The Covid bounce back

House building is back to pre-Covid levels in ROI, and surpassing them in NI, first half statistics show.

The trend mirrors a home improvement splurge, with one-and-a-half million homeowners having spent over €11bn in the last year on home improvements. This works out to an average spending of €7,343 per household.

The survey, commissioned by Aviva and carried out by iReach, estimates that another 861,000 homeowners have plans to undertake further improvements to their homes.

The spending captured in the survey is on everything from painting a room to extensions to homes. Other projects include installing home offices and replacing windows.

The majority of the projects are home decoration jobs and the average amount spent came in at under €5,000. Around a quarter of those engaged in home improvement work spent between €5,000 and €20,000.

Just 5 per cent of people spent over €20,000. Most of these spent less than €50,000.

Half of those surveyed said they have carried out some DIY work themselves, with the remainder employing tradespeople to carry out the jobs in their homes over the last year.

Northern Ireland

New home registrations have jumped to a 14 year high between April and June 2021, according to industry body and insurance and warranty provider the National House Building Council (NHBC).

All UK nations or regions recorded increased registrations compared with the same period last year. Northern Ireland (grouped with the Isle of Man) recorded a 230 per cent increase in registrations to reach 1,175.

Builders register homes with the NHBC at the beginning of the build; the figures also include all types of construction from apartments to one-off houses.

Within the UK total, 15,790 registrations were for detached homes, 14,022 were for semi-detached properties, 9,447 were for apartments, 6,397 were for terraced homes and 796 were for bungalows.

The NHBC said it has seen extraordinary growth since the second quarter of 2020 when lockdown restrictions saw work on many sites halted, with registrations now up by 130 per cent.

“Despite the combined effects of the pandemic and Brexit causing labour shortages and some disruption to the supply of materials, the outlook for the medium term is a positive one,” NHBC chief executive Steve Wood said.

Republic of Ireland

Commencement notices in ROI for one-off houses in the first half of 2021 were back to the 2019 first half levels, after a 22 per cent drop in activity due to Covid in the first half of 2020.

The first half of 2021 recorded 2,628 one-off homes filing commencement notices, as compared to 2,000 the year before.

Completions are slower to bounce back. There were 1,149 completions in the second quarter of 2021 as compared to 868 the same time last year, as recorded by the Central Statistics Office. Even though this represents a 32.4 per cent year on year, the figure is down 12.6 per cent on 2019 figures.

New dwelling completions in general rose more in urban areas than rural, with apartments accounting for a large portion of the total 5,000 completions figure.

The highest number of single dwelling completions in the second quarter of 2021 was in the South-West region (198) followed closely by the West (197). The Border region had the highest proportion – 59.5 per cent – of its completions being single dwellings.

As per previous trends, the local authority with the highest number of single completions is Cork County (115) followed by Galway County (111).

Meanwhile build costs in Dublin were ranked third most expensive in Europe, according to a report by project managers Turner & Townsend. Construction costs in Dublin are running at €2,400 per sqm, ranking it behind Geneva (€2,954/sqm) and London (€2,720/sqm).

Turner & Townsend’s study of world building prices attributes Dublin’s price increase to 40 per cent inflation in the price of some key materials including timber, steel and copper piping. The cost increases are hitting all cities.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild 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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Steel, timber, insulation: where to next for material price increases?