Housing costs push 2019 inflation rate up to 0.9% – CSO

New Central Statistics Office figures show the rate of inflation almost doubled in 2019 compared to 2018 with housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels showing the biggest price increases since 2015.

Consumer prices rose by 0.9% in 2019, after increasing by 0.5% in 2018 and by 0.4% in 2017. 

The CSO said that during 2019, mortgage interest repayments rose on average by 2.8% compared to a drop of 0.2% in 2018. 

Meanwhile, the price of goods decreased on average by 1.1% compared to a fall of 0.7% in 2018.

The price of services – which includes mortgage interest – rose by 2.4% compared to a rise of 1.4% the previous year.

Since 2015, the CSO said that housing, water, electricity and gas and other fuel costs have jumped by 10.8%, while prices in restaurants and hotels are up 9.8% and education costs have grown by 9.2%.

The CSO also said today that consumer prices rose by 1.3% in December from 1.1% in November.

The increase came on the back of higher rents and mortgage interest repayments as well as more expensive electricity bills.

The CSO said the biggest annual price changes in December included increases in education costs, which rose by 4.1%.

The cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels increased by 3.3% due to higher rents, mortgage rates and higher electricity bills.

Meanwhile, the price of alcohol and tobacco rose by 3.1%, while prices in restaurants and hotels grew by 2.6% on the back of increase in the cost of accommodation and more expensive prices when eating out.

Transport costs also rose mainly due to an increase in air fares and higher prices for cars and services. 

However, December saw a price fall of 8.8% in the communications sector, while clothes and footwear prices were down 1.3% due to sales. The price of some foods – including vegetables, sugar, jam, honey, chocolate & confectionery and milk, cheese and eggs – were also lower last month.

On a monthly basis, the CSO said that consumer prices rose by 0.2% in December on the back of increases in the price of transport and health.

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