House
construction continues to decline

House construction in Longford has dropped significantly over the last 12 months, according to figures released by Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Only 38 houses were started in the county in the 12 month period up to March 2012. This represented a decrease on the previous 12 months when 45 houses were started in the period leading up to March 2011. There was a drop of seven houses between the two periods.

House construction in Longford has dropped significantly over the last 12 months, according to figures released by Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Only 38 houses were started in the county in the 12 month period up to March 2012. This represented a decrease on the previous 12 months when 45 houses were started in the period leading up to March 2011. There was a drop of seven houses between the two periods.

There was some better news for the first quarter of this year with 10 houses having commenced in Longford, which represents an increase on the figures for 2011 when 4 houses were commenced.

In the same period there was an increase in the number of house completions with 25 units being completed in Longford in the first quarter, compared to 19 during the same period in 2011. This resulted in an increase of 32 percent in the year on year comparison

Speaking about the statistics, CIF Director Hubert Fitzpatrick said, “The latest statistics reveal that the level of new house building activity remains low, which points to a further decline in output for 2012 in Longford. Given the downturn in the house building activity nationally that is not a surprise.

“Most of the houses being built or which were recently completed in Longford are one-off units. Since the economic downturn began this has become more common practice, with most house building activity nationally being based on one off units.

“Based on the statistics for Longford and the rest of the country, the CIF believes that there will now only be a total of 7,500 – 8,000 house unit completions this year. This would mark another significant drop in activity.”

He added: “Between Census 2006 and Census 2011, the number of households increased by 205,700 households, or around 41,140 nationally per annum over the five year period. Taking into account demographics and the rate of new household formation, CIF estimates that the sustainable demand for new homes will be 25,000 units annually. This main emphasis on demand will be in the greater metropolitan areas as soon as confidence is restored and an active mortgage market exists.”

Meanwhile the National Housing Construction Index complied and issued by Link2Plans (www.link2plans.com) shows a continued drop in construction activity across Ireland - yet according to its statistics Longford bucks the trend with increases in both Planning Applications and Planning Commencements. This variation to the CIF figures is due to different time periods under analysis.

Researchers at www.link2plans.com have produced the National Housing Construction Index which examines every housing construction Planning Applications and Planning Commencements throughout the months of January through to April 2012. The Index gives a direct comparison with the exact same period in 2011.

The research shows that from January to April 2012, 30 planning applications were submitted in Longford. This compares to 29 in 2011 resulting in a marginal increase of 3 percent. The same period saw a 56 per cent increase in the number of Commencement Notices issued in Longford from 9 to 14, the largest increase nationwide.

The Index shows a significant variation from county to county, while at the same time clearly demonstrating the overall national trend in housing construction activity.

According to Managing Director of Link2Plans, Danny O’Shea “statistics in the construction sector have traditionally been historical data; however what we do with Link2Plans research is to clearly show current patterns of activity, broken down into every county in Ireland. People using our services want to know where the construction activity is, in real time. This National Housing Construction Index therefore provides this information in a reliable yet understandable format.

“When we examine planning applications across every county, effectively we are taking the sentiment of the housing construction activity at any given time. New planning applications are therefore what we would describe as a real time barometer to sentiment in the sector. Correspondingly, housing commencement notices, that we collate, are a real time count of actual, on the ground activity in the housing construction sector, which includes multi-unit residential developments, one-off housing (self-build) and one-off housing extensions.”