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October 6, 2019 Locked Out of the Market Report
Only 3.7% of national rental stock affordable for standard housing support recipients

A new report by the Simon Communities of Ireland has revealed that on average just 3.7% of rental housing stock across the country is within standard Rent Supplement (RS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits. The charity’s latest ‘Locked Out of the Market Report XV’, a snapshot study on ‘The Gap Between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’, reveals that just 55 out of 1,491 properties surveyed in 16 areas over a three-day period from 30th July – 1st  August 2019 on Daft.ie, were affordable for those in receipt of standard Government assisted housing payments.

This is the 15th edition of the charity’s ‘Locked Out of the Market’ series, and the first to examine the impact of discretionary* top-ups introduced in July 2016 for RS / HAP recipients. The study was extended to include five new areas for the first time: Dublin City North, Dublin City South, Limerick City Suburbs, Galway City Suburbs and Cork City Suburbs. Four household categories were included in the study: single person; couple; couple/one parent and one child; couple/one parent and two children. The report finds that:

  • Just 3.7% (55) of all properties available to rent (1,491) during the three-day snapshot study period were found to be within standard Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment limits. A further 469 (31.5%) were found to be within Housing Assistance Payment discretion limits.
  • Of the 524 properties available within standard and discretionary rates nationally, 81% (424) were located in Dublin City.
  • No properties were available within standard or discretionary RS/HAP limits in three areas: Galway City Centre; Portlaoise, Co Laois; and Limerick City Suburbs.

The report also reveals that single persons and couples remain disproportionately affected by availability, with only four properties in total available to rent for single persons and couples within standard RS/HAP limits, all of which were in Dublin. Even with the addition of discretionary payments, only 5% of available properties were available for single persons, while the share of properties suitable for couples stood at 9%.

Availability of properties varied hugely between regions, with eight of the 16 areas surveyed having no suitable properties available to rent for either a single person or couple within standard or discretionary RS/HAP limits. The report also found that fewer properties were available within regional towns and city centres, with a majority of available properties in commuter belt towns and city suburbs.

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly 90% (469) of the properties identified as eligible for RS/HAP recipients required a discretionary top-up from authorities.
  • No properties were available within standard RS/HAP limits in eight areas: Galway City Centre, Galway City Suburbs, Dublin City Centre, Limerick City Centre, Limerick City Suburbs, Waterford City Centre, Portlaoise and Sligo town. Just one property was available within the RS/HAP across all household categories in Athlone.
  • No properties were available to rent within standard or discretionary RS/HAP limits across eight study areas for a single person or couple. These areas were: Limerick City Centre, Limerick City Suburbs, Waterford City Centre, Portlaoise, Sligo town, Galway City Centre, Cork City Suburbs and Athlone. Just one property was available in three areas; Co Leitrim, North Kildare and Cork City Centre.
  • There were just 27 properties available within standard RS/HAP limits in urban centres. An additional 425 were available within discretionary or Homeless HAP** limits, with the vast majority of these in Dublin City.
  • Five properties were available within standard RS/HAP limits in regional towns. All but one of these properties was in Co Leitrim. Twelve more properties were found within discretionary limits.
  • In commuter belt towns, 23 properties were available within standard RS/HAP limits. The vast majority (21) of these properties were located in Dundalk, Co Louth. An additional 32 were found within discretionary limits.

The ‘Locked Out of the Market XV’ report is being launched as part of Simon Week 2019, which draws to a close today. The aim of Simon Week is to highlight that an end to homelessness is possible, but it requires shifting the focus from a mindset of ‘dealing with’ to ‘ending’ homelessness. To do this, effective long-term measures need to be put in place: new options and new solutions, such as sustainable cost rental accommodation to meet intergenerational needs – must become the new norm.

The ‘Locked Out of the Market XV’ report and the Simon Communities Pre-Budget Submission are available to download www.simon.ie/publications/research.

David O'Donnell posted by:

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