COVID-19 pandemic: This release was compiled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Users should be aware that the quality of the underlying data has been impacted by the crisis and therefore may not be directly comparable with previous periods data. For details regarding how this data has been affected See here.
The CSO understands the severe difficulties now being faced by survey respondents and that filling in the survey forms may not be top of their list at present, however it is by collecting survey information that we will be able to report on the effects of COVID-19 on our economy and society.
Insofar as possible, we are continuing to collect survey information from businesses so that we can provide statistics that show the changing situation from March 2020 onwards. We appreciate the ongoing support of the business community and understand the difficulties faced by all.
This release was compiled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new domestic ESBN connections undertaken in January-March 2021 have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. To show the effect of the pandemic and related restrictions on the New Dwelling Completions, additional monthly analysis has been included for this quarter's release.
|Number of new dwelling completions|
|Quarter 1 2020||1,095||2,842||1,008||4,945|
|Quarter 1 2021||971||2,245||737||3,953|
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions in place since the beginning of the year have had a large impact on completions this quarter. There were 3,953 new dwelling completions in Q1 2021, which is 20.1% less than the 4,945 completions in the first quarter of 2020.
The Q1 data for 2021 also shows that:
Figure 1a details the monthly breakdown of new dwelling completions for the twelve months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions (April 2019 to March 2020) and for the last twelve months (April 2020 to March 2021). The monthly completions figures have been consistent across Q1 2021 - 1,206 in January, 1,412 in February and 1,335 in March. However, these figures were 24.9%, 10.6% and 24.1% below their respective months in 2020 prior to the pandemic. The impact of restrictions in Q1 2021 has not been as significant as at the beginning of the pandemic when there was a drop of 72.8% from 1,454 in April 2019 to 396 in April 2020.
ESB domestic connections dataset used as a primary source
The primary data source used for the New Dwellings Completions series is the ESB Networks new domestic connections dataset, where the date that the connection is energized determines the date of completion. It is accepted that the ESB domestic connections dataset is overestimating new dwellings and the CSO has adjusted for this overcount by using additional information from the ESB and other data sources.
ESB connections are classified into four categories: new dwelling completions, UFHDs (previously finished houses in UnFinished Housing Developments), reconnections and non-dwellings. The dwelling type (single, scheme, apartment) and urban-rural divide are defined by the ESB Network. See Background Notes and Methodology for a more detailed discussion of the classification.
The New Dwelling Completions series is based on the number of domestic dwellings connected by the ESB Network to the electricity supply and may not accord precisely with Local Authority or Eircode Routing Key boundaries.
The CSO has utilised other available data sources to validate and enhance the ESB connections dataset. However, this was only possible where the connections dataset could be confidently linked to another dataset using unique identifiers or by address matching. As the level of Eircode collection, coverage and storage increases across data sources in the housing sector, it is expected that the precision of estimates on new dwelling completions can be further enhanced.
There has been a significant level of construction output in the student accommodation sector. These are generally connected to the ESB Network as commercial connections and are therefore not included in the ESB domestic connections dataset used for the new dwelling completions. The data available on this sector is on a “bed space” basis and it is not currently possible to report on it as dwellings, which are self-contained units of living accommodation. Based on consultation with stakeholders in this sector, student accommodation may be included in future New Dwelling Completions reports as a separate category. There were 170 bed spaces completed in the student accommodation sector in Q1 2021. Total completed bed spaces since Q2 2016 stands at 10,709 (this number has been adjusted from that presented last quarter due to a reporting error).
The ESB domestic connections dataset provides information on the type of connection and whether it is in an urban or rural area. In Q1 2021 the number of completions in urban areas fell 21.6% from 4,014 in Q1 2020 to 3,145 in Q1 2021. The decrease was less in rural areas falling 13.2% from 931 in Q1 2020 to 808 this quarter. Despite this occurrence, still almost four-fifths (79.6%) of new dwelling completions in Q1 2021 were in urban areas with 20.4% being in rural areas. This compares to 81.2% urban and 18.8% rural in Q1 2020. See Table 2.
The region with the highest number of new dwelling completions in Q1 2021 was Dublin with 971, however this was a drop of 40.9% from the 1,642 completions in Q1 2020. The region with the second highest number of completions this quarter was the Mid-East with 871. Together these regions contain 46.6% of completions in the quarter. The Midlands saw an increase of 51.7% completions relative to the same quarter last year rising from 209 to 317. See Figure 2.
The highest number of apartment completions was in Dublin where there were 506, which represents 68.7% of the total apartments completed this quarter. There were 280 apartments completed in Dublin City alone (38.0% of national apartment completions). Of all completions in Dublin, 52.1% were apartments. In Dublin City 83.6% of completions were apartments. There were also over 100 (122) apartment completions in Fingal.
