the market can solve this escalating problem'
Furthermore, according to the Residential Tenancies Board, more than 12,000 properties have left the market since the start of 2017. The majority of these are accidental and semi-professional landlords either under pressure from lenders to sell, or who are else taking advantage of the rise in house prices to get out of the rental market. “Meanwhile, Minister Eoghan Murphy is sleepwalking through a disorderly exit of properties from the private rental sector," said Cllr Farrell.
Ms Nolan was also critical of the Government's addiction to the "ailed ‘market will provide’ ideology" and it's "point-blank refusal to act to deliver the scale of social and affordable homes that is so badly needed".
“The cost of housing, including astronomical rents, is the single biggest driver of the high cost of living for people," she said. "Instead of getting on with building affordable homes, the Fine Gael government continues to pretend that the market can solve this escalating problem. Rent pressure zones have failed and many people living in rental accommodation are struggling to keep roofs over their heads while living with the daily fear of sudden rent hikes or eviction notices."