DECLINES IN the housing market resulted in the construction of one-third fewer homes in 2008 than in 2007, according to figures which will be released today by the Department of the Environment.
Of the 51,724 houses built in 2008 more than one-third (34 per cent) were one-off houses, up from one-quarter in 2007. The proportion of apartments built held relatively steady – accounting for 25 per cent of completions in 2008 and 24.1 per cent in 2007.
The development of housing estates saw the biggest decline. The construction of housing schemes fell by 10 per cent as a proportion of the sector to 49 per cent. However, in absolute numbers 21,127 estate houses were built last year, down from 39,273 in 2007 – a fall of 46 per cent.
Some of the largest declines were in the Dublin commuter belt. In Fingal, the number of homes built fell by almost 55 per cent, from 4,725 to 2,149; south Dublin had a 46 per cent fall from 3,270 to 1,758. Kildare, Cavan and Laois also experienced large declines. In Kildare, the number of homes completed fell from 3,118 to 1,811, a decline of 42 per cent; in Cavan the numbers almost halved from 2,108 to 1,262; and in Laois there was a 47 per cent fall from 2,117 to 1,156.
The largest decline was in Longford. In 2007, 1,579 homes were built there. Last year that fell to just 584 – a decline of 63 per cent.
Nowhere escaped the decline in construction, but north Tipperary saw the least change with the number of residential completions falling from 1,041 to 978 – a fall of just over 6 per cent.
The figures will be formally published by the Minister of State for Housing Michael Finneran today. The fall in the demand for housing made now the ideal time to focus on the quality of house construction and housing for the less well-off, Mr Finneran said.
“While there is an easing off in housing activity, and recognising the difficulties currently facing the public finances, the Government is committed to focus on quality in the provision of housing and to addressing the housing needs of the less well-off in our society.”