Covid restrictions drive down production of new housing

New home completions fell slightly last year as Covid restrictions forced many construction sites to close in the spring.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that 20,433 new homes were built in the state in 2021.

That was 0.5% less than the 20,526 homes completed the previous year.

The total lags behind the actual level of demand in the market, which is estimated at 33,000-35,000 units.

However, a major recovery in housing starts should support supply over the next few years.

The latest figures show that a quarter of all completions in 2021 were apartments. Apartment completions increased by 30%, from 3,920 in 2020 to 5,107 in 2021. More than three-quarters (78%) of apartments completed in 2021 were in Dublin.

The figures come amid an influx of foreign investment into the property sector here. Most of it has been invested in the construction of apartments in urban areas such as Dublin, where high rents generate strong returns for investors.

CSO figures show that just under a third (30.3%) of housing completions in 2021 were in Dublin (6,201). The Dublin area, along with the Midlands, Midwest and South East, saw slight increases in completions from 2020 to 2021.

Last quarter

There were 7,326 home completions in the last quarter of 2021, down 5% from the same period in 2020.

Program housing (multiple units) accounted for 49% of new housing completions last quarter, with 31% apartments and 19.8% single units. This compares to 56% programs, 23% apartments and 20.7% singles in the last quarter of 2020.

Commenting on the numbers, CSO statistician Justin Anderson said: “A late rise in new home completions in the fourth quarter of 2021 brought the annual figure closer to that seen in 2020.”