Impact of Covid-19 pandemic seen on rental prices

The average rent in Westmeath fell slightly in the first quarter of this year as the short term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

According to the Rental Tenancies Board's Rent Index, the average rent in Westmeath in the first three months of this year was €824 compared to €834 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. Westmeath was one of 14 counties to record a slight drop in rents during this period. Overall, however, rental costs in Westmeath rose by 5.7% in the past 12 months, the report says.

Nationally, the average rent at the end of the first quarter was €1,231, an increase of €10 from the previous quarter and a year on year increase of €64 (5.4%).

The highest average rent was in Dublin (€1,735 per month), while the lowest was in Leitrim (€550).

The RTB's quarterly report also includes analysis from the ERSI, which shows the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the rental market during the first six months of this year.

The analysis revealed that the the rental market was immediately impacted by lockdown, with prices falling by 3.3% nationally in June compared to the same period the previous year. Dublin experienced the most immediate reduction, however, as the country went further into lockdown, the price growth outside of Dublin gradually began to decline at a greater level.

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.

In addition, between March and April there was a significant decline in number of tenancies registered with the RTB. While in March there were over 7,000 registrations, in April this had fallen to less than 4,000. The number also remained subdued in May.

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