New home completions rose 45% to almost 30,000 last year

CSO figures point to big uptick in residential construction despite higher costs

Figures from the CSO show new dwelling completions totalled 29,851 in 2022, an increase of 45 per cent on the previous year. Photograph: iStock

New home completions rose to almost 30,000 last year despite increases in the cost of building. Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show new dwelling completions totalled 29,851 in 2022, an increase of 45 per cent on the previous year.

This was the highest level of residential construction seen in the State since the Celtic Tiger era and was significantly ahead of the Government’s Housing for All target of 24,600 units for 2022.

However, the full-year total was still short of the estimated level of demand in the market, typically put at 35,000. The figures also come as a report by the Housing Commission, details of which were published in The Irish Times, suggests the State may need up to 62,000 homes built per year until 2050 to meet demand.

Nonetheless the latest figures represent a significant uptick on the level of construction seen in recent years albeit it should noted that construction activity in 2020 and 2021 was severely disrupted by health restrictions related to Covid-19.

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New home completions in the final quarter of last year totalled 9,148, a rise of over 31 per cent on the same period in 2021.

The full-year total was boosted by a major increase in apartment completions, which rose by 79 per cent to 9,166. This was more than the number of apartments completed in 2020 and 2021 combined.

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There were 15,163 scheme dwelling completions in 2022, up 42 per cent from 2021, while 5,522 single dwellings were completed, a rise of almost 17 per cent.

Just over 50 per cent of the completions last year were scheme dwellings, a further 30.7 per cent were apartments and 18.5 per cent were single dwellings.

A geographical breakdown of the figures shows almost 60 per cent of completions in 2022 were in Dublin or the Mid-East (Kildare, Louth, Meath, and Wicklow). However, the CSO noted that all regions saw an increase from 2021 to 2022. On the basis of local electoral area, the most completions in 2022 were in the Killiney-Shankhill area of south Dublin.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien welcomed the latest figures, noting they represented the highest annual home-building total since the CSO data series began in 2011.

“Today’s figures shows supply is increasing and that we are going in the right direction. The Government has met and exceeded its overall housing target for the first year of Housing for All and it is encouraging to see the highest level of housing delivery in over a decade despite unforeseen challenges like high construction cost inflation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Whilst today’s news is positive, the Government recognises that we need to continue ramping up supply and to meet even higher targets,” he said.

The Government’s projected target for 2023 is 29,000. While analysts believe that level is achievable because of the units currently in the pipeline, there is concern the rapid increase in construction costs pose a risk to the Government’s targets after that. The surge in construction inflation has coincided with a significant fall-off in housing commencements.

“Housing completions took a big bounce in Ireland in the final quarter of 2022, leaving the full-year outturn ahead of our latest forecasts,” Goodbody economist Dermot O’Leary said. “The well-documented challenges to supply in the Irish market will still weigh on supply despite the small boost,” he said.

Director of Property Industry Ireland David Duffy said: “Despite the challenging environment for viability, the growth in new home delivery in 2022 by the homebuilding sector represents a significant upscaling of output by the sector, exceeding the Housing for All target for the year by just over 21 per cent.”

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times