Covid-19 having impact on housing supply

Express Reporter

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Covid-19 having impact on housing supply

The number of new residential address points added to the GeoDirectory database in Laois in the twelve months to June 2020 was 271 according to the latest GeoView Residential Buildings Report released by GeoDirectory and EY-DKM.

It also shows that 316 residential buildings were under construction in Laois in June 2020.

13,661 residential buildings were listed as under construction in Ireland in June 2020, a 3.2% drop compared to the previous year when 14,107 buildings were under construction.

Residential construction work was particularly weak in the Midlands and North-West of the country, with the lowest levels recorded in Leitrim (0.1% of national total), Longford (0.6%), Offaly (0.7%) and Sligo (0.7%).

There were 646 residential property transactions in Laois in the twelve months to May 2020, of which 10.5% were new builds.

In Laois, the average house price was €184,056.

The average vacancy rate in Laois was 3.8%, lower than the national average of 4.5%.

Nationally, the number of new address points fell by 32.9% year-on-year in the twelve months to June 2020, the first indication of the impact that Covid-19 has had on residential housing supply in Ireland. In total, 16,617 new address points were recorded, with over half (50.5%) located in the Greater Dublin Area of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

Dublin continues to be the driving force in terms of residential housing supply, with 30.2% of all new address points found in the capital. This was significantly higher than the total percentage of additions in Munster (21.4%), Connacht (10.7%) and Ulster (4.1%).

Leitrim (46), Roscommon (116) and Longford (123) were the counties with the fewest new additions to the database.

Dublin recorded the highest proportion of residential construction activity in the country at 20.5%. However, activity is down 9.6 percentage points (ppts) on June 2019 levels.

In Ireland, there were 41,363 residential property transactions in total over the same time period, of which 18.8% were new dwellings. In terms of transactions, this represents a drop of 7.6% on the corresponding figure in 2019. A reduction in property transactions was recorded in 24 out of 26 counties in the State.

13,008 residential property transactions took place in Dublin, which was 1,633 fewer than the previous year. The lowest volume of transactions took place in Monaghan (268), Leitrim (307) and Longford (325).

Nationally, the average house price increased by €3,643 (1.2%) to €296,758 in the twelve months to May 2020. When Dublin is excluded, the national average house price stands at €230,492.

Only three counties recorded average residential property prices above the State average. These were Dublin (€441,205), Wicklow (€369,057) and Kildare (€314,046). The lowest average house prices were recorded in the rural counties of Leitrim (€118,241), Longford (€128,615) and Roscommon (€130,860).

Vacancy rates declined in 25 out of 26 counties in the State, with Dublin posting a slight increase of 0.1ppt. However, Dublin remains the county with the lowest residential vacancy rate in the country at 1.3%, followed by Kildare (2.0%) and Wicklow (2.9%).

In contrast to the low vacancy rates of the Greater Dublin Area, there is a different picture in the west of the country, with the three highest vacancy rates all found in Connacht. Despite recording a 0.6ppt drop, Leitrim has the highest vacancy rate in the country at 14.6%, followed by Roscommon (12.6%) and Mayo (12.5%).

Commenting on the latest GeoView Residential Building Report, Dara Keogh, Chief Executive, GeoDirectory said Covid-19 is having an impact.

“This report shows the impact that Covid-19 has had on housing supply in under six months. For the first time in several years, we have seen a drop in the number of new address points added to the GeoDirectory and a fall in construction activity compared to the previous year. Residential property transactions have also declined across the country.

“Time will tell whether this is just a temporary stalling of supply and demand, or if it is evidence of a long-term change.”

Annette Hughes, Director of EY-DKM Economic Advisory Services said figures for the summer months will tell the full story.

“While additions to the housing stock and construction activity have fallen over the past twelve months, it should also be noted that the majority of new housing stock and building activity is primarily located in Leinster and the Greater Dublin Area in particular.

“This may change in future depending on employment trends such as working from home. The national average house price increased by 1.2% in the twelve months to May 2020, a much slower rate than for the same period in 2019 (+5.8%).

“However, it is important to acknowledge the lag between a property going sale agreed and the execution of the associated contract, means that the figures reported for July and August will more fully capture any Covid-19 impacts on prices,” she said.

GeoDirectory was jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) to create and manage a database of commercial and residential buildings.