Activity in residential construction sector fell sharply compared to 2014 but sentiment remains positive, Link2Plans research indicates

Figures from the National Housing Construction Index for the first four months of 2015 show a sharp fall in activity in Ireland’s residential construction sector when compared to 2014, although sentiment continues to be positive.

The most recent edition of the National Housing Construction Index from Link2Plans reveals that commencements have fallen by -51% in the first four months of 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014, while planning applications have risen by +18% nationally year on year.


The data contained in the National Housing Construction Index is aggregated by consultancy Link2Plans from real time planning and project information in every local authority area, with the latest edition of the National Housing Construction Index tracking every project from January through to April 2015, and comparing it with the same period in 2014.

Average number of weeks from planning application to commencement

Danny O’Shea Managing Director of Link2Plans said “Research from Link2Plans shows that from a national perspective, 142 weeks was the average period of time it took for residential developments to get from the planning application stage to commencement of work on site. For one off houses, our research shows that in the first four months of 2015, the process from planning application to starting work took 61 weeks.”

According to Danny O’Shea Managing Director of Link2Plans “Nationally, commencements were down -51% when compared to the first four months of 2014, with every county recording a fall. This continues the trend from the beginning of 2015 with commencements falling dramatically. Project applications however maintained strong double digit growth in 23 counties when compared to the first four months of 2014.”

“Link2Plans considers the first half of 2014 to be very much an outlier in terms of construction activity on account of the structural changes in the market, which saw the introduction of new buildings regulations on 1st March 2014. These one off changes in the sector created a major injection in construction activity for that period. When compared to previous years’ such as 2013, we do see growth in the construction sector, with the first four months of 2015 showing an increase of +11% when compared to the same period in 2013. When these figures are combined with the strong growth in planning applications, which have recorded increases for the past 18 months, the forecast for medium term remains positive.” continued Danny O’Shea Managing Director of Link2Plans.

Danny O’Shea Managing Director of Link2Plans said that “across the country, in the first four months of 2015 the number of residential project commencements fell by 1744 from 3472 to 1698 when compared with the same period in 2014, with the smallest year on year decreases taking place in Waterford (-13%), Dublin (-22%), Cavan (-34%), Carlow (-36%) and Wicklow (-37%).”

Applications up +18% nationally as Leitrim, Louth and Laois record biggest gains

Leitrim, Louth and Laois were the best performing counties for the first four months of 2015 when compared to 2014, recording growth of +64%, +61% and +51% respectively. Cavan (+52%), Sligo (+51%), Kerry (+51%) and Meath (+48%) also returned significant increases while, planning applications were down in only two counties, Limerick (-3%) and Dublin (-1%).

Danny O’Shea Managing Director of Link2Plans said “the number of planning applications in the first four months of 2015 increased by 713 from 3889 to 4602, representing an increase of +18% nationally year on year. This is evidence of the positive sentiment in the residential construction sector, with nearly every county in country seeing an increase in the number of planning applications when compared to the same period in 2014.”

The National Housing Construction Index is produced by a team of researchers at Link2Plans and it relates to all Planning Applications and Project Commencements throughout the months of January to April 2015 and gives a direct comparison with the same period in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Link2Plans have produced this index bi-monthly and it has been the most accurate barometer of real time sentiment (planning applications) and actual residential construction activity (project commencements) including residential developments (multi units), one-off housing (self-build) and one-off housing extensions.

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