Housebuilding just over half level needed to meet demand, CIF warns

Industry body expects 18,000 new homes to be completed this year

CIF director general Tom Parlon called on the Government to do “everything in its power” to help increase supply. Photograph: Eric Luke

CIF director general Tom Parlon called on the Government to do “everything in its power” to help increase supply. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The number of houses built in the State this year will be just over half of that required annually to meet demand, the construction industry has warned.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) suggested last month that housing demand in the economy was now in the region of 30,000-35,000 units a year, up from its previous estimate of 25,000.

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said on Thursday that it expected just 18,000 new homes to be completed this year, with the figure expected to increase to about 20,000 units in 2018.

This compares with 12,666 units in 2015, representing an overall increase of 42 per cent between 2015 and 2017.

CIF director general Tom Parlon called on the Government to do “everything in its power” to help the industry increase supply in a “sustainable fashion”.

“The help-to-buy scheme is part of the solution and is having a positive impact on the ability of first time buyers to purchase a new home,” he said. “There’s a noticeable increase in the percentage of starter homes being constructed and subsequently purchased compared to one year ago.”

Mr Parlon said housebuilding outside Dublin was often not viable as many builders cannot gain access to finance at the right terms.

Commencements

The CIF said there had been an increase of 37.6 per cent during the first quarter of the year in terms of overall commencements. The total commencement figure for 2016 was 13,234.

It said a total of 3,860 residential units were commenced in the three-month period from January to March 2017. These figures represent an increase of 33 per cent (958 units) on the total number of units commenced during the same period in 2016.

Individual housing units represent just 26.7 per cent of total commencements during the period, and increased by 33.7 per cent on the same period in 2016.

The CIF said some of the largest increases in overall commencement numbers were in counties Kildare (236 per cent); Louth (163.6 per cent); Meath (166.5 per cent); Wexford (172.7 per cent); Dublin city (49.3 per cent); and south county Dublin (83.4 per cent).

In total, some 3,896 residential units were completed in the quarter, representing a 23.9 per cent increase in activity on the same period in 2016 and a 19 per cent increase on the rolling 12-month period to the end of March 2017. The average monthly completion figure currently stands at 1,298 units.