New home builds rise 77% in 2017, Goodbody Stockbrokers finds

Official figures still ‘significantly overstating’ level of such construction in State

The construction of new homes increased to about 11,000, figures suggest. Photograph: Alan Betson

The construction of new homes in Ireland grew rapidly in 2017, with latest figures from Goodbody Stockbrokers indicating that construction rates are up by 77 per cent to about 11,000 a year.

However, it is nonetheless significantly lower than official figures, which indicate that more than 19,000 houses were built during the year based on electricity connections. Several commentators, including Goodbody, believe that these figures “significantly overstate” the level of new builds in Ireland.

Figures from Goodbody are based on homes issued with a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate, and show that 9,513 new homes were issued with a BER certificate last year, while a further 1,000-1,500 were not.

While housing construction grew strongly across the country last year, Goodbody figures show that more than half (51 per cent) was in Dublin, with a further 22 per cent completed in the surrounding counties of Wicklow, Meath and Kildare.


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Semi-detached houses continue to be the most popular type of unit built in Ireland, accounting for 39 per cent of the total. Detached units accounted for a further 20 per cent of the units built, while apartments accounted for 16 per cent of the total. In Dublin however, apartments were the most popular type of new build, with 1,477 units, or 31 per cent of the total accounted, while just 5 per cent of apartments built in 2017 were located outside of the capital.

“This reflects the higher cost of building in this sector and the fact that it is uneconomical in the vast majority of the country to build apartments given current sales prices,” Dermot O’Leary, economist with Goodbody Stockbrokers said, although he added that new guidelines to reduce construction costs, due to be implemented this year, “are designed to help redress this balance”.

Despite the recent advances, Mr O’Leary said that housing output will still need to increase three-fold to meet demand, which is running at about 35,000 a year. While new players such as Cairn and Glenveagh are expected to grow their output significantly over the coming years, they will still only represent about 10 per cent of estimated demand. As such, other players, such as the State, will need to “ ramp up output” in the coming years.

Last week Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy announced an Affordable Purchase Scheme, which will see the State use State land to build thousands of affordable homes.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times