Westmeath rents rising faster than national average

The asking price for the average home to rent in Westmeath is now €140 more than it was this time last year, according to the latest report from from property site Daft.ie.

The website's report for the first quarter of 2022 indicated that the shortage of available property was continuing to worsen, contributing to a 12.8% rise in the rents being sought in Westmeath when compared with this time last year. The figure for the county is higher than the average increase nationally, of 11.7%.

The average listed rent in Westmeath currently stands at €1,222. To put that in context, exactly 10 years ago the rental market was described as "stable" by Daft.ie, and the average rental price in Westmeath was then just €589.

Rents across the counties of Offaly, Westmeath, Laois and Longford rose by 14.05% on average over the last year, reflecting the sharp fall in availability of houses and apartments for letting.

Longford had the highest year-on-year price rise in Leinster (18.3%), followed by Offaly (14.6%).

Roscommon, meanwhile, saw its average rental asking price jump by a whopping 21.6%, to reach €952. This was the third highest rate of increase in the country, behind Donegal (22.7%) and Leitrim (24.8%).

There were just 132 homes available to rent on Daft.ie in Leinster (outside Dublin) on May 1, which was down by two-thirds on the same day in 2021, and was by far the lowest ever recorded for the region since these figures started being recorded in 2006.

Commenting on the report, Ronan Lyons, associate professor in Economics at Trinity College Dublin, said it appeared that for renters things had never been so grim.

"In some ways, for Ireland's rental sector, it’s like the pandemic never happened," he stated.

"As Covid-19 moves from a shock that brought daily life to a standstill to something more like part of daily life, pre-existing patterns and pressures are re-emerging in the rental market."

He concluded that a major increase in the number of rental homes being built was the only real answer to the current crisis.

"As ever, in a rental market dogged by chronic and worsening shortage of homes, the only real solution is to increase the number of homes.

"With more pressure from certain quarters to stop new rental homes being built, policymakers must hold their nerve," stated Mr Lyons.