JUST half the properties available to lease in Cork are available to long-term renters, shocking new figures reveal.
Landlords continue to leave the private rental market, favouring the short-term rental sector, with websites like Airbnb seeing increased use in Cork city and county.
Supply is dwindling throughout city and county, with commuter towns and tourist hubs all showing a shortage of rental properties at present.
Properties average €111 per night in Cork city on Airbnb, with some charging as much as €200 and, in a few cases, even €300 per night for larger properties. The monthly yield for a landlord letting a property on Airbnb is potentially huge in comparison to the private rental market even as average rents increase each month.
Supply is at an all-time low with many of the towns closest to Cork city showing fewer than ten rental properties available, with just four listed in Ballincollig and five in Carrigaline on Daft.ie yesterday.
And, despite many of the areas being based in the government's rent pressure zones which cap annual increases at 4%, the shortage of stock means that prices are continuing to soar.
The most recent Daft.ie Rental Price Report shows that the average rent in Cork city has jumped by 9.3% in the last twelve months, while county areas have surged by 10.6% in the same period.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has hit out at the lack of supply in the city, where just 125 properties were listed on Daft.ie yesterday.
"The figure of 125 homes to rent in Cork city is frightening," he said.
"It is driving rents higher and higher as people simply have no option. That, in turn, is forcing people out of homes, back into family homes and resulting in homelessness."
Mr Martin played down the impact of Airbnb in the private market, though he said further regulation would be 'welcome.'
Instead, he said that the issues are, quite simply, a lack of new builds.
He slammed the bureaucracy surrounding development in the country, urging the government to cut the red tape.
"Cork City Council, last year, waited eight months between submitting plans and getting approval for a housing development from the Department of Housing," he said.
"We simply cannot wait around. The government needs to declare this a housing emergency and get some homes built, both affordable and social houses on state land."
Solidarity TD Mick Barry hit out at the lack of supply in the market. He noted that many US and European cities have taken steps to minimise the impact of short-term lets in the private market.
He said, "I certainly think that landlords shouldn't be allowed to profit from Airbnb in the middle of a housing crisis. In fact, there is maybe a case for a national debate about banning it entirely.
"Strong measures are needed to tackle the housing crisis and everything has to be open for debate at a time like this."
Housing charity Threshold, meanwhile, called for regulation of short-term lets.
John-Mark McCafferty, Threshold chief executive, said, "While there is a place for short term lets in the tourist market, it is very worrying for a city that has a housing crisis that such a high percentage of properties are essentially off limit to long-term tenants."
Airbnb has rejected the report by Daft.ie, describing the data as 'inaccurate.'
It states that 'entire home' listngs represent just 1.1% of the stock on its site, with the vast majority of hosts sharing the home in which they live, offering single rooms to tourists.
Airbnb also claims that to match an annual rent income, hosts would have to lease a property for more than 120 nights per annum, with fewer than 1% of properties meeting this criteria based on analysis of 2016 figures.