Mr. Batt O'Keeffe, T.D., Minister for Housing, Urban Renewal and Developing Areas, has released the Quarter 1 2007 Housing Statistics Bulletin.
The Bulletin reports data on a range of housing matters, including -
Social Housing Output
* 1,453 social houses were completed in the first quarter of 2007 - an increase of 61% on the same period of 2006. A further 11,360 units were in progress by the end of 2007.
* In addition, 66 new units were acquired on long-term leases under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) in the first quarter of 2007.
This brings the stock of RAS long-term lease units to 471 by the end of March 2007.
Affordable Housing Output
* 487 units were provided in the first three months 2007 under the various affordable housing schemes - 33% of these were provided in Dublin.
This includes 54 units delivered on State/Local authority lands element of the Affordable Housing Initiative.
Part V delivery
* 444 Part V social and affordable units were acquired in the first three months 2007 and a further 4,859 units were in progress at the end of March 2007.
Part V of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2006 continued to gather momentum - up over 26% on the number delivered a year earlier.
The Bulletin also includes the following, based on loan approval data -
* The average price of a new house nationally was €320,969 in the first quarter 2007 - 9% higher than the average price in the same quarter in 2006.
* The average price of a second-hand house nationally was €379,874 in the first quarter 2007 - 9% higher than the average price in the same quarter in 2006.
* The average price for a house approved for a loan in the Dublin area was €417,800 (new) and €516,211 (second hand) - up 7% and 9.1%, respectively - about the same level as the fourth quarter 2006.
* More than 24,500 loans were approved for house purchases in the first quarter 2007 - a decrease of 21.9% on the number approved a year earlier.
The value of loans approved for house purchase was over €6.4 billion - a decrease of 16.4% on the value of loans approved a year earlier, reflecting a reduction in the average loan being approved.
New House Completions and Commencements - 6 months to June 2007
Minister O'Keeffe also confirmed that the most recent data available indicated that 38,978 new housing units had been completed and approximately 31,600 new housing units have been started in the first six months of 2007.
Commenting on the data, the Minister said - "Figures contained within this release confirm that the housing market is evolving to a more balanced and sustainable growth pattern - particularly with regard to house prices and mortgage lending. The housing market is strongly underpinned by economic and demographic factors and Government measures to assist affordability, especially the increase in mortgage interest relief.
"There is every reason to expect the house building industry to continue delivering at a high level - even if easing back from last year's record. Indeed, I am aware of no objective rationale for other than a measured re-adjustment of output levels over time. The conditions are in place to allow continuation of a strong output performance, which is evidenced by a completion rate of almost 1,600 units each week throughout the country, so far this year" - the Minister added.