The number of Westmeath households in rental accommodation has increased by almost 10% over the last five years, according to new Census figures.
Released today, the latest Census 2016 report, Housing in Ireland, revealed that the number of Westmeath households living in rental accomodation rose by almost 10% from 8,175 in 2011 to 8971 in 2016.
In total, 28.3% of all household live in rented accomodation, while 8.5% of all occupied households live in apartments, almost half the national average. The average weekly rent paid locally last April was €134.10 compared to €126.20 in 2011.
Given the high numbers now renting, it's no surprise that the rate of home ownership in Westmeath fell from 71.8% in 2011 to 69.2% last year.
The average age at which Westmeath people can afford to buy their home has risen from 32 in 2011 to 34 in 2016. In 1991, the average age for Irish people to buy their first home was only 26.
Although there is a housing crisis, there are still over 4,000 vacant properties in Westmeath, the report also revealed.