The number of planning permissions granted between April and June rose by more than 50% compared to the same period last year, as a conference was told that current planning guidelines are working well.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that in the second quarter of this year, planning permissions were granted for 6,777 dwelling units, 52% more than the 4,453 in the same period in 2017.
Permissions were granted for 4,951 houses in the second quarter (3,630 in Q2 2017), an increase of 36.4%. Planning permissions were granted
for 1,826 apartment units — more than double the number in Q2 2017.
One-off houses accounted for 19.4% of all new dwelling units granted planning permission in this quarter.
The overall picture was reflected at local level. The Focus Ireland annual conference in Cork was told that in Fingal there has been a 23.3% increase in sites with planning permission so far in 2018.
Brendan O’Sullivan, the director of the UCC Centre for Planning Education and Research, told the conference affordability was not due to a shortage of buildings or a shortage of land.
He said an analysis of North Main St in Cork City showed there could be a tripling in the number of homes there without any new construction, mainly through smart and flexible regulation.
Mr O’Sullivan said planning was a perceived rather than real obstacle and that a scramble to rezone land was not the answer, with brownfield sites better for growth than greenfield areas.
He said the country needed to “stick to tried and tested planning principles” adding “we cannot pretend that land supply will solve the housing crisis”.
Irish Fiscal Advisory Council chair, Dr Seamus Coffey, said there was little sign of the economy overheating and it did not need a fiscal stimulus. He said given current growth rate of 6%, government spending should stay below that, whereas at present it was matching it.