Westmeath suffers largest decline in project commencements nationwide for 2013

The latest edition of the National Housing Construction Index compiled and issued by Link2Plans (www.link2plans.com ) shows a decline for Westmeath in both planning applications and project commencements at -7 per cent and -38 per cent respectively.

The team of researchers at www.link2plans.com have examined every housing construction planning application and planning commencement from January to December 2013, in the production of the National Housing Construction Index. The index gives a direct comparison with the exact same period in 2012. Viewed on a nationwide basis, the National Housing Construction Index reveals there is a very slight decrease in planning applications (-1 per cent ) coupled with a drop in project commencements (-4 per cent ) since last year.

Westmeath has recorded a decline in applications with a fall of -7 per cent since last year. Applications made in Westmeath fell from 183 in January to December 2012, to 171 in the same period in 2013. Compared to a decrease of –26 per cent in applications in 2012, this is a significant improvement. Counties which showed a major shift in performance since last year are: Leitrim which went from +/- 0 per cent in 2012 to -37 per cent in 2013, Clare which went from -32 per cent in 2012 to -2 per cent in 2013 and Donegal which went from +20 per cent in 2012 to -10 per cent in 2013. Kildare had the most positive reversal in performance since last year, going from -34 per cent in 2012 to +11 per cent in 2013.

Westmeath recorded the largest drop in project commencements for the entire country, with a fall of -30 per cent in 2013. Commencement increases were seen in only eight counties, with Roscommon performing the best with a +45 per cent increase in the number of commencements compared to the same period for 2012. Nationally, last year commencements were down -8 per cent and with a -4 per cent decrease this year, so improvements can be seen.

According to the managing director of Link2Plans, Danny O’Shea, “The National Housing Construction Index shows a very dramatic slowdown in project commencements for Westmeath. The slight decline overall in the National Housing Construction Index for project applications and commencements was further evidence that the construction sector in Ireland is stabilising. Also of note is the introduction of the new building regulations which has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of planning commencements, in order to get started on projects before the more onerous building regulations come into force.”

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