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COVID-19 affects the future supply of housing in Northern Ireland

Friday 28 August 2020

The latest figures in the Department for Communities Housing Bulletin, released on 27 August, perhaps unsurprisingly, shows the number of new dwellings started over the period April to June 2020 fell significantly compared to the same period in 2019 as the effects of the lockdown start to show.

Private sector developments were hit the hardest showing a decrease of 38.9 per cent compared to 2019, with only 1,057 new dwellings started, significantly lower than the last year's figure of 1,731. 

Social housing fared better during the period, the figures show there were 178 new dwellings started compared to 139 in 2019, an increase of 28.0 per cent.

Due to the pandemic, the number of building control inspections largely stopped too, and this is shown on the number of new dwelling completions, which are considerably lower compared to the same period last year.

With only 664 new dwelling completions in the period, private sector developments are down 59.4 per cent from 2019. For social housing, this figure is a decrease of 81.6 per cent as there were only 27 new dwelling completions.

Read the Bulletin

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As the country went into lockdown it is no surprise the figures are not as buoyant as 2019. However, now that guidance for the safe return to work for the construction industry has been issued, combined with the current thriving conditions of the property market there is great optimism for the Q3 figures to return to a much healthier position.

Across the UK, NAEA Propertymark figures show that housing demand was 12 per cent higher in July compared to June, therefore, supply needs to keep up with consumer appetite.

Daryl McIntosh

Daryl McIntosh
Propertymark Strategic Development Manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland