Relief for local tenants as Kilkenny records sharpest decline in rents: report
By Moya Galvin
Kilkenny tenants are now paying an average of €55 less in rent per month than they did at the end of last year as the Covid-19 emergency has a downward impact on rents across the country, a new survey reveals.
The latest rental report by the Residential Tenancies Board shows Kilkenny had the sharpest decline in rent of all counties across the country from the last three months of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020.
Local tenants paid an average of €864 a month in the first quarter of 2020. This is a 6% drop from the €919 they paid in the latest three months of 2019.
Annual growth rate was lowest in Kilkenny, where locals paid the same average payments in the first three months of 2019 as average payments in the first three months of 2020.
In Kilkenny city, annual rents have increased by at least 7% in three out of the last six quarterly periods. This figure was the same in the Castlecomer area. Rents have increased by 7% or more in four of the last six quarters in Piltown, but in the just one of the quarters in the same 18-month period in Callan/Thomastown.
The findings are contained in the latest report by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) Rent Index Series.
The RTB analysis shows the annual growth rate of rent amounts declined significantly compared to the period prior to the lockdown. While the annual growth rate in March was over 3%, by April this had fallen to 0.4%, and it declined again in May to 0.1%. By June, the annual growth rate had turned negative with prices falling by 3.3% compared to the same month the previous year.
There was also a significant decline in the number of tenancies registered with the RTB between March and April. In March there were over 7,000 registrations, but this has fallen to just 4,000 in April. The RTB said the figure also “remained subdued” in May.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Conor O’Toole, Senior Research Officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute, said: “The spread of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown is likely to impact all facets of the Irish economy. This includes prices in the rental market which have been rising rapidly in recent years due to excess demand and strong economic growth.
“This report provides a clear insight at the present juncture. With the economic situation relating to the pandemic rapidly evolving, it is difficult to assess the trajectory of prices in the short to medium term. However, it is very likely they will closely mirror developments in incomes and unemployment of households.”