Sunday 21 September 2008

Housing starts drop below 10,000 since start of year

Housing starts declined to fewer than 10,000 in the first eight months of the year, according to the Department of the Environment’s latest housing statistics.

Just 9,981 housing starts have been registered since the start of the year, a two-thirds drop from the 30,000 units for the same period last year. Housing starts are those registered with Homebond and give an indication of the level of construction set to get under way.

In Dublin, housing starts were recorded at just over 3,400, a 55 per cent fall on the same period in 2007. In the greater Dublin area, registrations were down by almost 60 per cent to 4,400 units in the first eight months of this year.

The greater Dublin area includes Dublin city and county, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. Kildare suffered the greatest fall - 80 per cent - from 1,872 to 374.

The Department of the Environment also released housing completion figures which showed a drop of 28 per cent to 35,000 in the first eight months of the year.

Dublin house completions comprised around a fifth of the country’s total, at 7,900 units, while the greater Dublin area had more than 11,000 completions.

Both of these figures reflected about a 30 per cent decrease. About 78,000 units were completed last year - completions follow housing starts with a lag of about nine months, so the effect of the decline in starts in the first half of 2007 was not felt until the beginning of 2008.

The department’s figures show house completions for the first half of this year are now on a par with the 2002 figures. Unlike housing starts, housing completions data is based on the number of new dwellings connected by ESB Networks to the electricity supply board and so may not tally exactly with the local authority boundaries.

Some 11,000 of the 35,000 house completions to date are houses built by individuals, with the remaining units consisting of a mix of apartments and housing schemes.

Cork had the highest number of one-off house completions with 1,200 units , compared to 552 in Kerry, 289 in Wicklow and just 113 houses in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in Co Dublin.

Sunday Business Post

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