The construction of 13,000 houses got underway in the first eight months, sharply up from a year earlier, but still far short of the numbers required to meet demand, a building consultancy has said.
A report by Construction Information Services (CIS), which supplies information to the building industry by monitoring planning permits and construction starts of residential and commercial schemes, said the 13,000 residential units have already exceeded the 14,600 houses which were started in the whole of 2017.
Not all the building starts will translate into delivered units by the end of the calendar year but the figures are consistent with the consensus estimates of other experts that forecast 18,000 homes will be completed this year, said CIS.
However, it will be several years still before the number of home builds comes close to matching the 35,000 annual new completions that experts believe will be required in the short term to meet demand, CIS said.
Figures from the CSO published earlier this week showed almost 7,910 dwellings were completed in the first six months of this year.
The new official figures, which reflect the number of new home completions and not home starts, come after a long debate about the accuracy of estimates based solely on ESB connections.
CIS said the figures for building starts this year suggest there will be more housing supply coming on stream in 2019.
Its figures on building house starts exclude accommodation units built for students and so-called self-builds.
CIS’s detailed figures for the first six months of the year suggest a large rise by 15% from a year earlier in the number of residential projects which are “ moving on site”, and a significant drop of 20% in the number of commercial and retail projects.
The number of industrial projects in the pipeline at the half-year stage climbed 24%, but projects involving education and hotel and student accommodation dropped 13%.
However, the report says that hotel and student accommodation “remains buoyant” in Dublin.
“In Dublin City Council area alone 79 hotels are in the pipeline, 35 of these are either at plans submitted or approved, comprising a total of 2,961 bedrooms this year alone.
“A further 44 hotels comprising 3,903 bedrooms are at tender, contract awarded or on-site stage,” according to the report.