Irish Examiner

New-build starts down 62%, survey reveals

There has been a “sluggish” start to the year for the residential construction sector, according to a new survey.

The latest edition of the National Housing Construction Index — published by independent planning research company Link2Plans — shows a healthy enough picture for planning applications; with an increase being seen in 18 counties, but actual build commencements have fallen dramatically.

The first quarter of the year saw a 9% year-on-year jump in planning applications for residential builds, but a staggering 62% annualised drop in actual project commencements.

“Commencements are down in every county, when compared to the same period last year. However, as noted at the time, 2014 was an exceptional year due to regulatory changes,” said Link2Plans managing director Danny O’Shea.

“The introduction of changes to the building regulations, in March 2014, caused an unprecedented surge in commencements, which was akin to a one-off stimulus boost. In fact, commencements for the first two months of 2015 were up over 3% on the same period in 2013, which probably gives a more accurate picture of the steady but slow growth in the sector.”

The level of growth in planning applications is a positive sign for the sector’s growth, he added.

“With 18 counties recording a rise in the number of planning applications, when compared to the same period in 2014, it reveals that confidence in the residential construction sector has remained strong, despite the fall in commencements,” said Mr O’Shea.

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