Average rental prices rose by 6.4% nationally over the year to the fourth quarter, according to a new report from the Residential Tenancies Board.

The research shows the average rent paid for a new tenancy at the end of last year was €1,054.

However, the growth rate slowed somewhat from the previous quarter.

The report - covering nearly 18,000 new tenancies between last October and December - is based on actual rents paid, as opposed to asking prices.

Although the figures show average rents rose by €64 to €1,054 on an annual basis in the final three months of last year, the growth rate has levelled off, with the 6.4% annual growth recorded in the final three months of 2017 down from 8% for the previous quarter.

Rents in Dublin continue to rise, but the near 6% growth rate is the lowest since 2013.

The RTB says continued economic and demographic growth, coupled with restricted supply, continues to put pressure on the rental market.

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The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers says the figures highlight that rent controls are not working, with many people priced out of the Dublin area.

However, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy welcomed the report, saying it indicates Rent Pressure Zones are having a positive effect on rent inflation.

RTB Director Rosalind Carroll said she is hopeful that there is some sort of "dampening" in the level of rent growth.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said new regulations have resulted in a huge learning curve for tenants and landlords with a 56% increase in cases taken as a result of rent increases for "substantial refurbishment", with 78% of those cases being found in favour of the tenant.

Ms Carroll said the RTB was staring to see changes as tenants and landlords became more aware of their rights and obligations.

The Residential Tenancies Board Index shows:

  • While rents have increased, the rate of growth has slowed in Dublin, Cork and nationally.
  • National average rent for new tenancies was €1,054 (up €12 from the previous quarter).
  •  In Dublin the average rent stood at €1,511; in the Greater Dublin Area (Meath, Wicklow and Kildare) at €1,103; outside of the Greater Dublin Area was €793.
  • Changes in average rents nationally of 1.1%, in Dublin 1.1%; Greater Dublin Area (excl. Dublin) 3.3%, Outside Greater Dublin Area  -1.3%.