Housing targets at risk as new home completions fall

CSO figures show output fell by more than 12 per cent in first three months of 2024, which endangers Government’s aims

New home completions fell by more than 12 per cent in the first quarter, putting the Government’s housing targets for 2024 at risk.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said there were 5,841 new dwelling completions during January, February and March, a fall of 12.1 per cent on the same three months of 2023.

The figures appear to reflect a slowdown in residential activity in the early part of the year detailed in other construction barometers.

The BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland construction purchasing managers’ index for residential activity rose to 49.8 in February but a measure under 50 denotes a contraction in activity.


At the time, the head of research at BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland, John McCartney, said the rapid rise in home completions could “stall a bit in 2024″ putting the Government’s target for the year “at risk”.

Responding to the latest numbers, Mr McCartney said it was going to be challenging for the Government to meet its (current) target of 33,450 this year. The number of units under construction fell by about 18 per cent between the second quarter of 2022 and the end of 2023 “as we finished out homes faster than we started new ones,” he said.

“The good news is commencements have been very strong in the opening months of this year, which should propel completions higher in 2025,” he said.

New home completions hit a post-Celtic Tiger era record of 32,695 last year, which was ahead of the Government’s Housing for All target. The strategy targets 36,100 units in 2025 and 36,900 in 2026.

The latest CSO figures show apartment completions were down by a third (32.6 per cent) at 1,603, reflecting the impact of higher interest rates on investment funds, which have been behind much of the apartment build in Dublin and other urban areas.

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The figures showed there were 3,038 scheme dwelling completions in the first quarter, down 1.4 per cent on the corresponding period last year, while the number of single-unit dwellings completed was 1,200, up 1.3 per cent.

More than half of completions (52 per cent) for the quarter were scheme dwellings, while 27.4 per cent were apartments, and 20.6 per cent were single dwellings.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times