IHBA welcomes increase in housing completion figures

Irish Home Builders Association, a constituent association of the Construction Industry Federation, has welcomed the increase in housing completion figures announced by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien.

According to new data released by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, 32,695 new homes were completed in 2023.

Conor O’Connell, Director of Irish Home Builders Association and Director of Housing and Planning in the Construction Industry Federation said: “We welcome the Minister’s announcement of the increase in housing completions in 2023. Recent Government initiatives such as the Development Charges Waiver and Water Connection Rebate schemes, Project Tosaigh, Croi Conaithe and the ongoing Help to Buy and First Home Scheme are playing a crucial role in driving house building increases. It is vital that these continue, so that we can build more homes for sale, build more cost rental and affordable housing, as well more social housing.

“Members of Irish Home Builders Association are committed to building on this positive momentum. It is critical that an upward trend in housing commencements and completions continues in the months ahead at this time of urgent housing need.”

Ian Lawlor, Managing Director of Lotus Investment Group, which lends to developers commented: “This morning’s report from the CSO shows there was a 10pc increase in housing completions last year. This is good news for prospective buyers as ultimately more supply will make more homes available to them, while also keeping house price inflation in check. Given that the annual rate of national house price growth has increased in recent months, it is imperative that more supply continues to come on board.

Dublin has been at the forefront of the growth in housing completions, contributing a substantial portion of new dwellings and apartment completions. Based on our own real-time conversations with house builders, there is still huge demand for the new developments coming to the market – both in Dublin and beyond. However, the perennial problem of planning permission delays continues to overshadow the Irish housing market and while some of the provisions within the new Planning and Development legislation for 2024 are welcome, it remains to be seen if and how this will impact planning applications and outcomes.

The 43pc increase in the total number of dwelling units approved over the last year is encouraging as is the more than doubling in the number of planning approvals granted for apartments. However, we are concerned that Dublin has secured the lion’s share of planning approvals for apartments over the last year – this morning’s report shows that apartments completed in Dublin in 2023 represented more than three-quarters (78pc) of apartment completions nationally.

As we witness regional house prices continue to outpace that of the capital, it is becoming increasingly clear that cities and towns all over the country hold untapped potential for tackling our current housing crisis – although our ‘housing crisis’ is emerging as more of an ‘affordability crisis’ right now. The importance of strategically located residential development has never been clearer.

It is encouraging that a report published by the BPFI earlier this month shows that first-time buyer mortgage activity has reached historic highs. This shows that despite house price inflation, first-time buyers are very much propelling the residential property market and the backing of Government initiatives such as Help-to-Buy and First Home has been a crucial support here.”

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