House completions down nearly a third on last year’s figures

A SHARP decline in the housing market is continuing with figures showing that the number of house completions in the first six months of 2008 has fallen by almost 30% on the corresponding period last year.

New house prices have also decreased nationally by 5.5% over the same timeframe, reaching an average of €313,678 last June.

The average price of a second-hand house fell by 7.8% to €356,638.

The reduction in property values in Dublin has been even more acute with the price of new homes in the capital down 8.5% to an average of €390,544.

Second-hand homes in Dublin have dropped even more dramatically — down 10.3% over the past 12 months to €455,142.

The average price of a new house in Cork stood at €316,561 in June compared to €334,160 12 months earlier — a 5.2% decrease.

Second-hand house prices in Cork fell by 3.6% in the 12-month period to June to €344,408 — a reduction of almost €13,000.

Official figures issued by the Department of Environment yesterday show that 27,736 units were completed nationwide in the first half of 2008 compared to 38,978 in the corresponding — a decrease of 28.8%.

The most recent data also indicates that the slowdown in the housing sector has continued over the past few months with just under 40,000 units completed by the end of September.

Over 56,000 houses were built over the same period in 2007.

The number of housing starts in 2008 has also dropped sharply — down by 51% to 15,438 units up to June.

The number of house buyers approved for loans in the second quarter of 2008 — traditionally one of the busiest times for the market — decreased by over 20% compared to last year.

Almost 20,000 people obtained mortgage approval between April and June this year compared to over 25,200 last year. The value of such loans also fell by almost 19% to €5.2 billion.

Based on information provided by mortgage lending institutions, the number of loans paid out for house purchases in the second quarter also fell by over 24% to 16,713. The value of such loans fell by just under 20% to €4.6bn.

However, official figures shows that construction of social and affordable housing has intensified.

A total of 1,706 units built under the Part V Social and Affordable Housing Provision were provided in the first half of this year — up 83% on 2007 figures.


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