Self-building activity on upward trend

The level of house building for privately funded homes in NI increased in the second quarter of 2017 to reach levels not seen since 2010, according to the latest figures released by the Land & Property Services (LPS) division of the NI Department of Finance.

More than 2,000 new dwelling starts were recorded between April and June 2017, a figure that includes speculative development such as housing estates. From July 2016 to June 2017 a total of 7,051 new homes broke ground in NI. Figures in ROI are more up to date; from October 2016 to September 2017 a total of 4,646 commencement notices for one-off houses were filed. However the NI and ROI figures are not directly comparable as data specific to self-builds is not available for NI (the NI figure includes speculative development). Whilst this represents a considerable increase from the NI low of 2012-2013 which recorded around 4,000 new dwelling starts each of those two years, and a steady increase as compared to more recent years, the figure still falls short of the highs of 2004 to 2007 which saw over 14,000 new privately funded homes in NI breaking ground at the peak. Statistics in ROI, meanwhile, show commencement notices for one-off housing to September 2017 total 3,746 this calendar year so far, a 20 per cent increase on 2016. The ROI calendar year total for 2016 was 4,012, a level that wasn’t reached since 2010. Whilst this also represents an increase as compared to building activity in recent years, with the low recorded in 2013, it’s a fraction of the numbers of commencement notices filed during the boom of 2004-2007 which saw, at its peak, 19,000 homes breaking ground per year.
Commencement notices / new dwelling starts per calendar year
Year       ROI       NI*
2005       19,121       14,391
2006       17,412       14,356
2007       15,757       13,381
2008       10,856        6,497
2009        6,525        7,044
2010        5,257        7,101
2011        3,433        5,290
2012        3,070        4,147
2013        2,870        4,140
2014        3,681        5,154
2015        3,111        5,547
2016        4,012        6,434
  Sources: The ROI Department of Housing and the NI Department of Finance. ROI figures refer to one-off housing commencement notices. *NI figures refer to new dwelling starts for private owner and speculative development, the total figure for self-builds only is unavailable.

No public source of NI data for self-builds

The Land & Property Services (LPS) receives information from Building Control in each council in NI. This information contains the number of recorded new dwellings (houses and apartments) started and completed. Information that is collected is recorded and coded by each building control surveyor across the 11 councils and the coding system for new dwellings requires the surveyor to choose between private/speculative (as one category) or social housing. The LPS Statistics branch told Selfbuild: “Unfortunately there is no publicly available source of the number of houses built by one-off private owners but that we can find.”

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email astrid.madsen@selfbuild.ie

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