Housing output surges almost 60% above pre-Covid levels

CSO says 7,654 new homes were built between April and June, the highest number since records began in 2011

A pedestrian passes a residential construction site in the Sandyford district of Dublin, Ireland, on Monday, May 10, 2021. The mass purchase of affordable houses — on the market for about 400,000 euros ($490,000) — set off a public firestorm and highlights the growing tension over the squeeze in urban housing and the role of large investors. Photographer: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Bloomberg

The number of new homes completed in the second quarter of 2022 was 53.4 per cent higher than the same period last and year and 58.5 per cent ahead of the second quarter of 2019, before the pandemic.

Apartment completions in Dublin, which has seen a large increase in investment for build-to-rent units, were mostly responsible for the increase, Central Statistics Office (CSO) data indicates.

Some 7,654 new homes, the highest number since records began in 2011, were built between April and June 2022, up from 4,490 over the same period last year when the construction sector remained heavily constrained by public health restrictions. It also represents a sharp 58.5 per cent increase ahead of the April to June period in 2019.

Of the total number of new dwellings completed in the second quarter, 3,905 (51 per cent) were housing scheme units, 2,415 (31.6 per cent) were apartments and 1,334 (17.4 per cent) were single houses. Apartment completions were up 88 per cent in the year to the end of June while housing scheme output increased 53.3 per cent and completions of single units were up 15.1 per cent over the period.


Dublin saw the largest increase (78.6 per cent) in housing output over the 12 months to the end of June. At a local authority level, Dublin city saw the largest number of overall housing completions nationwide at 1,042 — almost 95 per cent of which were apartments — followed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown with 674 and Fingal County Council with 590. Across the county, apartments accounted for more than two-thirds of total completions in the quarter.

Nine of the ten Local Electoral Areas with the most completions in the quarter were in Dublin, with the most completions in Ballyfermot-Drimnagh, the CSO said. More than three quarters

However, seven out of eight regions — the southwest, mideast, Midwest, and the Midlands — saw an increase in housing output over the period. Only the southeast, where completions fell 9.2 per cent in the year to the end of June, registered a decline.

Property Industry Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the construction industry, said the figures show the “scale of the sector’s response” to the need for housing.

“However, the new home delivery environment is becoming more challenging,” said Dr David Duffy, the group’s director. “The cost of raw materials has risen significantly, impacting the viability of future delivery. We know from the recent Census that population growth has exceeded projections. There is an urgent need to revise housing targets to take account of this, particularly in our county development plans and land zoning.”

The CSO figures chime with data from EY’s GeoDirectory Residential Buildings Report, published Thursday, which suggested both the residential and commercial construction sectors had made huge strides in their recovery from the pandemic. The report noted found that the number of buildings under construction in was 18.4 per cent higher than the corresponding period in 2021,17.4 per cent of which were located in Dublin, 14.2 per cent in Kildare and 12 per cent in Cork.

The Central Bank anticipates that some 23,500 housing units will be completed this year, 27,000 and 31,000 in 2023 and 2024. This represents a 5,000 reduction from its earlier forecast this year due to the impact of sharply rising building materials prices and labour shortages.

But BNP Paribas Real Estate expects the figure for 2022 to be closer to 28,000 — a more than 30 per cent year-on-year increase — despite a sharp contraction in construction activity in June.

“The main forecasting bodies have a relatively poor record forecasting housing completions, even at short forecast horizons,” said John McCartney, director and head of research and BNP Paribas Real Estate, adding that the Central Bank’s forecast is “too pessimistic”. He said the latest CSO figures support this conclusion and that with 13,316 dwellings delivered in the first six months of 2022, the sector is “well on course for 28,000 completions in 2022″.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times