MACROOM hit the national headlines last week when it was announced that the town is now a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) which, according to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), is a designated area where rents cannot be increased by more than 4% per annum.
This comes off the back of the news that the town experienced a massive 19% increase in rent prices in just one year.
The designation of a RPZ should prevent these prices from increasing at a similar rate over the coming years.
So, what made rents in the town increase by such a high rate, compared to other rural towns?
Well, the price hike comes down to supply and demand. More people are looking for a place to live in Macroom, and its surrounding areas, but there are less properties to rent.
According to Killian Lynch, local auctioneer and valuer, it is not necessarily a bad thing that the town has been designated a RPZ, but there is one major issue which has led to it, and that is government policy.
‘We don’t have one-off landlords like we used to. They are leaving the market and will continue to do so if the market is not made more attractive for them. Small scale landlords have no rights. There are so many regulations that have come in over the last few years and these are stopping people from having a second house to rent out,’ said Killian.
One of the major attractions of the town is its proximity to Cork city and large companies such as Dell EMC and VMware which are located near Ballincollig.
‘About 30% of renters in Macroom are commuting to the city. These people have no prior association with the town, and are here because the few properties that are available are cheaper to rent than those in other towns close to the city,’ explained Killian. While building more properties in the area could help to solve some of the issues, Macroom already suffers from traffic congestion and adding more properties with more people will only add more vehicles to the roads, making the bottlenecks worse.
If more property became available to rent in the city, the Macroom renting market would potentially become more local.
The other solution is coming up with ways to prevent existing landlords from leaving the market. This would also benefit other West Cork towns, not just Macroom.
Local Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) welcomed the news but advised people to check if they are included in this Rent Pressure Zone, which extends out beyond the town.
‘I want to emphasise to people that it does not just affect those renting in Macroom town, but in fact all of the Macroom electoral area. So, areas such as Ballingeary, Coachford and Crookstown will be included now too.
‘If unsure, I would advise people to use their Eircode on the Residential Tenancies Board website to see if they are now located in the zone,’ she said.