The Mid-East region accounts for 30.9% (694) of the total scheme dwellings in Q1 2021. The local authority with the highest number of scheme completions was Kildare with 269. The next highest was Fingal with 172.
The West region had the highest number of single dwelling completions in the quarter (173) followed closely by the South-West (152) and the Mid-East (143). The local authority with the highest number of single completions is Galway County (99) followed by Cork County (96) See Table 3.
Classification into local authorities has taken into account boundary changes between Cork City and Cork County which came into effect in May 2019. All historical data within the tables below and the PxStat interactive tables has been revised to now be based on the new boundaries. However, data within archived releases has stayed as is.
|Year on Year Change %|
Figure 3 shows the number of new dwelling completions at the Eircode Routing Key level for Q1 2021. The Eircode area with the highest number of new dwelling completions was H91 'Galway' (271 completions) followed by A92 'Drogheda' (197) and T91 'Naas' (176). The Eircode Routing Keys areas with the ten most new dwelling completions in the quarter are spread around the country include those mentioned above and three Dublin postcode areas and in Cork City, Limerick, Louth and the Midlands.
Total domestic ESB connections in Q1 2021 totalled 4,988. This was a drop of 15.7% on Q1 2020. The ESB domestic connections series continues to show a comparable trend to the NDC series compiled by the CSO as shown in Figure 4. The number of new dwelling completions as a percentage of total ESB domestic connections - 79.3% - was the lowest it has been since Q1 2018, although this a still significant difference from the low of 52.1% in Q1 2015.
There is still some difference in volume between the two series. The starting point for the NDC series is the ESB domestic connections dataset, with adjustments made to account for previously finished houses in unfinished housing developments (UFHDs), reconnections and non-dwellings as shown in Figure 5 and Table 4.
|New dwelling completions||ESB connections|
A property that is reconnected to the ESB Network after having been disconnected for more than two years is assigned a new MPRN and is therefore included in the ESB connections datasets and here considered to be a reconnection. There were 595 reconnections in Q1 2021, down just 3.9% from 617 in Q1 2020. This accounts for 11.9% of all ESB connections this quarter. This compares to 10.4% in Q1 2020.
The number of previously finished dwellings in unfinished housing developments (UFHDs) represents only 2.8% of all ESB domestic connections in Q1 2021 compared to 21.7% at the peak in 2014. This quarter there has been an increase of 20.9% to 139 from 115 in Q1 2020. This still represents a drop of 80.6% from the peak in Q3 2014 when 716 UFHDs were connected to the ESB Network. The number of non-dwellings - mostly farm buildings - has risen 24.4% from 242 in Q1 2020 to 301 in Q1 2021. See Figure 5 and Table 4.
Table 5 shows the type of ESB connection by NUTS3 region in Q1 2021. The Border region has the highest number of reconnections (127) and UFHDs (54). The most non-dwellings are in the Mid-East (48). Dublin has the highest proportion of connections being new dwelling completions (94.0%) with the Border region having the lowest (47.8%).
Figure 6 shows that the average new dwelling size is continuing to gradually fall year on year. The decline in the average new dwelling size index is due to an increase in the proportion of completed dwellings being apartments and - particularly seen so far in 2021 - a decrease in the size of single dwellings (see Table 6). The average new dwelling size index is obtained by linking ESB connections to BER assessment data from the SEAI for new dwelling completions (see Table 7 in Background Notes and Methodology for match rates).
|Index (2016 = 100)|
|Table 1: New dwelling completions by type of dwelling, 2011 - Q1 2021|
|Table 2: New dwelling completions by urban-rural divide, 2011 - Q1 2021|
|Table 3: New dwelling completions by type of dwelling and Local Authority - Q1 2021|
|Local Authority||Single||Scheme||Apartment||Total - Q1 2021|
|Note: Local Authority based on substation of dwelling where available|
|Table 4: ESB by Type of connection, 2011 - Q1 2021|
|Table 5: ESB by type of connection and NUTS3, Q1 2021|
|Region||New dwelling completions||UFHD||Reconnection||Non-Dwelling||Total ESB connections|
|Note: NUTS3 region based on substation of dwelling where available|
|Table 6: New dwelling completions by average floor size, 2011 - Q1 2021|
|Estimated weight in mix (%)|
|Estimated average size of dwelling (sqm)|
|Average dwelling size (sqm)||187.0||192.1||192.7||176.9||168.9||163.7||150.2||146.1||139.9||134.5||122.2|
|Average dwelling size index (2016 = 100)||114||117||118||108||103||100||92||89||85||82||75|
The New Dwelling Completions series is produced by the CSO on a quarterly basis. A Housing Analytics Group (HAG) was established in 2017 by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG). This group, which met for the first time in May 2017, consists of representatives of bodies with a significant interest and role in housing, housing policy and related policy areas.
