Meeting housing construction targets this year will be a challenge despite strong home completion data from the CSO showing the number of new dwellings completed last year increased by 45.2% to 29,851.
It is the highest level of home completions since the CSO began recording the figures in 2011. The number of apartments finished last year was 9,166, more than the number completed in 2020 and 2021 combined.
The CSO data shows completions finished the year strongly with 9,148 homes connected to the ESB Network in the final three months, up 31% on the same period of 2021. The final quarter was the largest single quarter of completions since the data began.
Of all completions in 2022, 50.8% were housing scheme dwellings and 18.5% were single dwellings. The proportion of apartments being built has been rising over recent years from 16.5% of completions in 2019 to 30.7% in 2022. The figures do include student-apartment developments.
All eight regions of Ireland saw an increase of more than 20% from 2021 to 2022 with the highest growth in Dublin at 65.1%. More than a third of scheme completions were in the Mid-East while 18% of single dwellings completed were in Cork and Kerry.
The Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien welcomed the figures saying the completions were well above the 24,600 target under the Housing for All. The 2023 projected output is 29,000.
"It is encouraging to see the highest level of housing delivery in over a decade despite unforeseen challenges like high construction cost inflation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine," he said.
"Increasing supply is central to ensuring people can access affordable housing and that our housing market functions more effectively.”
Despite strong completion numbers in 2022, there are concerns that the pace of new home construction cannot be maintained. Government figures for December show the number of new dwellings that commenced construction in the previous 12 months was just under 27,000 a 12.3% drop on the previous year.
Director of Property Industry Ireland, Dr David Duffy said it looks like 2023 will be a more challenging year for new home building. "High input and funding costs are negatively impacting on viability and delivery, particularly for apartments. We saw in the data for last year that apartments accounted for approximately one-third of new home output. This suggests the Housing For All targets for the next couple of years could be more difficult to achieve," he said.
Economist Shaun McDonnell with Goodbody said the big bounce in completions in the final quarter left the full-year outturn ahead of their latest forecasts. However, he said weaker commencements will start to take hold. "The fall in commencements will feed through to lower supply in 2023 and 2024, particularly as concerns around the viability of apartment building and a falling supply of housing due to a well-documented planning process that is a hinderance, and the lack of housebuilders of scale in the Irish market," he said.