2016 saw 2,076 homes built despite the estimate from the Government that it was close to 15,000. Of this, just 848 were estate houses and apartments. The Government had reported this figure to be 8,729 when self-builds were taken out. 68 homes and apartments were completed in Dublin city. Offaly had 9 new homes yet the Government had reported 44. South Dublin had just 69 homes built but the Government had reported 387. The figures come from the Building Control Management System. The Department of Housing using the ESB metering as the basis for their figures which is where the discrepancy comes from. Leitrim had 0 homes built vs an official total of 48.
Property prices grew at their fastest in 10 years during Q1 with the average prices rising by 0.9%. The growth was reported as ‘unseasonably sharp’ with predictions that inflation for houses will rise to 10% in 2017. National house prices are 31.5% off their highest level during 2007. The IMF has warned that the Help-To-Buy scheme put in place in 2016 was likely to increase demand for housing.
The Central Bank has denied that Ireland is heading for a housing bubble. Philip Lane, the Governor, believes that their mortgages restrictions had already helped by putting ‘self-corrected brakes’ on the market that would stop prices rising ‘persistently’. An analysis of mortgage measures are to be reviewed annually in November by the Central Bank.
The 2017 Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland/PwC Construction Industry survey show that 73% of companies within the construction industry are finding it hard to recruit workers with specific skill sets such as plumbers and plasterers, quantity surveyors and engineers. Reasons are emigration and high wages expectations. Whilst 90% believe that more homes will be built during the year, the high construction costs were a serious inhibitor to same.
The CSO released a housing report (based on the 2016 Census) showing that:
67.6% of people own their home which is the lowest level of ownership since 1971.
First-Time buyers are now aged 35 years vs 28 years in 2006.
There are 183,312 vacant homes in the State and that just 33,436 homes were built over a 5 year period between 2011 – 2016. When compared with the previous 5 year period of 2006 – 2011, this represents a 92% decrease. There are now 421 dwellings per 1,000 people in the State, compared with 435 per 1,000 people in 2011. Three towns showed vacancy rates of at least 43% - Blacklion in Cavan, Keshcarrigan in Leitrim and Kilgarvan in Kerry. In larger towns the highest vacancy rates were in Letterkenny at 14.9%, Longford at 14.6% and Ballina at 14.3%.
There were increases in the output, new orders and employment within the construction industry leading it to report a PMI of 61.3 – a 6 month high. Civil Engineering enjoyed its first expansion since September, with commercial activity and residential construction subsector also posting increases.
Hays Ireland recruitment firm reported a 60% rise in the amount of staff hired for the construction sector in Q1 compared with the same quarter in 2016.