The Costs Of Housing

Key Point

Housing costs vary significantly. Private rental costs affect less than 20 per cent of the population but are high, especially in Dublin. The most effective way of dealing with housing costs is through targeted housing subsidies.


Housing Tenure

Table 1 shows the number of households by tenure status in Ireland.

Table 1 – Private Households by Occupancy Status, Census 2016

(Source: CSO (2017), Census 2016 – Table E1016, *53,002 households did not state their occupancy status and are excluded)

Most housing (69.8%) is owner-occupied; over half of owner-occupiers have no mortgage. Almost one-in-five houses (18.8%) are rented from a private landlord, 8.7% from a Local Authority and 1 per cent from voluntary bodies. In total 28.6% or 469,671 of households rent their accommodation. Of these, 165,136 are in Dublin1 where the share of households renting is 35.2%.

Rental Costs

Renting from a Private Landlord

The average weekly rent paid to private landlords at Census 2016 was €200. Figure 1 shows five bands of weekly rent to private landlords from less than €100 per week, to greater than €400 both in Dublin and in the rest of the country.

Figure 1 indicates that almost two-thirds (64.5%) of households that rent their accommodation from a private landlord outside Dublin pay between €100 and €200 per week. The equivalent share in Dublin is 15.6%; a quarter of the share outside Dublin. The share of those paying between €300 and €400 in weekly rent to a private landlord is ten times higher in Dublin (27.7%) compared to outside Dublin (2.7%).

Figure 1

(Source: CSO (2017), Census 2016 – Table E1021)

The share of private households paying less than €25 rent per week is 0.6 per cent (1,774) in the State and 0.5 per cent (525) in Dublin. Table 2 shows household numbers by the five rent bands.

Table 2 – Average Weekly Rent to Private Landlords by Household (Numbers)

(Source: CSO (2017), Census 2016 – Table E1021)

Three-in-five (60.8%) of households in Dublin paid over €250 per week in private rent, compared with less than one tenth (8.2%) outside Dublin.

More than 85 per cent of households paying rent of €300 or more per week are based in Dublin. The highest average weekly rent in Dublin was in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (€335), followed by Dublin City (€276), Fingal (€261) and South Dublin (€259).

Renting from a Local Authority

The number of households renting from a local authority increased by 11% between Census 2011 and 2016; from 129,033 to 143,178. Local authorities have 30% of the rental stock, with two-thirds (66%) to private landlords and 4 per cent to voluntary bodies.

The average weekly rent paid to a local authority was €69; about one-third of average rent in the private sector. The average weekly rent paid in Fingal was €94, followed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (€88), Dublin City (€82) and South Dublin (€62). Average rent in Dublin is €80 per week, and €64 in the rest of the country. Figure 2 shows five bands of average weekly rent to Local Authorities.

Figure 2

(Source: CSO, Census 2016 – Table E 1021)

Figure 3 shows that about two-in-five households renting from a Local Authority2 pay less than €50 per week and almost another two-fifths in both outside Dublin (39.1%) and Dublin (38.4%) pay an average weekly rent between €50 and €100. Approximately one-in-five pay more than €100 per week.

Table 3 shows household numbers by rent band in Local Authority households.

Table 3 – Average Weekly Rent to Local Authorities by Household (Numbers)

(Source: CSO (2017), Census 2016 – Table E1021)


Housing costs vary significantly by tenure and geographical location. The most effective way of providing support for accommodation costs is through targeted housing subsidies.



1 Dublin refers to the 4 local authority areas Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin.
2 Under the differential rent scheme household income determines the amount of rent paid by households for local authority housing





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  1. Pat Naughton 26 May 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Housing subsidisation is not the answer as that only drives prices higher. The only answer is to increase the supply of houses. During the ’40’s, ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s, when we had very little money we built 1,000’s of local authority houses every year – e.g. Ballyfermot, Drimnagh, Finglas, Crumlin, Coolock, Walkinstown, etc. etc. Why can’t we do that again? The only incentive that might work could be to reduce the VAT (23%) on building materials and/or give an incentive to builders/developers to reduce their prices.

  2. Vince 9 Jun 2017 at 5:10 pm

    One of the main issues with social housing is that the LA’s pander to factions, like those in North Dublin who are bothered by having the Council buy a house to shelter those that are now homeless. Then you have the stupid ugly and ignorant policies we developed from the British where the ‘house’ can only be of a lesser standard than those available should you be buying or building yourself.
    Then you have the poison, the real poison. Since the vast estates miles away from amenities, (little more than Workhouses really) like Rahoon in Galway and Ballymun near Finglas became nothing more than vast holding areas for the prisons with people locked in, poor and with little option but to become prey of dealers and thieves. All while beaten and bullied by the housing department of the council and the social welfare. As far as I’m concerned that more attacks upon civil servants from both those departments has more to do with the sheer decency of their victims.
    We need a agency that builds very good housing. One that either commissions and certifies the build or builds itself. Then anyone, and I mean anyone, that needs accommodation can get it. That when a person gets a job in Cork that they can go to this agency and find one on their books.
    And where buying out the house is an option at whatever speed they care to do so, be that in 10 years, 30 years or multi generational.

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