Rental costs have continued to increase but there are signs that the rises may be moderating.
Private sector rents were up 7.37pc in the year for the first three months of the year.
But the increase was less than 0.1pc when compared with the three previous months, according to the Residential Tenancies Board, the State body.
The easing off in rent rises coincides with the introduction by the Government of rent pressure zones.
In Dublin, where rental price pressure has been greatest, rents fell in the quarter when compared with the previous three months.
The average cost of renting across the country is now €987 a month. The cost is up just €1 compared with the previous three months.
The fall of 1.5pc in rents in Dublin in the January to March period was driven by a fall in the costs of apartment accommodation.
But Dublin rents are now 8pc higher than their peak at the end of 2007, as people struggle to find suitable accommodation.
The Dublin average rent is €1,415 a month, up almost €100 a month on last year’s figure.
Outside Dublin, private sector rents were up 1.3pc in the quarter, and 7.3pc compared with a year ago.
Rents outside the capital are still 8pc below their peak at €760 on average.
Director of the Residential Tenancies Board Rosalind Carroll said the index related to the January to March period.
This means it is the first rent index looking at the period since rent pressure zones were first introduced.
“The rent Index will be an important tool to monitor the impacts of the new measure,” she said.
“The findings for the first quarter do suggest that the rate of increase in private rents is moderating. However, the rental market is still volatile and it is too early to determine if this moderation is a trend. We would like to see similar findings over consecutive quarters in order to identify trends.”
She said that based on the index no additional parts of the country meet the criteria to be designated as rent pressure zones.
There are currently 19 rent pressure zones in the State, including the four Dublin local authorities and Cork city.
In these zones, rents cannot rise more than 4pc. Some 57pc of private tenancies are now in rent pressure zones.
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