New housing starts up by almost 20%

The number of new housing being built has increased by almost one fifth during the first three months of 2013, according to new figures released by the CIF. A total of 965 units were started around Ireland in the first quarter of 2013, up 159 units or 19.7% from the same period in 2012 when a total of 806 new housing units commenced. 

The latest CIF Housing Statistics Bulletin shows the level of house building has particularly increased in Dublin and Galway. Dublin has experienced the strongest jump with 254 units beginning in the first three months of this year compared to the 43 units being started in 2012. This represents an increase of 490%.

The breakdown between the various local authority areas in the capital saw 110 units start in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, up from 9 in 2012. Fingal has witnessed 47 house starts compared to 13 for the same period the year before. South Dublin had 28 house starts, up from 7 and Dublin City had 69 commencements, an increase of 55 new units from the 14 that were started in the first quarter of 2012.

Galway also witnessed a strong increase in starts. Work began on 110 units between January and March 2013, an increase of 80% or 49 units from the 61 that were started during the same timeframe in 2012. The breakdown of the Galway figures saw 93 units started in Galway County, up from 59 in 2012 and a further 17 units started in Galway City which was up from 2 units in 2012.

Other local authority areas to witness increases in house commencements include Carlow, Cork County, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon and Wicklow. There were also decreases of activity in certain parts of the country. Limerick experienced the largest drop in actual housing numbers falling from 60 units started in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 21 for the first three months of this year. This represents a fall of 65%. In Limerick City the total activity has fallen to zero in the first 3 months. The largest percentage fall by county was in Sligo, which suffered a drop of 74% as only 7 units were started in the first 3 months, compared to 27 the year before.

Of the new units commenced in the first three months, 658 were single units. This is a decrease of 10.8% or 80 units on the previous year when 738 of the houses started were single builds.

There was less positive news for the number of houses completed around the country with the level falling by 6.4%. A total of 2,390 new units were finished in the first four months of 2013, a drop of 163 compared to the 2,553 units completed in the same period the year before.

Increases were recorded in Wicklow, Louth, Limerick, Cavan, Kildare, Roscommon, Leitrim, Meath and Carlow.

Speaking about the statistics, CIF Director Hubert Fitzpatrick said, “The house commencement statistics do suggest that the house building market is slowly starting to turn. We are seeing an increase in activity in Dublin, Galway and certain other areas. The Dublin and Galway stats in particular are in keeping with recent trends in the housing market where demand seems to be creeping up. There is a shortage of family type homes in the metropolitan centres which may lead to variations in home price inflation countrywide.

“The feedback being provided by estate agents suggests there is a need for more of this kind of supply and the construction sector is trying to provide housing the market needs in the areas where it is wanted. There is a lag between houses being started and them becoming available on the market, so unfortunately if current supply trends continue that could have implications for the market.

“With the various demographic factors that have been reported by the ESRI we should see more activity over the coming months and years, so long as the banks are providing working capital to ensure that building can take place in the areas where there is a demand for housing. That is currently one of the main blockages to more housing construction taking place in the areas where demand has increased.

“The statistics regarding house completions are in keeping with our expectations for the year ahead. We anticipate there will once again be a drop in houses built nationally this year. However as the drop in completions seems to be tailing off we are optimistic that 2013 may mark the bottom of the graph for the level of house building in this country” Mr. Fitzpatrick concluded.