Dublin house rents near boom peak; Rents and wages too low
Dublin house/ residential rents are close to the 2007 boomtime peak that followed a year (2006) when the number of housing units built in Ireland was at an all-time record high of 93,000. The number of residential units completed in 2014 was low at 11,016 according to the Housing Agency and this represented a 33% increase on completion in the previous year (8,301). The supply for 2015 will be similar to 2014.
Rents rose by 8.6% across the country in the year to September, new data from the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), a public agency, show. The rise in Dublin was at 9.3%.
The average monthly rent nationwide at the end of September was €901, up from €830 September 2014. The rent for an apartment nationally was €945, up from €866 last year. The average national cost of renting a house is now €873, €63 a month higher than a year ago.
In the capital the average September 2015 rent was €1,408 for a house and €1,265 for an apartment. In September 2014 the average rent in Dublin was €1,288 and €1,169 respectively. Outside of Dublin, the average rent was €707, with houses averaging €712 and apartments €698.
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) compiles the data and are based on 28,240 tenancies which commenced in July/August/September this year — the PRTB website, http://www.prtb.ie/, was offline when we posted this report.
The PRTB/ESRI Rent Index shows that, nationally rents peaked in Q4, 2007 before declining by 24% to their trough in Q1 of 2012. By Q3 2015 rents nationally were 11% lower than their peak. While the peak-to-trough in the Dublin market was similar to that experienced nationally, the strength of the recovery in Dublin means that rents now are just 2.3% lower than their highest point. In contrast, the market outside Dublin has experienced more subdued growth, and rental levels remain over 15.5% off their peak levels.
The annual additional cost for renters in Dublin is €1,152 for apartments and €1,440 for houses — at a time of subdued wage rises this jump is severe.
Almost one in five households in the country now rents its accommodation in the private sector and in its third quarter rent report Daft.ie says that the availability of rental homes is at the lowest in its data series period.
At just over 4,000 nationwide, there were fewer homes available to rent on 1 November, than at any point in ten years.
Anne Marie Caulfield, PRTB director, points to the new tenancy legislation which limits a rise in rents to once in a 24-month period, up from once in a 12-month period — in a tight market landlords of course will take account of this.
The legislation also provides that 90 days' advance notice must be given prior to any increase. Previously it was 28 days.
Dublin rents & renter wages too low
Ronan Lyons, a Trinity College property economist and a former producer of the Daft.ie rental report, writes in the latest issue:
At this point, it is often said that Ireland lacks developers and lacks finance for development. While this may be true, a healthy market would attract developers and finance from abroad. And indeed many developers have looked at the Irish market, spotted the strong need for new homes and done some further investigation. But almost all of the foreign interest has ended up deciding against building, because the hard costs of construction are too high relative to people’s incomes, and thus relative to sustainable rents. For example, the best figures we have available suggest that to build a two-bedroom apartment and cover costs, excluding land, a rent of roughly €1,400 a month is needed to break even. However, there are very few markets in the country — three out of the 54 analysed in this report, to be precise, and all in central Dublin – where average rents for two-bedroom apartments are at or above €1,400 a month. The cost of construction would need to be roughly half what it is currently in order for it to be viable for either profit or social developers to consider building new homes at scale. All of this adds up to a large and growing problem. Every year where not enough is being built is another year where all sorts of costly emergency measures are needed in order to give people access to housing, something that should be a human right. Currently, as this latest report shows, there are just 4,000 homes on the rental market, the lowest numbers since figures began back in 2006. But that is 4,000 homes to cater for a renting population that is at least 50% bigger than ten years ago — and probably closer to double the size; we’ll find out after the next Census in 2016 — and at a time when nothing is being built.
There is a legacy of bad planning, poor urban land use and artificial scarcity, and the concentration of economic activity in the Dublin area.
Rentals along the DART rail line in Dublin
Buy-to Let arrears
The outstanding balance on all lenders’ buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage accounts in arrears of more than 90 days was €7.2bn at end-June 2015, equivalent to 27.1% of the total outstanding balance on all BTL mortgage accounts.
Central Bank data show that the number of BTL accounts that were in arrears of more than 180 days was 23,882 at end-June 2015, reflecting a quarter-on-quarter fall of 5.3%. BTL accounts in arrears more than 720 days showed a 0.6% decrease in Q2, marking the third consecutive quarterly decline in this category. These accounts in arrears of over 720 days now number 15,276 or 11.1% of the total stock of BTL mortgage accounts and 83% of outstanding arrears. The outstanding balance on these accounts was €4.6bn at end-June, equivalent to 17.2% of the total outstanding balance on all BTL mortgage accounts. BTL accounts in arrears of up to 90 days also declined by 9.3% in the second quarter of the year.
According to Central Bank research published in 2014, 70% of BTL mortgages that had been in arrears for 90 days or over, were funded by tracker mortgages linked to the European Central Bank (ECB) benchmark rate, which fell from 4.25% in July 2008 to 0.05% in September 2014.
Rents rising, interest rates on the floor and thousands of investors can't make payments on their loans — it's interesting that the gaming of the system gets little attention.
According to the Central Bank non-bank entities (sales by NAMA to vulture funds and the like) now hold 46,442 mortgage accounts for PDH (principal private dwelling) and BTL combined. Of this number, 19,539 are in arrears of more than 90 days, with 12,004 of these in arrears over 720 days.