Written Answers. - Private Rented Accommodation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

125 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if due cognisance is being taken by him of the continuing increase in rents for private dwellings; if he has examined the situation to determine the cause of these high rents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10333/00]

The annual property survey undertaken by the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute indicates that in 1999 rents for residential accommodation increased by some 13% nationally and by 15% in Dublin. Current high levels of housing demand have resulted in significant increases in house prices and rents in the private rented housing sector.

The key to more affordable rents in the private rented sector is, in the final analysis, the same as that for stabilising the housing market as a whole, namely, an increased supply of housing. The Government is acutely aware of the difficulties being encountered in the housing market at present and has taken a number of steps to restore the balance between supply and demand. As a result, a record number of over 46,500 new dwellings were completed last year and the rate of increase in house prices has begun to moderate. The Government's priority is to maximise the supply of housing to meet demand in all housing tenures and in that regard we have set out an ambitious plan to provide 500,000 new dwellings over the coming ten years. I am confident that as supply and demand levels converge we will see a consequential lessening in the rate of rent increases.