New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that a total of 4,986 new homes were completed in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 17.2% on the same time last year.
Construction sites were closed in the latter half of March due to Covid-19 restrictions and so the impact on completions will not have fed through into the first quarter completions.
The CSO reported a 75.2% increase in apartments completed in the first three months of 2020 with apartment completions rising from 596 to 1,044.
This brings the number of apartments completed close to the level of single dwelling completions with 1,094 once off houses finished in the first quarter.
Of the 1,044 apartments completed this quarter, over 80 were in Dublin with 59.7% in Dublin City alone.
Of all home completions in Dublin, 50.5% were apartments. In Dublin City this proportion rises to 91.1%.
Meanwhile, the number of scheme dwellings (multi-unit developments with two or more houses) built rose from 2,570 at the start of 2019 to 2,848 in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 10.8%.
Single dwellings completed remained fairly static, raising just 0.6% from 1,088 to 1,094.
The CSO noted that scheme dwellings made up 57.1% of all new home completions in three months to March while 22% were single dwellings and 20.9% were apartments. This compares to 60.4% scheme, 25.6% single and 14.0% apartments the same time last years.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week announced that lockdown restrictions will largely remain unchanged up to May 18, but after than construction sites will begin to reopen.
Goodbody economist Dermot O’Leary said that Ireland has lagged other countries in terms of the reopening of sites.
“Data published by the European Construction Industry Federation states that 92% of activity in Ireland was completely stopped at mid-April. This compares to 90% of construction running in Sweden,” he said.
“Ireland has definitely taken the cautious approach in its lockdown measures and we expect developers will have to meet stringent requirements before sites are reopened,” he added.
Dermot O’Leary said he expects home completions to fall substantially.
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