Lockdown causes home-building to collapse in first three months of the year

CSO figures show volume of production in construction fell 21% in first quarter of this year from the same period in 2020

The Republic needs to build 35,000 new homes a year to tackle its housing crisis that has dragged on for almost a decade. Photograph: iStock

The Republic needs to build 35,000 new homes a year to tackle its housing crisis that has dragged on for almost a decade. Photograph: iStock

 

Home-building collapsed in the first three months of the year when the Government shut down much of the construction industry, official figures show.

Some estimates predict that just 16,000 new homes will be completed in the Republic this year following a lockdown that halted private residential building until April.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said on Wednesday that in the first quarter of the year new home-building volumes fell 52.1 per cent on the same period in 2020.

“In quarter one 2020 construction sites remained open until late March – by contrast non-essential construction sites were closed in early quarter one 2021,” said the CSO.

Residential building was the worst hit of the industry’s key sectors, said the State’s statisticians.

The Republic needs to build 35,000 new homes a year to tackle a housing crisis that has dragged on for almost a decade.

Builders completed more than 20,000 in 2020 despite a spring lockdown which halted construction.

Overall the CSO figures show that the volume of production in construction fell by 21 per cent in the first quarter of this year from the same period in 2020.

Non-residential construction was down 12.6 per cent and civil engineering, which covers State-funded infrastructure projects, fell 28.5 per cent.

The lockdown included private residential and commercial construction, including offices, but projects including public housing and data centres proceeded.