Average rents across the country increased by 11.5% in the 12 months to the end of March this year, according to Daft.ie, with increases in the cities reaching 17%. The increase in Waterford city is 14.6%. That is higher than the CSO-measured average increase of 6.4%.
Landlords are now charging an average of €1,261 per month nationally — almost €2,800 more per year than during the last peak in 2008 when rents were considered to be out of control.
The problem is aggravated by the shortage of properties listed as available to rent which have plummeted to an all-time low with just over 3,000 in the whole country.
The latest figures are published as Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy comes under fire again for failing to get to grips with the housing and homelessness crises.
He has been accused of massaging homelessness figures to keep them artificially low — an accusation he rejects — while at the same pinning his hopes for a surge in affordable new-builds on the National Regeneration and Development Agency, the establishment of which is still at proposal stage.
Housing charity Threshold said the increases showed up inadequate enforcement of the rent pressure zones which were introduced with the intention of capping annual rent rises at 4% in areas of high demand.
Trinity College economist and Daft.ie analyst Ronan Lyons said rent pressure zones should be scrapped.
“The solution is not to ban rents from going up further but to bring about the new supply that will prevent rents from doing so,” said Mr Lyons.
Mr Murphy has promised to strengthen the powers of Residential Tenancies Board to tackle landlords who flout the cap. Inflation in the 12 months to March this year was just 0.2%.
By Caroline O’Doherty for the Irish Examiner