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Report finds availability of affordable rental properties declining in Ireland

DUBLIN: A recent study found a 20% reduction in the availability of affordable rental homes across the country in just three months, and a 27% drop in six months.

Of the 16 areas surveyed on June 21, 22 and 23 this year, there were 2,208 properties for rent at any price. But according to the study report, this reflects a 20% decrease from the 2,757 homes available for rent at any price in March 2021, and a 27% decrease from the 3,019 properties available in December 2020.

The findings were based on Simon Communities of Ireland’s (a charity that helps homeless people) quarterly Locked Out report from June 2021.

The Locked Out report also looked into the experiences of low-income people who rely on housing assistance payment (HAP) to access homes on the private rental market.

It considered the availability of properties within the standard and discretionary HAP limits in 16 different regions across the nation for four household categories: singles, couples, couple/one parent and one child; and couple/one parent and two children.

The study found that, of the 2,208 homes available over the three days in June, none of the one-bedroom units were under standard HAP limits for single people in any of the 16 regions.

It also found that 906 properties were available to rent within a standard or discretionary HAP limit in at least one of the four household categories, accounting for 41% of all available properties. This is a 14% reduction from the 1,055 properties available to rent in at least one HAP category in the December survey.

The report says that there were just 63 homes that met the standard HAP rate in one of the four categories. The remaining properties within HAP rates required the discretionary HAP top up, it said.

“The ongoing tightening of supply and erosion of affordability in the private rental market that we are seeing will lead to increased homelessness. HAP rates have to be addressed in the short term to keep people in their homes and support them out of homelessness. However, we cannot continue to chase rents and we need delivery of public housing,” said Wayne Stanley, head of policy and communications at Simon Communities of Ireland.

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