Dublin house building yet to pick up despite demand – CIF

New house building in Dublin has yet to pick up, despite a surge in demand in the Dublin housing market. According to new statistics published by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) work started on only 2 extra houses in the first 6 months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

Despite price rises of over 10% being recorded in the capital in the latest CSO residential property price statistics and figures throughout the property industry highlighting that demand is outstripping supply, the CIF figures show that a total of 436 housing units were started between January and June of this year in Dublin, while 434 were started during the same timeframe in 2012.

Within Dublin there was a wide variation in activity between the various local authority areas. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown recorded the largest drop with 182 new starts taking place which is down 45 units on 2012. There was also a drop in Dublin City with only 90 starts taking place, down 39. South Dublin and Fingal however both recorded increased activity. 94 units started in South Dublin (up 60) and 70 started in Fingal (up 26).

Nationally, work began on 73 fewer housing units in the first six months of 2013 with 2,050 units started compared to 2,123 in 2012. In the commuter areas around Dublin the level of house building varied with 82 units started in Kildare (up 12 on 2012), 47 units started in Wicklow (up 13), 68 in Meath (down 7) and 35 in Louth (down 3).

In Cork, house building activity is up 19 units with 242 being started in the first half of 2013, while Galway also recorded an increase of 35 unit starts to 225 new builds. There was a fall in Limerick with work commencing on 70 units, down from 107 for the same time period in 2012.

According to the CIF, these figures underline the need for the Government to bring forward measures that will encourage house building activity within the capital in the Budget next week. CIF Director General Tom Parlon said, “With the surge in demand and prices in the Dublin housing market you would think that would have lead to a strong increase in building activity. However these figures show that the market is not reacting to the increased demand across the capital by increasing supply. As the demand grows stronger across the capital there are simply not enough houses being built in the Dublin area.

“The main reason for this is the cost of house building. Although there is a demand driven price rise in the greater Dublin region and certain other urban areas, construction costs for the residential sector are still high.

“These figures underline the need for the Government to bring forward some measures that will encourage house building in Dublin in the coming Budget. There are options available that would encourage the residential construction sector to start building again in the areas where there is demand. For example a cut in the construction VAT rate to 9% for a temporary, two year period would be have an immediate impact in this regard.

“We know that the Government is very conscious of the need to have more house building in Dublin and the surrounding areas given the performance of the market this year. However with the lag time that exists between a new housing project being devised and the time it takes to complete it, these house commencement figures underline the importance of immediate action, starting with the Budget,” Mr. Parlon concluded.