Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said today Ireland’s housing boom has come to a “shuddering end” and this has been exacerbated by an international credit crunch.
Mr Lenihan's comments came as figures show the number of planning permissions has fallen by 9.5 per cent.
Speaking at a construction industry conference in Dublin Castle, Mr Lenihan: “We’ve had a building boom going on in Ireland since the mid-1990s and I have the misfortune to have become the Minister for Finance a few weeks ago as the building boom was coming to a shuddering end.
“It’s unfortunate for us now that that process of adjustment, which is a natural market process, has now coincided with an international credit squeeze,” he added.
Construction Industry Federation chief Tom Parlon said building 90,000 houses, as Ireland did in 2006 is “never ever going to happen again”. But he said Ireland needed to get to a “sustainable level of housing which the experts will say is about 50,000 houses a year that would sustain a lot of jobs and make a very substantial contribution to the exchequer”.
CSO figures released today show the number of planning permissions granted in the first quarter of the year is down by 9.5 per cent. A total of 18,582 planning permissions were granted in the first three months of 2008, compared to 20,538 during the same period in 2007.
Planning Permissions were granted for 13,301 houses in the first quarter of 2008 and 15,654 in the first quarter of 2007, a decrease of 15 per cent. Planning was granted for 5,281 apartment units, compared with 4,884 for the same period in 2007, an increase of 8.1 per cent.
One-off houses accounted for 21.6 per cent of all new dwelling units granted permission in the first quarter. The total number of planning permissions granted for developments was 11,055. This compares with 15,388 in the first quarter of 2007,a decrease of 28.2 per cent.