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Worst of the rises in motor insurance and rent may be coming to an end

The rate of rise in motor insurance costs and rents eased off last month.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that motor premiums did not rise in the month of January.

But the cost of cover was up 6.4pc when compared with the same month last year.

However, this is way down on the rate of rise that was recorded in recent months. Premiums were shooting up at an annual rate of 40pc during the summer.

Many motorists are still being hit with huge rises in the cost of cover as insurers blame a complex range of reasons for pushing up premiums.

However, the hope is that the worst of the rises may now be coming to an end. A number of insurers are predicted to return to profitability next year.

Fears

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is probing the motor insurance industry over fears insurers may be operating in an anti-competitive manner.

And the Government has produced a report with 71 action points for easing pressure on premiums, in a move spearheaded by junior minister Eoghan Murphy.

The Oireachtas Finance Committee has also come up with a range of proposals to help reverse the rises.

Private rent costs were also flat in January, as rental cap legislation kicked in. However, they were up 8.3pc in the year.The Government extended rent caps last month in a bid to restrict rises in areas designated as rent pressure zones. Landlords can only increase rents by 4pc per year for three years in designated areas.

In other areas, landlords can only up the rent once every two years since new laws came into effect at Christmas.

Previous plans introduced by Labour’s Alan Kelly when he was minister during the last Dáil provided for rent reviews every two years. They will be allowed to lapse in 2019.

But landlords are free to hike rents for new tenancies.

Overall, prices were down 0.5pc in January. Over the past year, prices rose by 0.3pc.

The consumer price index shows rises in the past year in the cost of transport, restaurants and hotels, and education.
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