Rents rose by 7.1% in the first quarter of the year when compared with the same period last year, according to the latest Residential Tenancies Board Rent index.  

The report, based on just under 20,000 new and renewed tenancies, shows that rents increased in Dublin by 7.8%, with the average rent in the capital at €1,527.

In the Greater Dublin area, the counties of Meath, Wicklow and Kildare, the annualised rate increase is down to 6.3%, with an average rent at €1,104.

Outside this area, the annualised rate increase is down to 6.6%, putting new average rents at €791.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said: "What we are seeing here is a clear slowdown in the rate of rent inflation, with the slowest national growth rate in a year at just 0.4% rent inflation.

"Particularly in Dublin, where rental pressures are most severe, we've seen a significant slowing down in rent increases."

However, the Simon Communities in Ireland has said that the figures show that "the rental sector remains broken".

It added: "This is causing homelessness and preventing people from leaving homelessness behind. The rental market is under huge pressure and is struggling to cope with demand."