The latest rent survey from Daft.ie suggest that the urban-rural rental gap is widening with rents in Dublin and Cork rising with the reverse being the case in the rest of the country.
Prices in Ulster fell marginally but one of the biggest drops in rent prices was recorded in Donegal.
In Ulster, rents in the first three months of 2012 fell by 1.7% on average. In Donegal, rents in early 2012 were 3.2% lower than a year previously.
The average rent is now €534, a fall of 26% from the peak.
Barry O'Leary, Chief Executive of the IDA says that while there is concern among some property owners that rents and prices have not returned to boom levels, the market emerging from the economic crash appears more sustainable.
Ronan Lyons, Economist at Daft.ie, said: "There is now a clear difference in rental trends between the major urban centres of Dublin and Cork, where rents are rising, and the rest of the country, where rents are falling.
he added that this difference reflects greater demand for living near cities, which are home to most new jobs, and also reflects supply factors.