PLANNING permission for new homes continues to plummet, with applications to build houses and apartments down almost 17pc between April and the end of June.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the largest fall in applications in the second quarter of the year was for apartments, down 73pc, compared with the same period in 2013.
The number of houses granted permission has remained steady, with permission for 1,492 units approved compared with 1,496 in 2013.
However, almost half are one-off units built to order, meaning they will not be sold on the open market.
The shortage of new homes exacerbates the growing housing crisis and helps fuel price increases.
The CSO revealed earlier this week that national property prices rose €25,500 in the past year, up almost 15pc in a 12-month period.
This figure is based on the number of mortgages drawn down, and does not include cash buyers, who are believed to make up almost half of all house sales.
The CSO figures show:
l Planning permission was received for just 114 apartments, compared with 430 in the same three months of 2013.
l Almost half (46.8pc) of all homes are one-off units. This means just 740 houses will come onto the open market. l In all, 875 applications for development were approved, some for one-off homes and others for multiple units. The lowest number was in Leitrim with just one, with the highest in Co Cork, with 127.
l Overall, there has been an increase in planning permission approvals, up from 3,368 to 4,149. Many developments are extensions, farm buildings or commercial units.
l Permission was granted for 712,000 square metres of development - about 10 times the size of the Dundrum Town Centre development, in Dublin.
Experts believe fewer than 10,000 units will be built this year, far less than the 16,000 needed to meet pent-up demand.
There have been calls on the Government to remove a tax on land zoned for housing and to reduce development levies, and also to help make finance available to developers to boost the sector.