Irish property industry concerned by fall in apartment planning permissions

Approvals for all dwelling units dropped 28% in first quarter of 2024, CSO data shows

The number of units granted planning permission fell to 8,387 in the first quarter of 2024, down from 11,659 in the same quarter a year earlier. Photograph: iStock

A slowdown in planning permissions for apartments highlights “the significant viability and funding challenges” involved in constructing this type of home, Property Industry Ireland has warned.

The comment follows new data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showing the number of all dwelling units granted planning permission fell 28 per cent in the first quarter of 2024.

The number of units approved fell to 8,387, down from 11,659 units in the first quarter of 2023. The number of houses granted planning permission fell by more than 20 per cent year-on-year to 4,899, while apartment approvals declined by 36.7 per cent to 3,488.

In Dublin planning permission was granted for 2,003 apartments in the first quarter, which was almost six in 10 of the total number of apartments to receive planning permission in the period. But compared to the first quarter of 2023, the tally was down almost 57 per cent.


There was an annual fall of more than 9 per cent in the number of one-off houses receiving planning permission, which fell from 1,420 units in the first quarter of 2023 to 1,288 units in the first three months of this year.

The CSO cautioned that planning permission totals can vary significantly from quarter to quarter if a large development or a number of large developments are approved within the same reference quarter. Caution should therefore be used before extrapolating long-term trends on the basis of a single quarter’s data.

However, industry representatives expressed concern.

“Today’s data show a slowdown in planning permissions across all home type. The slowdown is particularly driven by a decline in permissions for apartments, highlighting the significant viability and funding challenges to deliver this type of home,” said Dr David Duffy, director of Property Industry Ireland.

Highlighting the crucial role of supporting infrastructure such as roads, wastewater and utilities, Dr Duffy said it was important that barriers to the delivery of new homes were addressed.

Meanwhile, the new president of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers (Ipav) also called on the Government to give urgent consideration to the Housing Commission report.

“It’s more than six years since the then taoiseach described the housing situation as a ‘national emergency’. While progress has been made, major delays and blockages in planning, infrastructure, approval processes and financing remain,” said Lisa Kearney, director of Rooney Auctioneers in Limerick, speaking ahead of Ipav’s annual conference on Friday.

Ms Kearney said Ipav believed that reports that an interdepartmental group would be convened to develop policy recommendations for Government are worrying.

“That feels like more of the same. What needs to happen is that all strands of housing policy be pulled together under a decision-making entity that has full Government support.”

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics