Housebuilding expected to hit new low this year

Fewer than 8,500 properties built last year with demand highest for one-off homes

The number of houses built last year hit its lowest level since records began  with fewer than 8,500 houses completed

The number of houses built last year hit its lowest level since records began with fewer than 8,500 houses completed

Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 01:00


The number of houses built last year hit its lowest level since records began in 1970, with fewer than 8,500 houses completed.

And indications are that 2013 will be an even worse year for the sector, with fewer than 3,000 homes built in the first five months of the year, down almost 10 per cent on the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Department of the Environment.

The collapse of the market has seen a significant change in the type of home being built. One-off houses, largely in rural areas are by far the most popular type of house, and accounted for more than 61 per cent of all homes built this year.

By contrast almost there is little demand for apartments. They accounted for just 8.7 per cent of homes completed in the first five months of the year.

Back in 2007, just before the slump took hold, these two elements of the sector were pretty much on a par – one-off houses accounted for 25.3 per cent of homes built and apartments made up 24.1 per cent. The most popular houses at the time were those built in estates which made up more than 50 per cent of he market.

As expected one-off houses were concentrated in rural areas, but their spread is far from evenly distributed. Of the 1,843 individual houses built so far this year, almost a quarter were concentrated in just three county council areas, Cork (207), Galway (150) and Donegal (128).

The total number of homes completed this year in the Cork county area was 332, almost twice the number built in Dublin city where the combined number of one-off house, estate houses and apartments reached just 166.

The area of the State where the fewest homes were built was Waterford city, where just 19 homes have been completed this year.

At the height of the property boom in 2006 more than 93,000 houses were built.

Even when the market had been at a low in the late 1980s there were still considerably more houses being built than there are now. In 1988, the worst year for construction before the current recession, more than 15,654 new homes were completed, a number that had been the lowest since 1971.