Only 13,660 buildings under construction 'amid Covid-19 lockdown hit'         

Only 13,660 buildings under construction 'amid Covid-19 lockdown hit'         

Covid-19 restrictions safety officer Michael O'Sullivan, assisted by Caroline O'Keffee, checks the temperature of one of the workers at the Astra construction site in Janeville, Carrigaline, Co Cork. Picture: David Creedon / Anzenberger

Only 13,661 residential buildings were under construction at the end of June, suggesting that the Covid-19 building site lockdowns will have a long-lasting effect on the housing market, according to figures from the authoritative GeoDirectory survey. 

The survey finds there were 13,661 new buildings being built in the Republic in June 2020, down by over 3% from a year earlier. 

The downturn of construction in Dublin was even "more pronounced", showing a sharp decline of over 10% over the same period, it said.  

The survey also showed the number of "residential address points" added to the GeoDirectory database slid by almost a third over the past year. 

Economists have warned the Covid-19 lockdowns and the continuing health restrictions at building sites will significantly reduce the number of new homes to well below 20,000 this year compared to the 21,500 units built last year. 

Most analysts say 35,000 new homes will be needed each year for a number of years to help offset the shortfall in supply and to go anywhere near matching the demand for homes.

The GeoDirectory figures refer to the number of residential buildings under construction and are therefore not directly comparable to the number of new housing units.                 

GeoDirectory also said there were 187,750 apartments in the housing stock at the end of June, accounting for 9.3% of all homes. 

Most of the apartments are in Dublin, with Cork "a distant second", accounting for only 7.4% of all apartments in the State.                   

“This report shows the impact that Covid-19 has had on housing supply in under six months," said GeoDirectory chief executive Dara Keogh. 

"For the first time in several years, we have seen a drop in the number of new address points added to the GeoDirectory and a fall in construction activity compared to the previous year." 

Meanwhile, a regular report by the Comptroller and Auditor General into Nama found it had met a target of helping to deliver 2,000 social housing units by the end of 2015, but will miss "a challenging target" that Nama set of delivering 20,000 homes over five years through 2020. 

"As of the end of 2018, it was projecting that around 13,000 units would be delivered on sites in which it has an interest by the end of 2021. 

This would represent delivery of 65% of the target, albeit a year later than originally projected," the report said.

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