House planning applications fell in every county except Donegal this year, the latest National Housing Construction Index reveals.
There is a glimmer of hope, however, with the index suggesting a rise in residential construction activity during the first half of 2013.
There was slowdown in the rate of decline in the number of projects getting under way over the summer months, a trend that continued up to the end of October.
However, any increase in housing construction will be from a very low base and may affected by other factors, such as the weather and budget changes.
The index, issued by Link2Plans, reveals an 18% decrease in planning applications between January and October, compared to the same period in 2011.
An exception was Donegal that recorded a 17% increase — 1,029 over 879.
Kildare recorded the largest fall in planning applications with a 35% drop — 383 compared to 591.
Applications fell by 34% in Kerry — 312 compared to 473 and 33% in Clare — 416 compared to 277.
The index also shows that Kilkenny (-31%), Wexford (-31%) and Mayo (-27%) all recorded large falls in applications.
Dublin received 1,991 applications over the first 10 months of this year, compared to 2,273 in 2011, a 12% fall.
Cork received 1,636 applications this year, compared to 1,941 in 2011, a 16% decrease, while Limerick received 461 this year, compared to 534 in 2011, down 14%.
Biggest falls in project commencements are recorded in Laois (-31%) — 75 compared to 109; Roscommon (-29%) — 54 compared to 76, and Donegal (-27%) — 218 compared to 298.
Commencements in Cork are up 6% — 494 over 468 and in Dublin are down by only 3% — 995 compared to 1,021.
Other counties recording an increase in commencements are Westmeath (43%) — 70 compared to 49, Mayo (24%) — 152 compared to 123 and Sligo (16%) — 106 compared to 91.
Link2Plans managing director, Danny O’Shea, said while housing construction activity levels were lower this year than in 2011, there was a “definite slowdown” in the rate of decline.
“We started to notice this trend over the summer months and it has continued up to the end of October,” he said.
“Project commencements, at 9% below the 2011 figures, are getting close to a point where we will clearly see a rise, albeit from a very low base, in residential construction activity,” he said.
Mr O’Shea said if current trends continued we could expect to see a rise in construction activity in the first or second quarter of next year.
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