Calls for more homes to be built as CSO release figures on construction in past decade

There were 92.3% more new apartments built in 2017 than in 2016, new figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

The Statistical Yearbook of Ireland 2018 shows the number of new houses granted planning permission last year rose by 23.7% while there was a 37% increase in the number of new apartments granted permission.

Between 2008 and 2017 the number of new houses granted permission decreased by 67.7% and the number of new apartments granted permission decreased by 73%.

File photo.

Reacting to the figures, General Manager of Glounthaune Property Development (GPD) Aaron Willis said the pace of building in Ireland remains too slow.

"While the volume of construction output has been rising steadily over the last number of years, the pace of building remains too slow," Mr Willis said.

"The 20% increase in total building and construction in 2017 can only be welcomed with caution, considering the volume of output in building and construction decreased by 53.8% in the last decade.

"What’s more, the smallest sector in the business economy in Ireland in 2015 was construction, with a turnover of €15billion. These figures spell out, in no uncertain terms, that this sector needs help."

The number of new homes built dropped from 6,994 in 2011 to 4,575 in 2013. However, the number of new dwellings built has increased steadily each year since 2013 to stand at 14,446 in 2017.

In 2017, there were 4,269 new single dwellings compared with 3,660 in 2016, an increase of 16.6%.

There were 7,913 new scheme dwellings in 2017, an increase of 55.8% on 2016 when 5,078 were built.

The number of new apartments built in 2017 was 2,264, an increase of 92.3% on 2016.

The county with the most new dwellings completed in 2017, with 5,602, was Dublin, the majority of which were scheme houses.

The most single dwellings were completed in County Cork with 562.

Outside Dublin and Cork, counties Meath (1,108) and Kildare (985) had the most dwellings completed, while Leitrim (73) and Longford (75) had the least.

In the majority of counties new single dwellings outnumber new scheme dwellings and apartments.

In 2011 and 2012, almost two-thirds (62%) of all new dwelling completions were rural. This trend is reversed from 2014 onwards when more than half of all new dwelling completions are urban (54%).

In 2017, more than three-quarters of all new dwelling completions are urban and 23% are rural.

The number of new dwelling Final BER audits for new domestic dwellings in 2017 was 10,290, an increase of 73% on 2016.

Output in total building and construction increased by 20% in 2017 when compared with 2016. Between 2007 and 2017, the volume of output in building and construction decreased by 53.8%.

In 2016 there was an annual increase in construction turnover of 30% from €14.9 billion in 2015 to €19.4 billion. The year on year change showed that the number of persons employed in construction in 2016 rose by 10.7% to 120,341.

"The country needs more houses. This is an unquestionable truth. And so, we need to put in place the supports, process, incentives and structures that will enable the goal of greater construction output to be achieved," Mr Willis added.

The report reveals that 108,720 were employed in the construction sector in 2015 – but less than 10 years before that we had a labour force of 281,800 in the Irish construction industry.

"Clearly, something must be done about the fact that our building and construction workforce has depleted by so much."

He called for multi-trade courses to be introduced for tradespeople.

By Denise O’Donoghue

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