Number of Galway house starts grows

The number of new houses being built in Galway has grown in the first five months of 2013, according to new statistics released by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF ). According to the latest CIF Housing Statistics Bulletin, there has been a 38 per cent increase in new house starts, with 184 units being started this year compared to 133 during the same period in 2012. This represents an increase of 51 units.

The Galway experience was replicated in most of the other major urban areas around the country with an increase in house building also taking place in Dublin and Cork. Overall the number of new unit starts around the country increased by 0.4 per cent to 1,665 from 1,659 during the same period in 2012.

Of the new units started in Galway, 163 were in Galway County, up 29 per cent from 2012 levels and 21 were in Galway City, up 200 per cent from last year when only seven were started. Of the new houses, 7 per cent or 12 units were part of multiple unit developments, with the rest being one off builds. During the same period last year one offs houses represented 98% of the house building activity in Galway and only two per cent were multiple units.

There was less positive news on the number of house completions with the number matching last year’s figures. A total of 214 houses have been finished in Galway so far this year. The breakdown of house completions saw 170 built in Galway County and 44 in Galway City. During the January to May 2012 period 206 of the units were built in Galway County and eight in Galway City.

Speaking about the housing statistics, CIF Director of Housing, Hubert Fitzpatrick said, “These latest statistics for Galway are further evidence of the trend in house building that is taking place around the country. What we are seeing is in most urban centres the supply is falling and this is creating a strong demand for new housing stock, prompting work to begin on new housing units. We would expect to see the growth in new house starts continue in Dublin, Galway, Cork and certain other counties, particularly in some of the areas surrounding Dublin.

“What is also noticeable is that the number of housing schemes is on the increase. We have seen an increase in Galway and on a national basis during the first five months of 2013 multiple units made up 26 per cent of the total starts, compared to 20 per cent in 2012. This emphasises that more sustained house building starting to take place, as opposed to recent years whereby one off housing has been the only real source of activity.

“The house completions figures are not surprising as we do expect there to be a further decline in finished units built this year from the 8,488 built in 2012. With the number of housing starts slowly picking up and the declining level of vacant stock around the country, our expectation is that 2013 will mark the low point of house completions. However future supply continues to be constrained by the shortage of development finance and the high costs of construction. Availability of mortgage finance will also play a major role in determining how the market proceeds from this point,” Mr Fitzpatrick concluded.

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