Housing commencements hit new post-boom record in January

3,357 new homes under construction will raise hopes that Housing for All targets this year can be achieved

Housing commencements, one of the strongest indicators of future housing supply, continued on an upward trajectory in January, according to the Department of Housing.

Commencement notices for the construction of 3,357 new homes were received by the Building Control Management System (BCMS) last month. This was an increase of 59 per cent on the number of new homes commenced in the same month last year (2,108 units) and the highest number of units commenced in January since records began in 2015 and since the Celtic Tiger era, the department said.

The figures will raise hopes the Government’s Housing for All target of building 33,000 new homes this year can be achieved. The continued pickup in commencements has been facilitated by Government initiatives including the Help to Buy scheme, the First Home Scheme and the Central Bank’s relaxation of mortgage rules, which have supported new homes prices.

A commencement notice is a notification to a building control authority that a party intends to carry out the construction of new home or a material change of use to which the building regulations apply. The notice must be given to the authority not more than 28 days and not less than 14 days before the commencement of works.


“The strong uptick in commencements has continued into 2024 with an increase of 6 per cent on December 2023 figure. These figures indicate that supply, which is key to addressing our housing needs, continues to increase and that a robust stock of new housing is in the pipeline,” the department said.

Of the 3,357 units commenced in January, 41 per cent were scheme dwellings, 52 per cent were apartments and 8 per cent were for one-off units. Homebuilding across the State rose to a 15-year high of nearly 33,000 in 2023.

Recent Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show new dwelling completions totalled 32,695 last year, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year. This was the highest level of residential construction seen in the Republic since the 2000s. It was also ahead of the Government’s Housing for All target of 29,000 units for 2023.

However, it is unclear if the Government’s 9,100 social homes and 3,500 affordable homes targets for 2023 were achieved as the figures are still being compiled.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times