25,000 new builds predicted by 2018

The Irish housing market could reach a sustainable level of around 25,000 new builds per year within the next five years, a rise of more than 180% on current levels.

That is according to Charles Gallagher, the chairman of Abbey, who said the problem facing sustained growth in the sector is not a pricing issue but one of supply, in terms of both finance and supply of new stock.

He said Abbey remains upbeat about prospects in its core markets of Ireland and Britain, after delivering a near 30% annualised increase in first-half profits.

The Meath-based firm yesterday reported pre-tax profits of €7.65m for the six months to the end of October, up 28.6% on the €5.95m figure reported for the same period last year. Operating profits grew from €4.14m to €6.32m. Revenue rose by over 5% at €47.1m.

The company completed 163 builds during the period — 156 in Britain, four in Ireland, and the remainder in Czech Republic.

Mr Gallagher said he is optimistic about recovery in Abbey’s main markets, including Ireland where two new build projects are under way in Dublin — at Shankill and Rathfarnham, with advance sales going well, and a third project close to announcement.

The immediate outlook is “encouraging”, he said.

“In Dublin, prices and activity have improved from very low levels. In Britain and Ireland, competition for new land opportunities is fierce and cost pressures are increasing steadily. Overall the group is hopeful of a good outcome for the year,” he said.


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