‘Fourth lowest year’ of house builds

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has published a map showing the low level of house-building across the country in 2014 and the challenges facing Government in reaching its housing targets.

CIF said the Government, Central Bank, and ESRI all believe there is a need to build 25,000 units every year to meet the country’s demographic needs. In 2014, only 11,016 housing units were completed.

However, the map shows most counties experienced a rise in house-building last year. The largest rise was in Dublin, where 3,268 housing units were completed, up 140% from the 1,360 units built in 2013.

In South Dublin, the 832 units built constituted a 310% increase. However, CIF pointed out it was estimated Dublin requires 7,000 to 8,000 houses each year.

‘Fourth lowest year’ of house builds

No other county came near matching the capital’s increase. The nearest was Cavan at 50%, followed by Wexford at 49%.

A fall in the level of housing output was noted in six counties, including Limerick, where there was a 21% drop, and Kerry, where the decline was 7%. Wick-low, Sligo, Leitrim, and Monaghan also experienced a drop.

In urban centres, Cork only saw an increase of 5% while Galway’s rise was 15%.

“It should be noted, house-building activity was coming from a very low base in Ireland,” the CIF said.

“Despite the increase in overall house completion levels, 2014 was still the fourth lowest year of house completions on record.

“The records began in 1970 when the country’s population was approximately 3 million people. By 2014, it is estimated the total population stood at over 4.5m which represents an increase of 1.5m or people or approximately 50% population growth.”

CIF director general Tom Parlon said: “It is a positive there has been an overall increase in units built but it is off a very low base. Builders want to build but they have to be able to access finance and the cost of building has to be economically viable.”

He pointed out that apart from Dublin, for most of the rest of the country, it is still cheaper to buy a house than it is to build a new one.

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