Research from Eurostat has shown that Ireland had the third highest level of rent increases in the EU between 2020 and the third quarter of 2021.
Rents here have jumped by almost 70% in that period, compared to an EU average growth of under 20%.
Interestingly, house prices have “only” increased by close to the EU average of 40%, which indicates perhaps both that private institutional landlords are adding a rental premium to new homes which are being bought by businesses rather than individuals, and also reflects the increasing dominance of build to rent accommodation that is not offered for private sale.
That of course has wider social implications with households finding it much more difficult to be able to buy their own home, but also that they are being faced with extremely high rents as a proportion of their household income.
The impact of that on family formation is in turn reflected in the fact that very little newly built rental space is capable of accommodating families with children over a longer period. A report in last Sunday’s Business Post refers to developers in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown council area claiming that it is not “viable” to build three bedroom apartments.
A report by Savills estate agents states that a three bedroom apartment in south Dublin would only be affordable by a family with an income of at least €157,000. It is unlikely then, that developers will pay much heed to councillors who are trying to impose quotas to ensure that a certain percentage – 40% has been proposed in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown development plan – will have to be 3 bed builds.
Savills are taking the side of the developers and drafted their objections. The argument regarding affordability is no doubt correct and reflects what happens when a state abandons any pretence to have even a basic vision of how to govern the country in the interests of its citizens – rather than seeing it as simply a place to store people in between shifts in the local data centre.
(Those who are ideologically committed to turning Ireland into a country with a less than replacement level population growth, and therefore requiring an even more rapid acceleration of radical demographic and social change to suit their deracinated liberalism, will be pleased.)
Local authorities, including Dublin City Council when it was run by Sinn Féin and the left, have already agreed to the sort of high rise one- and two-bedroom developments that are springing up. They might have been too stupid or short sighted to realise the implications of the plans they approved – which in some cases was probably like giving Wittgenstein’s Tractatus to the cat – but they did approve them.
So, it is a bit late in the day to be trying to close the stable door after Honeysuckle has jumped the last at Cheltenham. In any event, all of this will hasten the great mélange out of which will emerge an Ireland of Equals. All peering down from their 15th storey apartment wondering where all the football pitches are gone.