CSO figures reveal housing statistics and trends in Westmeath

Westmeath's housing stock increased from 36,659 to 36,890 since April, 2011.

This is according to the Central Statistics Office's (CSO ) first thematic report from Census 2016 on housing in Ireland.

Westmeath had 31,685 permanent occupied dwellings in April 2016, compared with 30,624 in the same month in 2011. The rate of increase was 3.5 per cent, which was considerably slower than the 2006 to 2011 rate of 13.9 per cent. At State level, there were 1,697,665 permanent housing units occupied at the time of the census, an increase of 2.9 per cent (48,257 ) since April, 2011.

The number of vacant dwellings in Westmeath has fallen to 4,009. This is down from 4,921 in 2011. Of this, the number of holiday homes counted was 281. The vacancy rate has dropped from 13.4 per cent to 10.9 per cent. Nationally, there was a 15 per cent drop in the number of all vacant dwellings (including holiday homes ) from 289,451 in 2011 to 245,460 in April, 2016.

In Westmeath, some 8,971 households were in rental accommodation in 2016, compared with 8,175 in 2011. The average rent paid to private landlords was €134.10 per week, an increase on the 2011 figure of €126.20.

For the country overall, 22,323 more households were renting their accommodation compared to 2011, bringing the total renting to 497,111. Since 2011, the national average weekly rent paid to private landlords grew to €199.92. Home ownership overtakes renting in Westmeath at the age of 34.

Nationally, by the age of 35, more people own their own home than rent, compared with age 32 in 2011. Given that this age was 26 in 1991, this shows a clear long-term trend. The home ownership rate for Westmeath was 69.2 per cent, compared with 71.8 per cent in 2011.

Deirdre Cullen, senior statistician, said: "We believe this report provides a clear picture of some of the main developments in the Irish housing landscape over the past five years, including new analysis of vacant properties, such as type of dwelling and distance to the nearest town”.

The full report is available on the CSO website at www.cso.ie/en/census

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