New data from construction research firm Building Information Ireland shows a 146% surge in the level of residential building activity in the region in the first three months of 2015 against the same period last year. That rise includes a combination of starts, planning applications, and planning approvals.
The other three regions measured — Dublin, the rest of Leinster, and Connacht/Ulster — all showed annualised declines in this regard. Combined residential activity fell 27% in the Dublin area. The decline was more pronounced at 45% in the rest of Leinster and amounted to 42% in Connacht/Ulster.
The country saw a 20% year-on-year drop in residential starts in the first quarter, with the value of projects amounting to €700m.
“Residential projects take the longest average time to reach commencement,” said the report. “They, typically, are more likely to apply for an extension of duration at the planning stage.”
In Munster, the first quarter saw a 4% year-on-year rise in residential planning applications; a 41% drop in approvals, but a 92% rise in residential building starts, to 938 units. The value of residential project activity in Munster rose 7% to €300m in the quarter.
Despite a 20% drop in starts in Leinster to 1,008 units the province’s total value of residential projects in the period rose 276% to €1.03bn.
Nationwide, the value of residential projects for which planning applications were lodged increased nearly 60% to €625m, with a 123% rise (to €623m) noted in the value of projects granted in the quarter compared to the same time last year. These figures suggest a strong pipeline of work could come on stream in the future, according to the report.
“However, our research shows residential projects take approximately 80% longer to commence than the average construction project, so that increase may take some years to have any impact,” said Building Information Ireland.