The HAG focused on a review of housing related data published nationally and in particular on the number of dwellings built every year. Arising from the work of this group and other direct discussions between the CSO and DHPLG, a significant outcome was to assess the suitability of current housing indicators for estimating the number of new dwelling completions in Ireland.
Historically, the number of new dwellings built in Ireland, as published by the DHPLG, was based on the number of connections to the ESB Network. However, in recent years it became apparent that this series was overestimating the levels of new dwelling construction in Ireland. The New Dwelling Completions series will look to replace this and other available indicators of housing activity in Ireland. This series will include information on dwelling type, urban/rural location, activity by Local Authority and by Eircode Routing Key. It will continue to be based on domestic ESB connections but will correct for over-coverage by using additional information from ESB Networks and incorporating data from other sources. It also includes data on the number of reconnections and on houses from unfinished housing developments that are coming back into use. This will provide policy-makers with a valuable insight into the number of new dwellings available for occupation in the quarterly period concerned and also show data on the numbers of dwellings being constructed.
The New Dwelling Completions data series is based on the number of new dwellings connected by the ESB Network to the electricity supply and may not accord precisely with Local Authority or Eircode Routing Key boundaries. The NDC series is split into counties and Eircode Routing Keys based on the information of the substation rather than the exact location of the dwelling. As Eircode becomes available as the unique identifier, it will replace the source of identifying the location of a new dwelling.
The breakdown of ESB connections by type of connection and dwelling is based on NUTS3 regions as described below:
ESB connections are classified into four categories:
The dwelling type is defined by the ESB Network and classified into three categories:
The classification of urban and rural dwellings is also defined by the ESB Network and based on the Distribution Use of System (DUoS) tariff, which is a fee that ESB Networks charge Electricity Suppliers for use of the Electricity Distribution System1.
Only domestic connections where a dwelling is a self-contained unit of living accommodation are included in the New Dwelling Completions series. Commercial properties, shared and communal living arrangements are excluded.
The New Dwelling Completions series is a new statistical product compiled from third party data sources. The series will be revised on an ongoing basis as more timely and accurate data sources become available and these data sources can be matched to the ESB new connections data set. BER Assessment data is used to validate the status of New Dwelling Completions, reconnections, UFHDs and non-dwellings. This will result in regular revisions to previous quarters due to the time lag between ESB connections and BER assessment. Historical data within the current release and PxStat interactive tables are impacted by revisions but data within archived releases has not been revised.
The primary data source used for the New Dwellings Completions series is the ESB domestic connections dataset where the date that the connection is energised determines the date of completion. It is accepted that the ESB domestic connections dataset overestimates new dwellings and the CSO has adjusted for this overcount by using additional information from the ESB and other data sources. The ESB domestic connections dataset is matched by the CSO to Building Energy Rating (BER) data, compiled by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI). Under the Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No. 243 of 2012, all residential property for sale must disclose their BER assessment (with some very minor exceptions). The BER includes detailed information on the type of dwelling, the type of certificate (Provisional, Final, Existing) as well as the date of assessment and construction. As the collection, storage and maintenance of Eircode improve, other data sources can be further consulted to improve the accuracy of the series.
The average new dwelling size index is based on measurements of the total floor area recorded by a BER Assessor in accordance with the BER Regulations, the BER Assessor's Code of Practice and all other directions issued by the SEAI2. As an MPRN, the unique identifier for an ESB connection is required for the BER certification process it is possible to link new housing completions data to BER certificates to produce the index. The match rate between new dwelling completions and BER certificates is consistently highest among scheme dwellings. Table 7 shows the percentage of new dwelling completions that can be matched to a BER certificate by dwelling type and year. Between 2015 and 2020, approximately nine out of ten scheme dwellings had a BER certificate compared to about one in five single dwellings. The match rate for apartments has increased in recent years and stood at 77% in 2019.
|Table 7: New dwelling completions and BER match rate, 2011 - Q1 2021|
|Period||Single||Scheme||Apartment||Overall match rate|
While the time lag between connection to the ESB network and BER assessment can explain missing ber certificates, the data in table 7 indicates that there are additional factors at play for single dwellings and apartments.
The low match rate for single dwellings is due to the large number of self builds where dwellings are not intended for sale or rent, similarly, the low match rate for apartments can be explained by dwellings not intended for sale. These include conversions from single dwellings as well as social housing and developments in the build-to-rent sector. such developments will often have a range of provisional ber certificates or a partial number of BER's for the development without having a final BER for all properties.
1 Rules for Application of DUoS Tariff Group: https://www.esbnetworks.ie/docs/default-source/publications/rules-for-application-of-duos-tariff-group.pdf?sfvrsn=a44b33f0_4Hide Background Notes and Methodology
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