The CSO has published their New Dwelling Completions report for Quarter 1 2018, the first of a quarterly series which includes data on new dwellings built in Ireland since 2011.
The report shows that the number of new dwellings built declined from 6,994 in 2011 to 4,575 in 2013. However, over the following four years the numbers of new dwellings built has increased steadily each year to stand at 14,446 in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 45.7%. In the first quarter of 2018 there were 3,526 new dwellings built.
Commenting on the report, Kieran Culhane, Senior Statistician, said: “There has been much debate around the reliability of data analysing the number of new dwelling completions in Ireland. The core problem has been that no single, authoritative data source exists. Those administrative data sets which are available are fragmented and tend to either over- or under-represent actual new dwelling completions in any given time period, meaning that taken in isolation, none can provide an accurate count.
“For the first time, the best available housing related data sets have been combined and linked using innovative new data analysis techniques, to produce the most comprehensive and accurate count of new dwelling completions currently available. Some limitations remain, but the CSO has identified these and is working with key stakeholders to further refine and improve the accuracy of future analysis.
“Prior to the publication of this report several datasets were available regarding new dwelling completions. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) used the ESB Networks (ESBN) domestic connections dataset to publish a proxy indicator for the number of new dwellings built.
“However, it is now accepted that this dataset overestimated housing output as it included connections which do not relate to new dwellings. Figures produced by others based on the Building Energy Rating (BER) data sets were acknowledged to underestimate the count as some self-build one-off houses do not get BERs.
“Under the auspices of the Statistics Act 1993, the CSO is in a unique position to gather and link fragmented administrative data sources and evaluate their potential for statistical use. To produce this report, the CSO linked data from ESB Network domestic connections, Building Energy Rating data sets, Revenue data sets, Geodirectory and Census of Population data. Further adjustments were required to take account of connections to the ESB Network of previously completed dwellings in Unfinished/Ghost estates.
“Our analysis found that the ESB connections dataset remains the most comprehensive available for estimating new dwelling completions. However, the CSO’s New Dwelling Completions series for 2017 shows that the number of new dwellings was 4,825 below the number of ESB connections published by DHPLG. 57% of the difference is accounted for by reconnections, 23% by previously completed dwellings in unfinished housing developments and 20% by non-dwelling connections. This breakdown will be published in the new quarterly release to facilitate analysis of housing becoming available for use.
“However, it is important to note that the CSO’s New Dwelling Completions data does not include a full range of activity in the housing sector. A significant level of construction output in the student accommodation sector in recent years is not included in this series. These are generally connected to the ESB network as commercial connections and are therefore not included in the ESB domestic connections data set. The data available on this sector is on a “bed space” basis and it is not currently possible to report on it as dwellings, which are self-contained units of living accommodation. Based on consultation with stakeholders in this sector, student accommodation may be included in future New Dwelling Completions reports as a separate category,” said Kieran.
CSO has endeavoured to accurately match the various data sets used in this report. However, to improve the quality of data available in the housing sector the CSO would make the following recommendations:
- Earlier assignment of Eircode to facilitate linking of housing datasets from the planning stage to use. Currently Eircodes are often assigned after completion of the dwelling
- Collection and storage of Eircodes across all Public Sector datasets referred to in this report and in future housing data collections, paying particular attention to effective collection methods for non-unique addresses
- Consider how enforcement of compliance with BER requirements could be further strengthened
- A continuation of dialogue with users through the DHPLG’s Housing Analytic Group (HAG) and other relevant groups. Initially to discuss student dwellings issue but a range of housing policy topics to be discussed
Kieran Culhane continued: “These recommendations will lead to better data availability for policymakers in all segments of the housing sector in Ireland. This report is an important first step in providing more insight based on current levels of data availability and quality. Further engagement with key stakeholders will be essential to agreeing a roadmap for future developments in this regard.”