Rent rose in the fourth quarter of 2020 in all counties, bar Dublin – which saw a 3% decline. One may speculate as to why – loss of students, people moving to countryside home offices or a plethora of other reasons. But what happens when these factors kickback? How, most importantly for readers, will student rents be affected?

According to’s Q4 report, the average price of a single room in South Dublin City and South Co. Dublin (two areas in the UCD vicinity) stood at €581 and €582, respectively. This is significantly lower than the end of 2019, with prices falling 6.4% and 5.5% in the respective areas. While rates are still extraordinarily high, any student should welcome falling prices.

In further good news, the stock of houses available to rent rose by 64% year on year. Daft report that February 1st had the highest number of properties to rent for the month of February since 2012. This increased supply should, in theory, help bring down prices. The concern may lie in how long this rise is.

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Despite the pandemic, the CSO reports 20,676 new builds nationwide in 2020, only 1.9% less than in 2019. While this may be viewed as a relative success, with levels not plummeting, we are starting from a low base. The general case is that approximately 50,000 houses would need to be built nationwide each year for the next five year to simply keep up with demand.

Given this, the supply boost to the Dublin rental market (and so decline in prices), is more than likely temporary. If reopening is successful, one may expect an influx of students to the capital in September. It is safe to say that there will be no significant increase in building by the autumn, and so rents are only going one way – up.

If you are relying on your university to make everything better – look away now. For a standard 8-month lease in Belgrove or Merville (UCD’s cheapest offerings), students will pay €8059 (inclusive of utilities, insurance, deposit and license to reside). Prices rise to €9899 for Ashfield, Glenomena, Proby and Roebuck Hall. These stood at €8104 in 2016. In other words – Belgrove with its shared bathrooms is now approximately at 2016 price levels for UCD’s nicest en-suite accommodation.

Next year could be a pricey one.

Conor Bergin – Business Correspondent