The cost of private rental accommodation in Galway City has rocketed by around 72% over the past seven years, according to new figures from property website Daft.ie.
Rents are now averaging €1,131 in Galway City – up 71.9% since the market bottomed out in 2011 – and €777 in the county, a 52.2% increase on seven years ago.
In fact, rents in Galway City are now 34% above their previous peak at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom in 2008.
This week, Galway Simon Community warned that because rents have spiraled so far out of control, an unexpected bill on top of monthly rent could force someone into homelessness.
The Daft.ie figures show that rents have increased in Galway City by an average of 13.6% over the past year, while the comparative figure for the county is 10.4%.
Emma Dolan, Head of Client Services at Galway Simon Community said rent prices in Galway are “out of control” and people are having to sacrifice basic necessities to keep up with rent payments.
“The average rent in Galway City for a three-bed house is €1,125 and for a working family or single parent, this is a huge amount to pay out of their own wages, especially when they are a low or middle-income earner.
“Often, they are forced to choose between their rent and other necessities, and an unexpected bill can quite literally send them into a downward spiral towards homelessness. Also, for anyone relying on housing support benefits which, more often than not, don’t cover the full cost of rent, these people have to foot the bill for the difference.
“Even at the lower end of the scale, rent for a one-bed apartment is now an average of €834 in Galway City. How is anyone expected to be able to maintain this on a middle or low income? It’s not feasible.
“It’s very clear that the Rent Pressure Zone measures put in place have not worked. What we have is a supply issue and that is why people are having to stay in the rental sector.
“We also have hundreds of people stuck in emergency accommodation and homeless services in Galway that have nowhere to move on to because of the lack of supply and affordability in the private rental sector. We need the council to build social and affordable housing now, not in years to come,” she said.
In just a year, average rent prices in the city have gone up as much as €140. “The rate of rent increases in Galway and across the country is simply not sustainable for those on the other end having to pay these rents. Let’s not forget these are average prices, there are properties going for much higher than these averages,” Ms Dolan said.
Ronan Lyons of Daft.ie, an economist with Trinity College, said the only ‘medicine’ for high rents is more supply.
A breakdown of the figures from Daft.ie shows the average rent for a one-bed apartment in Galway City stands at €834 (up 13.5% year-on-year); a two-bed house is renting for €954 (up 13.9%); a three-bed house for €1,125 (up 12.3%); a four-bed house for €1,236 (up 12.6%) and a five-bed four €1,292 (up 8.7%).
In the first quarter of this year, a single bed in the city centre was averaging €388 per month (up 3.5% on the previous year) and €466 for a double bed (up 5.7%). In the city suburbs a single bed averaged €373 (up 10.4%).
In County Galway, a one-bed apartment is renting for an average of €556 per month (up 11.1% on last year); a two-bed house for €636 (up 11.2%); a three-bed house for €750 (up 9.6%); a four-bed for €824 (up 9.9%) and a five-bed for €861 (up 6.1%).