Ireland breaking records in both rent hikes and homeless figures

By Eoin Ryan

The average rent in Meath has grown to €1,706, an increase of 11.9% over the past year. This is slightly below the average rent nationally standing at €1,733 after a 13.7%. For a person working on Ireland’s minimum wage of €11.30 per hour, it will take them 151 hours to pay this amount on a monthly basis.

This is an increase of 82% since 2010, compared to the EU increase of 18% over the same period. 

The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said that high demand for housing will ensure that prices will continue to rise until supply increases substantially.

Just under a third of people aged between 16-30 are intending on emigrating from Ireland in the next 12 months. This is according to a recent survey published by Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly.

“As a single adult, I simply do not, or never will, earn enough to be able to own my own property in this country,” a participant wrote.

Another said that “It is too expensive to rent in Ireland and I believe I would have a better standard of living in another country with reduced living costs.”

Overall, one in every 10 adults in Ireland are living in their parents home, half a million people. This is more than the amount of homes in the Irish rental sector. 350,000 of which are aged between 20-35.

The average age of leaving home is now at 28 while most that age in the early 1990s owned their own home.

Ireland has the third highest rent increase in the EU over the past 10 years following Estonia 214% and Lithuania at 139%. All three countries suffer due to the same problem: A lack of properties to rent.

“Many ‐ particularly those who have the misfortune of trying to find something in the open market currently ‐ are only too aware of the challenges out there,” Trinity College Associate Professor in Economics Ronan Lyons said. “To these people, it must seem almost obvious that it doesn’t need saying that, when faced with an acute shortage of rental homes, the solution is to build more rental homes.

“However, many others are shielded from how brutal it is out there. Some only become aware when a family member or new colleague has to run the gauntlet of finding a home to rent on the open market. But many are simply unaware that it is in Ireland’s rental segment ‐ not its sales segment ‐ where the country’s housing woes are concentrated.”

Lyons said there have been efforts made by some local authorities and national policymakers to limit the construction of rental homes, worsening the current crisis.

There were only 1,100 homes available to rent on February 1st, down close to 22% from the same date last year. In comparison, there was an average of 3,800 rentals available between 2015 and 2019, which was still weak in comparison to demand. 

“This hopefully puts into context just how bad things are if there are only 1,100 homes on the market.”

Lyons predicts a further increase in market rents if the situation does not change drastically.

This lack of supply is continuously pushing people out of houses as the main reason for homelessness in Meath is notices to quit to tenants and being unable to find a place to rent, according to a report by Meath County Council. This issue has left 136 Meath residents homeless in 2022 with seven people found to be rough sleeping.

There are 11,754 homeless people in January across Ireland, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing. This excludes rough sleepers and people turned away due to lack of capacity.

December saw its first increase in homeless numbers in six years despite families and friends offering respite over the Christmas period.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett says there will be an “avalanche” of evictions of people going into homelessness if the no-fault eviction ban is not extended. 

“We believe that given the absolutely dire situation we are now facing with record numbers in homelessness, and the prospect of a further avalanche of people being evicted if the even partial moratorium is reduced, that we need to introduce a comprehensive ban on all no-fault evictions,” Richard Barett said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a decision whether to extend the ban or will be taken before the St. Patrick’s day break

There are also a small number of landlords seriously inconvenienced or forced into homelessness themselves due to this ban, according to. Fr. Peter McVerry from the Peter McVerry Trust. McVerry said there should be a process where a landlord would be able to get an exemption from the ban, either through the District Court or the Residential Tenancies Board.

Many expect the situation to only worsen as Ireland continues to break records in rental prices and homelessness unless changes are made.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: