Residential construction has increased by 36% year-on-year, according to the latest edition of GeoView published today by GeoDirectory, but construction in Co Leitrim remains the lowest in the country.
A total of 5,966 buildings were classified as being under construction in the GeoDirectory database in June 2017, compared with the June 2016 figure of 4,375. Dublin continues to account for the bulk of new construction activity, at just under 25% of all buildings under construction. There was a total of 16 buildings under construction in Leitrim, the lowest of any county in the country.
The database found that there was a total of 1,967,698 residential dwellings across the country in June 2017. By cross referencing data from the 2016 CSO Census of Population, the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and the GeoDirectory Database, the GeoView report offers new, unique insights into the residential housing density, turnover and construction levels and the housing shortage across the country.
One of the reasons for the sharp increase in construction is the low number of vacant properties in the market. In the GeoView report, a property is considered vacant if it falls into one of the following groups:
- The dwelling is vacant and ready to be inhabited, based on whether the property does or does not receive post;
- The dwelling is vacant and requires a small amount of cosmetic/repair work to make it habitable; and
- The dwelling is not a holiday home.
GeoDirectory report an estimated vacant stock of 96,243 (4.9% of the total stock) address points or dwellings in June 2017, while the 2016 Census reported a vacant stock of 183,312 (12.3%) dwellings, as of April 2016. The 2016 Census enumerators, in identifying vacant dwellings, were instructed to look for signs that the dwelling was not occupied e.g. no furniture, no cars outside, junk mail accumulating or overgrown garden, and to find out from neighbours whether it was vacant or not. It was not sufficient to classify a dwelling as vacant after one or two visits.
Dublin (0.89% of the Dublin total stock) and the surrounding counties of Kildare (1.99%), Meath (3.35%), Wicklow (2.65%) and Louth (3.61%) had the lowest percentages of vacant units by county in the State. The other end of the scale is dominated by counties in the west of Ireland, namely Leitrim (16.61%), Roscommon (13.88%) and Mayo (13.06%).
The gulf between the housing market in Dublin and the rest of the country can be seen clearly when the average national property price is examined. The national average house price for the year was €250,188, an increase of almost €23,739 since last year. When Dublin is removed from the figures, the national average property price falls to €175,782.
Longford, where the property market has been one of the poorest performers recorded the lowest average price of €92,084. The average property price in Leitrim was €98,241 an increase of €11,900 since the June 2016.
An analysis of dwellings per 1,000 of the population, shows a further example of the urban / rural divide that currently exists in Ireland. Counties on the west coast of Ireland recorded the greatest concentration of dwellings per 1,000 of the population, particularly Leitrim (552), which had the lowest average household size in the country (2.3 persons per household). In contrast, Meath had only 353 dwellings per 1,000 of the population, while it had the largest average household size (3 persons per household).