Saturday 1 October 2016

Sharp rise in number of homes built in main cities

Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30

The lowest number of units on a county basis was in Monaghan at 76, with the highest number
in Fingal at 909. Photo: PA
The lowest number of units on a county basis was in Monaghan at 76, with the highest number in Fingal at 909. Photo: PA

The number of homes completed so far this year has surged almost 15pc on the same period of 2015.

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New figures from the Department of Housing show 7,752 units were completed between January and July, up just over 1,000.

The figures show completions are substantially up in the high-demand areas of Dublin, Cork and Galway.

These areas have seen the highest price increases over recent years, resulting in first-time buyers being squeezed out of home ownership and tenants being hit with hefty rises in their monthly rents.

The figures, which were published yesterday, show that while overall completions are up, the recovery in the construction sector is far more pronounced in the main urban areas.

They show that some 2,254 houses and apartments were completed across the four Dublin local authorities in the first seven months of the year, an increase of 42.6pc.

The sharpest rise was in Dublin city, up 71pc to 595, followed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, which saw a 45pc increase to 584.

There was also an increase in Fingal, up 37pc to 909.

Demand

However, there was a slight fall in South Dublin, which dropped by 1.2pc to 166 completions.

While the increase in output in the capital is welcome, it is still well below the level needed to meet demand.

The Housing Agency says almost 10,000 units a year are needed nationally.

Read more: Councils told to identify land to fast-track for housing developments

The figures also show growth in Cork, where overall numbers are up 29pc to 927. In the city, they rose 57pc to 184, and by 24pc to 743 across the county.

And while 428 units were completed in the first seven months across Galway, there has been no increase in the city area.

Just 53 homes were completed between January and July, the same number as 2015.

While construction levels also rose in Limerick city and county, up 7.6pc to 242, completions in Waterford city and county dropped by 9.2pc, down to 168.

The number of homes delivered dropped across 12 local authority areas, with the sharpest fall in Offaly, down 33pc to 82.

There was also a sharp fall in Carlow, down 31pc to 69 units compared with the same period of 2015.

This is almost half the number of homes completed in the first seven months of 2014 in Carlow, when 115 were delivered.

There was also a drop in output in Mayo (down 12pc to 203) and Tipperary, down 11pc to 186.

There was mixed news in the Dublin commuter belt. Completions are up 46pc in Meath to 358 and in Kildare by 2pc to 408, but they fell in Louth (down 19pc to 190) and Wicklow (down 5.8pc to 226).

The lowest number of units delivered on a county basis was in Monaghan at 76, with the highest number in Fingal at 909.

The figures come as the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) says it wants to ramp up lending to local authorities to help deliver 13,500 social housing units.

In its strategy out to 2020, the HFA says it plans to lend €1.3bn to city and county councils and approved housing bodies to deliver new homes to reduce social housing waiting lists. It expects to lend €620m to local authorities by 2020, which will fund 9,000 units, and another €680m to approved housing bodies for 4,500 more.

The HFA lends money at a lower rate than that available on the market. It has a current loan book of €1.3bn. It expects the bulk of the new finance to be drawn down from 2018.

Irish Independent

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