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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dubliners' rent bills rocket by 30pc as housing crisis deepens

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett

Dublin householders are ­being crippled by the highest rents in the country as the housing crisis worsens owing to the shortage of new homes coming on stream.

The Housing in Ireland report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that average rents in the capital have risen by more than anywhere else in the country compared with five years ago.

The average weekly rent paid nationally is €199.92, up from €171.19 in 2011 - a rise of 16.8pc.

However, the increases across Dublin are far higher - rents increased by 30pc in Dublin City, by 26.2pc in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, by 22.8pc in Fingal, and by 22.7pc in South Dublin.

The highest average rent paid anywhere in the State is in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, at €335 per week, followed by Dublin City at €275.77.

Almost 49,000 families nationally now pay at least €300 per week in rent, up 166pc in the last five years. Some 497,111 households now rent their home.

The CSO also says that in the Dublin City Council area, apartment living is now the tenure of choice for the first time. Some 74,537 families live in apartments, overtaking the number in terrace houses (74,446).

Some 35.2pc of households in the capital live in an apartment, up from 33.3pc five years ago.

The report also reveals that the average household is rising in size, with the fastest rate of increase in Dublin.

The typical home in the State is now occupied by 2.75 people, up from 2.73 in 2011.

The largest increase was in Fingal (up to 3.03 from 2.92), followed by Dublin City which rose from 2.4 to 2.48.

Overcrowding

Four counties - Fingal, Meath, Kildare and South Dublin - had at least three people per household on average.

The situation is particularly acute for young families with children.

Nationally, 95,000 households live in a home with more people than rooms. Of these, 43pc - or almost 41,000 - are in Dublin, where thousands of families are stuck in negative equity.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the increase in overcrowding pointed to a return to tenement living conditions for many.

Simon Community spokeswoman Niamh Randall said: "It's painting a picture of people with no choice but to share overcrowded accommodation.

"We're hearing that people have limited choices and are doubling up. You have two families sharing spaces, and moving in with family for a temporary period, which is extended and extended again."

The report also shows that just 2pc of all homes in the State were built in the last five years. In Dublin, only 6,598 were constructed between 2011 and 2016.

However, despite the acute shortage of homes available for sale or rent in the capital, just over 28,000 are empty. The CSO said so many units were vacant because they were being offered for sale or rent, the owner had died or they had been empty for a long period of time, with no reason given.

While the number of holiday homes across the State now stands at 62,148, up almost 5pc on 2011, the sharpest rise is in the capital.

The CSO says that in Dublin City alone, an additional 700 homes were used for seasonal purposes. In 2011, there were just 322, but this figure has since increased to 1,022, a 217pc rise.

Lowest

It also says that the average age at which people buy their first home has risen to 35 years, up seven years from 2006.

"The age at which home ownership became the majority tenure category was 35 years in 2016," it said.

"Prior to that age, more householders were renting rather than owning their home."

In 2011, the average age stood at 32 years, falling to 28 in 2006, the height of the boom.

Home ownership rates are now at their lowest level since 1971.

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