Monday 24 April 2017

10,000 new homes built, but demand is twice that

The Housing Agency says almost 21,000 units a year are required to return to a functioning property market
The Housing Agency says almost 21,000 units a year are required to return to a functioning property market
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Just over 10,000 new homes have been built so far this year, less than half the figure needed to meet demand.

New statistics from the Department of the Environment show 10,052 houses and apartments were completed in the first 10 months of 2015, the fifth lowest since records began 40 years ago.

Almost half of all units (47pc) are one-off homes, built to order and unlikely to be sold on the open market.

The figures show output is not keeping up with demand in our main cities where prices continue to rise.

Just 2,358 have been completed across the four Dublin local authorities of Dublin City, South Dublin, Fingal and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, despite the Housing Agency identifying a need for more than 7,000.

In Cork City, just 162 homes have been completed, with another 926 across the county. There is a need for 4,415 in Cork city and suburbs by 2018.

In Galway City a total of 76 units have been delivered, where 2,316 are needed.

The Housing Agency says almost 21,000 units a year are required to return to a functioning property market, with 16,000 units identified for 2015 alone. But based on current trends, this target will not be achieved.

The low figures come as the number of homes sold in the main cities continues to rise, and prices increase due to a lack of new supply coming onto the market.

Between January and October last year, 10,688 units traded hands in Dublin, according to the Property Price Register. So far this year, the number has increased to 12,301 - up 15pc.

A house now costs an average of 7.6pc more than a year ago, the Central Statistics Office says. In Dublin, houses are 4.5pc higher than last year, a figure that rises to 10.7pc outside of the capital.

Reasons for the low level of construction activity include the lack of development finance and the high cost of building.

The Government is also planning to introduce standards for apartments regarding minimum sizes, the number of lifts per number of apartments, car parking provision and requirements in relation to the number of windows, which it says will reduce costs. However, this is disputed by some planners, who insist it will not lower prices.

Another measure to tackle the shortage is a scheme to refund levies to developers who deliver homes that are sold for less than €300,000.

Irish Independent

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