Planning challenges and a predicted decline in completions this year suggest that supply will continue to remain “substantially below” the estimated need for housing here, according to Goodbody.
Goodbody Analytics estimates that a total of 2,046 units were commenced in February, bringing the total number of commencements in the past three months to around 6,000.
The level of commencements remains unchanged from the same period a year ago, bringing the total number over the past twelve months to around 27,000.
This is now 23pc below the recent peak of 35,000 commencements recorded last year.
“Despite the well-known concerns about the apartment sector, the housing sector is the bigger drag on commencements,” Goodbody chief economist Dermot O’Leary said.
In the three months to end of February this year, the number of apartment commencements rose by 10pc year-on-year, while scheme housing commencements dipped by 1pc in the same period.
“This is surprising but may be partly due to increased state involvement to ensure active planning permissions are not left idle,” Mr O’Leary added.
Despite the ongoing increases in apartment commencements, Goodbody does not expect output to surpass 2022 levels. According to the report, recent trends suggest that housing output may decline this year, with 27,000 completions forecast for 2023.
This is down from 30,000 last year.
The research also pointed to the ongoing decline in the number of residential units being granted planning permission, with the Central Statistics Office reporting that successful applications were down 44pc year-on-year in the final quarter of 2022.
A sharp decline was also recorded in Q3, reflecting the lowest second half performance since 2017.
This fall was driven by a 54pc drop in apartment planning permissions, CSO said, while housing permissions were down 28pc across the year.
“A combination of factors are at play in this downward trend, including resources at the planning board, changes to the planning system and viability concerns,” Mr O’Leary said. “The fall must be put in the context of the surge in permissions since 2019, the current level of residential activity and the ongoing legal challenges to planning permissions.”
While 127,000 units were granted planning permission since the second quarter of last year, Goodbody estimates construction has started on just 80,000 over this period.
A report from Mitchell McDermott last month reported that 29,000 units that came through the strategic housing development process were subject to judicial review, while a further 29,000 that received planning permission have not commenced construction due to viability issues.
BNP Paribas Ireland also reported that housing activity in Ireland slowed again in February, while commercial activity rose modestly for the first time since last September.
The French bank’s construction activity index showed that output in Ireland has declined for the fifth successive month but firms registered strong employment growth, as well as the first uptick in new orders since March 2022.
The research also revealed that input prices and subcontractor rates were rising at a rapid pace compared to January.