While Covid proved to be a ‘substantial speed bump’ sector rallied significantly over second half of 2021
A NEW report has underlined the impact of the COVID pandemic on the construction sector in Cork during 2021, with figures showing the number of new addresses added to the housing stock fell by almost a quarter when compared to 2020.
Figures show that 1,837 new addresses were added to Cork’s stock of residential buildings in 2021 compared to 2,442 in 2020 – representing a reduction of 24.8 per cent.
However, GeoView Residential Buildings Report (2021) showed the sector in Cork had rallied by the final quarter of last year, with 2,370 residential buildings under construction in the county compared to 2,069 12 months earlier.
The full report, which is available to view at www.geodirectory.ie, is published jointly by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland to create and manage the country’s only comprehensive database of residential buildings.
It found that, although residential activity in early 2021 was severely curtailed across the country by temporary closing of construction sites due to COVID-19 restrictions, the sector had rallied strongly following their reopening in April.
Commenting on the report’s findings, GeoDirectory CEO Dara Keogh said COVID-19 had proved to be a “substantial speed-bump” for the delivery of housing across Ireland.
“The knock-on impact of the closure of construction sites in early 2021 can be seen in the relatively low number of new address points (across the State) added to the database, which was down 17.4 per cent on the previous year,” said Mr Keogh.
“However, activity has rebounded since reopening fully in April with 19,495 buildings recorded as being under construction in Q4 2021 (up by 16.5 per cent on Q4 2020), the highest number since we started the report in 2014. This indicates a strengthening residential supply pipeline going into 2022,” he added.
The vacancy rate in Cork, as of Q4 2021, stood at 4.1 per cent, slightly lower than the national average of 4.4 per cent, with the report showing there were 90,158 vacant houses across the State as the year drew to a close.
For the first time, the GeoDirectory report gave an overview of derelict residential address points over the past five years. The figures showed that, in December of last year, there were 1,448 address points classed as being derelict across Cork, a 17.4-per-cent reduction on the figure for the same month in 2016.
Overall, there were 22,096 derelict residential units across the State, a five-year reduction of 7.3 per cent.
The report found that the number of residential property transactions started to rebound as public-health restrictions gradually eased. It showed that 4,925 residential property transaction took place across County Cork during 2021, 15.8 per cent of which were new dwellings.
This was up from 3,922 in 2020 – representing a 20.3-per-cent increase.
This was reflected across the State, with 44,110 residential properties purchased in 2021, up by 6,993 or 18.8 per cent on 2020.
The report found that house prices rose in all 26 counties to October 2021, with the average price in Cork standing at €288,873, representing a year-on-year increase of €16,028.
The October Cork price was below the national average of €321,596, although if you were to remove Dublin (where the average house price is a whopping €496,652), this figure drops to €250,380.
Contained within the report were house-price figures for specific Eircode areas across Cork, details of which can be seen in the attached panel.
They showed that, once again, Kinsale was the town in Cork with the highest average residential property price at €426,087 (up from €359,322 12 months ago). Charleville remains the lowest at €143,421 (down from €152,308 12 months ago).
For the third year in succession, Mallow recorded the highest level of activity in Cork during 2021 at 522 transactions (up from 420 in 2020), 3.8 per cent of which were new dwellings, with the average house price there standing at €174,521 (up from €173,810 last year).
This was 146 more than Carrigaline, which was second on the list.
Annette Hughes, director of EY Economic Advisory which prepared the report, said that despite the rally during the second half of 2021 being “extremely encouraging”, the level of housing supply coming onto the market was still well short of what was needed to meet demand.
“This is evident from the significant increase in the average house price, up 9.4 per cent nationally, with price increases recorded in every county,” said Ms Hughes.
“Based on our analysis for this report, the 90,158 vacant residential properties and the 22,096 derelict residential properties across Ireland should be investigated to ascertain if they can be returned to the housing stock, a move which would also support our retrofitting targets,” she added.