Slump in planning permissions

PLANNING permissions granted for houses and apartments has slumped by almost 45% for the third quarter of this year, compared with the same period the previous year.

According to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), planning permission was granted for 8,584 houses and apartments between July and September of this year, a drop of 43.9%.

In terms of houses, permission was granted for 5,362 units during this period, a decrease of more than 53% compared with the same figure in 2008.

Planning permissions for apartments slumped by more than 14% during the third quarter of this year from 3,761 to 3,222, heaping further misery on an already struggling construction industry.

One-off houses accounted for 24.6% of all new dwelling units granted planning permission during this period.

The total number of planning permissions granted for all developments was 6,655. This compares with 10,904 in the third quarter of 2008, a slump of 39%.

Planning permission granted for new farm buildings fell by 203 during the third quarter of this year, down from 314 permissions in the same three-month period last year.

The statistics also show that the total floor area planned decreased by more than 38% in comparison with the same quarter last year. Of this, 51.6% was for new dwellings, 37.1% for other new constructions and 11.3% for extensions.

The CSO figures only indicate the number of planning permissions granted, and not the overall rate of planning permissions sought or the refusal rate by local authorities.

However, the news will come as a further blow to the construction industry which has come under severe strain as a result of the recession.

Economist with Bloxham stockbrokers Alan McQuaid said there was “nothing surprising” in the figures.

“There is nothing surprising in the figures really. The construction purchasing managers index which is out this week and which measures the performance of the construction industry is going to be pretty dismal.”

“The reality is that the market is in limbo and is not going to pick up in the near future in terms of either housing or commercial building.

“That sector was the main driver of the economy in recent years but now it is the main drag on it. The figures were a little stronger last year than expected but these ones have a touch of reality about them,” he said.


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