Sunday 19 November 2017

Number of new homes being built jumps by 30pc in last year

Simon Coveney wants scheme to encourage construction. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Simon Coveney wants scheme to encourage construction. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

The number of new homes under construction has increased by more than 30pc year-on-year.

New figures from the Department of Housing show that work began on 4,154 units in the first eight months of this year. This compares with 3,174 in the same period of 2015, an increase of 980 or 30pc.

The figures do not include one-off homes, which are unlikely to go on sale on the open market and will not help meet demand.

But they also show that, in some counties, no work on new housing developments started this year - with all units under construction being one-off properties.

The figures come as the Government is expected to announce new measures tomorrow to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder and encourage the construction industry to increase output.

Some 25,000 new homes are needed every year just to keep pace with demand, but fewer than 13,000 were built last year.

However, figures on the number of homes under construction suggest that the industry is slowly increasing output despite tough Central Bank lending rules which are dampening demand.

Building more homes is necessary to help avoid the price shocks that have seen the cost of buying a home increase by more than 20pc across all parts of the country since 2013 - and by 60pc for houses in Dublin city.

Data from the Central Statistics Office also show that first-time buyers' share of the market fell from 53.1pc in 2010 to just 24.4pc in 2015 due to the shortage of suitable properties being built, and as cash-rich buyers and investors snap up homes.

The Government intends to announce a tax rebate scheme aimed at helping this cohort to stump up the deposit necessary to secure a home loan.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney wants the measure to have the knock-on effect of sending a clear signal to the construction sector that there is a need to deliver starter homes, as mortgage lending will increase in the wake of the Government measures.

The Department of Housing statistics show that work has begun on 7,139 new homes so far this year. This compares with 5,324 in the first eight months of 2015, and includes both estate houses and one-off units.

Of these, 2,081 are in Dublin, and 3,599 are across the Greater Dublin Area, which includes Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Kildare.

But when the 2,985 one-off homes under construction are excluded, the figures show the construction industry is increasing output from very low levels.

The statistics show:

■ Work started on 5,154 units which form part of developments, meaning they will be sold on the open market.

■ The highest output is in Fingal, with 757 units under construction. Kildare is next at 561, then Cork County at 435.

■ Work started on 1,769 units across Dublin, and 2,861 in the Greater Dublin Area, which includes the four Dublin councils and Wicklow, Kildare and Meath.

■ In some counties, no housing developments are under way - all units are one-off. They include Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan, Offaly and Westmeath.

The figures also show that around 80pc of all units under construction in the cities of Cork, Dublin and Galway are in housing estates, which will help boost supply.

Some two-thirds in Limerick City and County are in developments.

Almost 80pc of units under construction in Waterford City and County are one-off.

Irish Independent

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