Planning Applications down in all but one county.

National Housing Construction Index shows continued decrease in housing construction activity across every region of the country.

The latest edition of the National Housing Construction Index compiled and issued by Link2Plans ( outlines the continued decline in housing construction activity across the country. A number of counties buck the national downward trend in planning applications and project commencements. The Index compiled by research company Link2Plans points to a slowdown in the rate of the decline nationally, from the early part of 2012, when every project is examined over the first ten months of his year, when compared with the same period in 2011.

The key findings in the research by Link2Plans are that nationally there is a fall in both planning applications (18%) and project commencements (9%). Link2Plans’ National Housing Construction Index examines every housing construction Planning Application and Planning Commencement throughout the months of January through to October 2012. The Index gives a direct comparison with the exact same period in 2011.

According to Managing Director of Link2Plans, Danny O’Shea, “the National Housing Construction Index is clearly showing that although housing construction activity levels are lower than in 2011, there is a definite slowdown in the rate of decline in this area of construction. We started to notice this trend over the summer months and it has continued up to the end of October. There is a marked contrast in the type of projects and their size, which we will outline in the end of year index when we have researched every project up to and including December 2012. Project commencements at 9% below the 2011 figures are getting close to a point where we will clearly see a rise, albeit from a very low base, in residential construction activity. If the current trends continues we could expect to see this happen in the first or second quarter of 2013. Other factors such as the impact of weather conditions and how budget changes impact on the sector, are factors that are as of yet unclear.” 

“The Link2Plans team have noticed a continued rise in construction companies using our website, As we have said previously, while the figures are still lower than 2011, there is a glimmer of light in some parts of the country that are consistently ahead of activity levels from 2011.” 

Planning Applications down 18%. Only one county has an increase

The overall downward trend in planning applications across the country has continued, with the exception of Donegal. As identified by the research in the last National Housing Construction Index, the planning application figures are improving as the year has gone on. The National Housing Construction Index in Volume One showed a fall of 23%; Volume Two a fall of 20%; Volume Three, down by 19%; Volume Four a fall of 16%; and the latest index, Volume Five down by 18%.  Once again Donegal, as in the previous index, has recorded a marginal increase, although this time it is the only county to do so. This figure needs to be looked at closely by the thousands who are working in the construction sector as planning applications figures are the real barometer of sentiment for future construction activity.

In line with the previous volume of the Index, the largest fall in applications is still counties Kildare (-35%), Kerry (-35%) and Clare (-34%). These are followed by Kilkenny (-31%), Wexford (-31%) and Mayo (-27%) which have recorded the next biggest percentage decreases.

Commencement Notices fall 9% yet six counties show increase.

The figures nationally for commencement notices, which are a real time barometer of construction activity, continue to show an overall decrease. The largest falls continue to be recorded in Laois (-31%) and Roscommon (-29%) and Donegal (-27%). Limerick moves into the top four of worst performing areas with a drop of (-21%), closely followed by Galway (-20%).

There is a significant increase in commencement activity across the period in some areas, with a rise in Westmeath of (+45%), Mayo (+24%), Sligo (+16%) and Cork (+5%).

The two largest population centres of Cork and Dublin, are performing ahead of the national average of (-9%), which points to some good news for the residential construction sector in these areas.