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Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Building Momentum

Which county has the highest level of new house building?

No, it’s not Dublin.

NEW FIGURES FROM the National Housing Construction index show that house construction around the country has climbed by 66% so far this year, with Westmeath leading the way with a 189% increase.

The county is coming off a relatively low base however, with just 19 commencements in site activity during the same period last year. Construction has started at 55 sites this year.

The same is true for Sligo and Monaghan, which have clocked jumps of 114% and 138% respectively, although there are only 171 new projects underway between the two counties.

Cork is the stand-out performer among larger counties, with a total of 512 project commencements so far this year, an increase of 112% on last year.

Commencements Link2Plans Link2Plans

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Dublin has predictably seen the largest gross increase, with 916 commencements compared to 593 last year for an increase of 63%.

At the far end of the table, no county has seen a decrease in commencements, but Roscommon is treading water, with its 49 commencements exactly matching last year’s activity.

Cavan, Wicklow and Louth all recorded increases of less than 20%.

The housing index is compiled by consultancy Link2Plans. Managing director Danny O’Shea said that the increase “bodes well for the construction sector in the short to medium term”.

The rate of increase has slowed slightly since the beginning of the year, he pointed out, but said that the increase in the number of sites starting construction is nonetheless “incredibly positive”.


A recent study by the ESRI found that the country needs an additional 90,000 housing units by 2021. Despite the increase in commencements, O’Shea said that the current level of building activity still won’t be enough to hit that target.

“[The figures] are still relatively modest in the overall context of the level of constructoin activity required to meet the recent ESRI forecasts for housing requirements.”

Based on the current level of building activity, there would be a significant shortfall in the estimated 90,000 units required.


Planning applications lodged with local authorities also showed an increase on last year, although they did not keep pace with the gains shown in commencements.

Overall the number was up 19%, with the increase most marked in Dublin, where there were 63% more applications lodged that in the middle of 2013.

PlanningApps Link2Plans Link2Plans

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Read: Construction might be slow but a flood of new orders means it won’t be for long>

Read: Dublin is facing ‘a significant housing shortage’ – ESRI>

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