Press release

18 Jan 2022 Dublin, IE

Number of New Residential Address Points Falls in 2021 as Construction Activity Rebounds Strongly to End the Year

The number of new residential address points added to the GeoDirectory database in 2021 fell by 17.4% compared to the previous year, according to the findings of the Residential Buildings Report for Q4 2021, published by GeoDirectory today and prepared by EY.

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EY Ireland

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EY Ireland, a leading global professional services organisation providing assurance, tax, audit, strategy and transactions and consulting services.

GeoDirectory Residential Buildings Report Q4 2021 Highlights

  • 18,047 new residential address points were added to the GeoDirectory database in 2021, representing a 17.4% decrease on the total added in 2020.
  • 19,495 residential buildings were under construction in Q4 2021, a 16.5% increase year-on-year.
  • The national residential vacancy rate stood at 4.4% in Q4 2021, with 90,158 dwellings recorded as vacant. Vacancy rates decreased in 20 out of 26 counties surveyed.
  • Average residential property price increases were recorded in every county, with an average price nationally of €321,596 in the twelve months to October 2021.
  • The number of derelict buildings in the State has fallen by 7.3% between December 2016 and December 2021. In total, there were 22,096 residential address points classified as derelict in December 2021.

The number of new residential address points added to the GeoDirectory database in 2021 fell by 17.4% compared to the previous year, according to the findings of the Residential Buildings Report for Q4 2021, published by GeoDirectory today and prepared by EY.

In total 18,047 new address points were recorded in Ireland in 2021, with over a quarter located in Dublin (29.6%), a year-on-year decrease of 26% in the capital. At 48.9%, almost half of the total of new addresses were found in the Greater Dublin Area of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

Residential Construction Activity Rebounds

Following the temporary closure of construction sites in early 2021 due to Covid-19 public health measures, residential construction activity rallied strongly in the second half of 2021. In Q4 2021, 19,495 residential buildings were under construction, a notable 16.5% increase on the corresponding figure in Q4 2020.

Residential construction activity was strongest in the Leinster region, with 59.7% of all buildings under construction in Q4 recorded in the province. At 15.1%, the highest share of the country’s residential construction activity was in Dublin, however this was 1.3 percentage points (ppts) lower than in Q4 2020.

An increase in residential construction activity was recorded in 18 counties in Q4 2021, with the highest year-on-year increases in Offaly (+118.1%), Waterford (+70.2%) and Clare (+54.3%). Of the counties to register contractions in residential construction activity, the sharpest decreases were in Galway (-23.8%) and Leitrim (-22.4%).

Slight Decline in National Vacancy Rate

There were 90,158 vacant dwellings recorded in the State in Q4 2021, representing 4.4% of the national housing stock and a marginal 0.1ppt decrease since Q4 2020. Year-on-year residential vacancy rates decreased in 20 of the 26 counties.

The lowest residential vacancy rates in the country were found in Dublin (1.4%), Kildare (2.1%), and both Waterford and Louth (2.8% each). Across the counties of Leinster, the average residential vacancy rate stood at 2.3%.

The three counties with the highest residential vacancy rates in Q4 2021 were found in Connacht, which had a province-wide vacancy rate of 9.2%, down 0.2ppts on Q4 2020. Leitrim remained the county with the highest residential vacancy rate at 13.3%, although this was notably 1.3ppts lower than the previous year. After Leitrim, Mayo (11.9%) and Roscommon (11.6%) recorded the next highest vacancy rates.

Number of Derelict Buildings falls by 7.3% since 2016

GeoDirectory defines a derelict building as one which has typically been dormant for several years and requires structural work or reconstruction before it can be re-occupied. In December 2021, there were 22,096 derelict residential units across the country. This represented a 7.3% drop in the number of units since December 2016.

The bulk of derelict address points in December 2021 were located along the west coast of Ireland, with the highest percentage share of the national total found in Mayo (13.2%), followed by Donegal (12.0%) and Galway (8.8%).

Increase in Residential Property Transactions

The number of residential property transactions increased by 18.8% in the 12 months to October 2021 to 44,110, following the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the housing market. 16.3% of all property transactions in the State were for newly built dwellings, which was 3.1ppts lower compared to the previous year.

The average residential property price rose in every county over the period in question. The average national (not mix-adjusted) house price during the 12-month period to October 2021 was €321,596, an increase of 9.4% on the equivalent 2020 figure. Dublin remained the most expensive location to buy a house in Ireland, with an average price of €496,652. Neighbouring counties Wicklow (€428,493) and Kildare (€338,874) were the only other counties with residential property prices higher than the national average.

The lowest average house price over the 12 months to October 2021 was recorded in Longford, at €142,298. This represents an increase of 64.3% vis-à-vis the average house price in Longford during the corresponding 12-month period in 2016 (€86,598).

Commenting on the findings of the latest Residential Buildings Report, Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory said, “Covid-19 has proved to be a substantial speed-bump for the delivery of housing supply in Ireland. The knock-on impact of the closure of construction sites in early 2021 can be seen in the relatively low number of new address points added to the GeoDirectory database, which was down 17.4% on the previous year. However, residential construction activity has rebounded strongly since reopening fully in April, with 19,495 buildings recorded as being under construction in Q4 2021, the highest figure recorded since we started this report in 2014. This indicates a strengthening residential supply pipeline going into 2022.”

Annette Hughes, Director, EY Economic Advisory said, “The level of housing supply coming onto the market in 2021 was well short of what was needed to meet demand. While the data around residential construction activity in the latter half of 2021 is extremely encouraging, there is still exceptionally high levels of demand in the housing market. This is evident from the significant increase in the average house price, up 9.4% nationally, with price increases recorded in every county. Based on our analysis for this report, the 90,158 vacant residential properties and the 22,096 derelict residential properties across Ireland should be investigated to ascertain if they can be returned to the housing stock, a move which would also support our retrofitting targets.”

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About GeoDirectory - Data Intelligence for Targeted Growth 

The GeoDirectory database is the most comprehensive address database of dwellings in the Republic of Ireland. A copy of the Residential Buildings Report is attached in PDF format and is available at www.geodirectory.ie

GeoDirectory was jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) to create and manage Ireland’s only complete database of commercial and residential buildings. The figures are recorded through a combination of the An Post network of 5,600 delivery staff working with OSi.

The GeoDirectory database is used by many different companies and organisations across a diverse range of applications. Its database and services are used by the Central Statistics Office to achieve more accurate census results.

In the property sector, GeoDirectory is used by Daft.ie and the Property Registration Authority. In addition, utility companies, banking and insurance providers, and all local authorities use the database.

For further information or to view relevant case studies please visit: www.geodirectory.ie and @GeoDirectory_ie on Twitter.

GeoFindIT App: An award-winning, free app available to download on iOS and Android. GeoFindIT provides information on the prices of all sold properties in Ireland. In addition, it lists details on thousands of hotels, shops, restaurants and bars across the country. 

Past GeoDirectory Residential Buildings Reports are available to view at:

https://www.ey.com/en_ie/strategy-transactions/ey-economic-advisory-services  and

https://www.geodirectory.ie/knowledge-centre/reports-blogs

To learn more download the report here.