Planning permissions for homes rise by 25pc
THE construction industry has said it is too early to talk about a change in fortunes in the house-building sector after the latest figures showed a rise in planning permissions granted.
In the first three months of the year, planning permissions for houses and apartments rose by almost 25pc, according to the latest figures from the CSO.
They show that in the first quarter, 2,308 dwelling units were granted planning permission, up 24.7pc on the last three months of 2012.
Breaking down the figures, the CSO said permissions were granted for 1,860 houses in the first three months, up by 31pc on the previous quarter.
But while the figures show a welcome increase in activity, they are only a fraction of the growth during the boom, with more than 13,000 houses granted planning permission in the first quarter of 2008.
On a regional and county breakdown, Dublin led the way with 640 accepted planning permissions for houses and apartments in the first three months of the year.
However, more than half (348) involved extensions, with another 100 permissions granted for alterations and conversions. Donegal also showed activity, with a total of 253 – 104 of which were for new constructions.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said the slight increase in activity tallied with its own recently published figures which showed that new housing starts for the first three months were up almost 20pc.
However, while permissions for the construction of new dwellings might be up on a quarter-for-quarter basis, when compared to the first quarter of last year there was still a decrease in activity, said the CIF.
There was also a slight decrease in permissions for other new construction projects, extensions as well as alterations and conversions in the last three months of 2012.
"Taking these various factors into consideration, it is too early to talk about a change in fortunes for the residential-construction sector," the CIF said.
"Any signals that sector activity is growing are warmly welcomed throughout the Irish construction industry.
"However, given the low base the industry is now operating at we will need to see further quarter-on-quarter increases before there will be a general lift," the CIF added.