Limerick rental prices rise as new renters plummet and Chamber warns ‘drastic loss of competitiveness’

Limerick Chamber chief economist Seán Golden.

LIMERICK renters are the hardest hit in the country when it comes to rental price increases, with costs in the city jumping by almost a quarter at the end of last year, a new report has shown.

And, Limerick’s ongoing housing issues will lead to a “drastic loss of competitiveness” in the area if left unchecked, a spokesman for Limerick Chamber has said.

The comments come as rents in Limerick saw the biggest increase in all of Ireland in the last quarter of 2023, according to the newest report published last week by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

The average price for new tenancies in Limerick City jumped by close to a quarter (22 per cent) in the last three months of last year, the biggest jump anywhere in the country, according to the RTB’s Rent Index for Q4 2023.

The report also showed that the number of newly-registered tenancies in Limerick was down by almost half (48.2 per cent) in the same period.

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According to the report, a new tenancy would now cost renters in Limerick City an average of €1,514 per month.

The news was not much better for existing tenants in Limerick, with the city showing the second highest price growth rate in existing tenancies (up 5.5 per cent), with the average rent for an existing tenancy now standing at €1,121.

Seán Golden, Chief Economist at Limerick Chamber, said that while Limerick and the Mid West have done “incredibly well” at encouraging development in the region, housing issues have the potential to undo all the good work.

“Limerick has performed incredibly well at attracting investment and jobs over the last number of years. However, housing issues, if continued unchecked, will lead to a drastic loss in competitiveness of the region,” Mr Golden said.

“Not only is housing causing upward pressure on wages for business, workers need affordable accommodation if they choose to stay or relocate to Limerick and businesses need access to this talent pipeline.”

The RTB report also showed that Limerick saw the biggest gap in prices between new and existing tenancies, with new tenancies costing more than a third (35 per cent) more than existing ones.

In the county, the average price for a new tenancy was €1,412, an increase of 25 per cent on the previous period while existing tenancies came in at €1,052, up 4.6 per cent year-on-year.

The Local Electoral Area (LEA) in Limerick that saw the highest new rental price was Limerick City East, with the average price of a new rents in the area costing €1,679 per month.

City West was close behind with a new tenancy costing an average of €1,502.

The average price for a new tenancy in City North was €1,453, while a new tenancy in the Newcastle West LEA would cost an average of €903 per month.

The Adare-Rathkeale and Cappamore-Kilmallock LEAs registered too few new tenancies in quarter four to be published, the report stated.

Mr Golden said that this data “tracks closely with our latest Rental Barometer release, where we outlined that Limerick has on average just 41 homes to rent monthly.”

He said the RTB data “highlights that Limerick City East is the most expensive part of the county”, adding that the new directly-elected mayor’s role will “have a large part to play” in addressing the housing issues in Limerick.