NEW house starts in the midwest have come to a virtual standstill, Government figures have revealed.
In the second quarter of this year, there were only 28 new house starts across counties Limerick, Tipperary and Clare.
A breakdown shows that there were only six new house starts in Clare between April and the end of June, and seven in Limerick and 15 in Co Tipperary.
The stark figures show that there was only one new house start in Clare in June and only one house commenced in Limerick during the month of May.
The figures are based on returns lodged by the two house bond agencies, Homebond and Premier Guarantee registrations.
The registrations don’t include local authority and a portion of one-off housing and are strong indicators of between 75% and 85% of new house completions the following calendar year.
Ennis auctioneer, Philip O’Reilly said that the one house start in Clare during June “reflects what I am seeing on the ground and this summer has been the worst trading period that I have seen in the past 25 years”.
The returns for house completions in the midwest for the first six months of this year show that there has been a 49% drop.
There were 1,159 new homes completed compared with 2,281 for the same period last year.
The figures show that only 49 new homes were completed in Limerick city compared with 306 last year while in Limerick county, the number was 427 compared with 832 last year.
The returns for Clare also show that there were 150 house completions for the second quarter, less than half the 320 completions for that period in 2008.
Illustrating the collapse, figures show more houses were finished in June 2007 in Co Clare than during the second quarter of this year.
Director of DNG O’Sullivan Hurley, Cormac O’Sullivan, forecast there will be a shortage of new homes to purchase in Ennis next year.
“In 2006 and 2007, builders were constructing homes ahead of what was required, but that has stopped. Until all the unsold units are sold, you are not going to see any real movement in new house construction.
“The figures relating to house completions are irrelevant to show what is going on. The one house in June is telling the truth of what is happening out there.”
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