House-building bounces back with completions at pre-Covid levels

More than 5,000 new dwelling completions recorded in Q2, CSO figures show

Housing construction in Ireland rebounded in the second quarter of the year, with new dwelling completions reaching pre-Covid levels, new data from the Central Statistics Office showed.

More than 5,000 new dwelling completions were recorded in the second quarter of the year as restrictions on the construction industry were lifted and building resumed. Apartments accounted for more than a quarter of that figure, with 1,333 apartment completions in the three-month period. More than 68 per cent were in Dublin.

Although the total completions were 55.5 per cent higher than in the second quarter of 2020, pandemic restrictions skews those figures. Compared with the same period in 2019, total completions were up 4.6 per cent.

Scheme dwellings – houses in a multi-unit development of two or more houses – and single dwellings rose 38.2 per cent and 32.4 per cent respectively from the same period last year, but were down 10.1 per cent and 12.6 per cent on 2019 figures.


"The recovery of the construction sector following the relaxation of restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic can be seen in the new dwelling completions this quarter," CSO statistician Justin Anderson said.

“Of all completions in quarter two 2021, 50.6 per cent are scheme, 26.5 per cent are apartments and 22.9 per cent are single dwellings. This is the first quarter since the series began in 2011 where more than a quarter of completions have been apartments.”

The local electoral area of Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart in Dublin had the most completions at 185 in the second quarter of the year, with all 166 LEAs having at least one completion during the three-month period.

‘Surge in commencements’

Goodbody’s Dermot O’Leary said the data confirmed the post-lockdown rebound in housing construction in Ireland.

“In [the first half] overall, completions were effectively flat on 2019 levels suggesting that the pandemic merely stalled the upward trend in new housing supply in Ireland rather than reversing it,” he said.

“ Indeed, as we pointed out earlier this week, there has been a surge in housing commencements since the Irish construction sector reopened in April. Housing commencements grew by 250 per cent relative to the same period in 2019 in April and May. This suggests that the upward trend in completions will recommence in the coming quarters.”

He also noted the shift in in the composition of supply, particularly with the surge in apartment construction.

“The build-to-rent sector is crucial to this trend and explains why the Government wisely rowed back on reported plans to restrict investor interest in the space,” he said.

“While these units are destined for the rental sector, there remains a severe shortage of rental accommodation and their construction should free up supply elsewhere in the system.”

The Government has come under fire over the number of apartment complexes or starter-home estates, being bought outright by institutional investors for the rental market, which is seen as making it more difficult for young people to buy.

The Government was set to publish its 10-year housing plan this week, but it has been delayed for several weeks amid concerns that it was being rushed. The Housing for All publication will determine the State’s housing policy and plans until 2030.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist