Apartment planning permissions up by a third

Total number of units granted permission down in first quarter due to significant fall in permissions sought for houses

Planning permission for apartments shot up by almost 33 per cent in the first quarter, although a significant fall in permissions for houses caused the total number of properties getting the green light to be lower than the first quarter of 2018.

In the first three months of the year planning permissions were granted for 7,493 homes, down from 7,766 a year earlier representing a 3.5 per cent fall, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.

The fall is accounted for in few permissions being granted for houses with 4,901 approved in the period, down 15.7 per cent.

Apartment planning permissions rose significantly, albeit from a lower base, with 2,592 apartments approved in the three months to the end of March.


Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons noted that on an annualised basis, this will amount to more than 10,000 apartments. "All in, we probably need to be building two or three times that," he told The Irish Times.

“As the country ages we’ll need a lot more apartment stock,” he added, noting that apartments come in many formats, including student accommodation and co-living.

Of all the new properties approved in the period, one-off houses accounted for 19.4 per cent. “They’re certainly not a bad thing in terms of meeting demand but they’re not particularly helpful when you think about the need of the country to urbanise,” Mr Lyons said of one-off housing, suggesting that they are primarily built in rural areas.

The volume of permissions in the eastern and midland region was highest at 3,041. Dwellings accounted for just 620 of these permissions, however, with extensions accounting for 944 permissions and conversions and alterations accounting for 479 of the total. The midland region, including Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath, had the lowest volume of permissions.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business