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 has been impacted in different ways since March 2020 from the varying restrictions associated with the pandemic. To show the effect of the pandemic and related restrictions over this period - and before - on the New Dwelling Completions, additional monthly analysis has been included for this quarter's release.
|Number of new dwelling completions|
|Quarter 2 2020||868||1,837||524||3,229|
|Quarter 2 2021||1,149||2,539||1,333||5,021|
The recovery of the construction sector since the relaxation of restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is evident in the new dwelling completion figures this quarter, particularly relative to quarter 2 in 2020 when the initial phase of restrictions were in place. There were 5,021 new dwelling completions in Q2 2021, which is 55.5% greater than the 3,229 completions in the second quarter of 2020. The total figure for this quarter is also 4.6% greater than the 4,802 completions in Q2 2019.
The Q2 data for 2021 also shows that:
Figure 1a details the monthly breakdown of new dwelling completions for the first six months of 2019, 2020 and 2021. This shows that completion figures for the first half of 2021 are broadly in line with those in the corresponding period of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2021, 2,008 monthly completions were recorded, higher than the 1,604 in the same month in 2020 and the 1,747 in June 2019.
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 geographical 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. No details have yet been received on the number of bed spaces completed in the student accommodation sector in Q2 2021 (this will be updated when we have this data). Total completed bed spaces since Q2 2016 stands at 10,709.
The ESB domestic connections dataset provides information on the type of connection and whether it is in an urban or rural area. In Q2 2021 the number of completions in urban areas rose 64.1% to 4,033 from 2,458 in Q2 2020. The figure for this quarter is also 9.6% higher than the 3,681 completions in Q2 2019. In rural areas, there was an increase of 28.1% in completions from 771 in Q2 2020 to 988 this quarter. However, this is 11.9% less than the 1,121 completions in Q2 2019. Over four-fifths (80.3%) of new dwelling completions in Q2 2021 were in urban areas with 19.7% being in rural areas. This compares to 76.1% urban and 23.9% rural in Q2 2020. See Table 2.
There was an 83.6% year-on-year increase in completions in Dublin with 1,524 completions - the highest of any region - compared to 830 in Q2 2020. This figure also represents a small increase - of 3.8% - from 1,468 completions in Q2 2019. All other regions also saw an increase from Q2 2020, with the highest percentage change - after Dublin - being in the West where there was a 74.4% increase from 238 to 415. All regions except Mid-East and Mid-West also had an increase from Q2 2019. See Figure 2.
Dublin continues to have the most apartment completions with 911 this quarter, which is 68.3% of all nationally. Of all completions in Dublin, 59.8% were apartments. The highest number of apartment completions by local authority was in Dublin City (329). There were also over 100 apartment completions in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown (263), Fingal (214), Kildare (122) and South Dublin (105). In Dublin City 82.5% of completions were apartments with 82.4% in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown. All Local authorities had some apartment completions except Carlow, Clare and Sligo.
The Mid-East region accounts for 27.1% (687) of the total scheme dwellings in Q2 2021 with 22.3% (565) in Dublin. The local authority with the highest number of scheme completions was Kildare with 330. The next highest was Cork County with 281.
The highest number of single dwelling completions in this quarter was in the South-West region (198) followed closely by the West (197). The Border region had the highest proportion – 59.5% - of its completions being single dwellings. The local authority with the highest number of single completions is Cork County (115) followed by Galway County (111). 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.
|From Q2 2019||From Q2 2020|
For the first time, the new dwelling completions are shown by Local Electoral Area. The Local Electoral Area with the highest number of new dwelling completions this quarter was Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart (185 completions), followed by Howth-Malahide (172) and Lucan (132). The only Local Electoral Area outside of Dublin with more than 100 completions was Skibbereen-West Cork (101). See Figure 3.
New dwelling completions by Local Electoral Area going back to the start of the series in 2011 by year and quarter can be viewed in the PxStat tables NDA05 and NDQ09. There is also data available by Eircode Routing Key by year and quarter in PxStat tables NDA01 and NDQ07.
There was a total of 6,012 domestic ESB connections in Q2. This was an increase of 54.6% on the 3,890 connections in Q2 2020 and 3.9% from the 5,787 in Q2 2019. 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 was 83.5% this quarter.
There are still some differences 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 628 reconnections in Q2 2021, up 51.0% from 416 in Q2 2020 but down only 1.6% from 638 in Q2 2019. Reconnections account for 10.4% of all ESB connections this quarter. This compares to 10.7% in Q2 2020 and 11.0% in Q2 2019.
The number of previously finished dwellings in unfinished housing developments (UFHDs) represents only 2.0% of all ESB domestic connections in Q2 2021 compared to 24.4% at the peak in Q3 2014. This quarter there were 122 UFHDs, an increase of 56.4% from 78 in Q2 2020 but a decrease of 19.7% from 152 in Q2 2019. This represents a drop of 83.0% 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 44.3% from 167 in Q2 2020 to 241 in Q2 2021 and 23.6% from 195 in Q2 2019. See Figure 5 and Table 4.
Table 5 shows the type of ESB connection by NUTS3 region in Q2 2021. The Mid-East region has the highest number of reconnections (144). The Border region has the highest of UFHDs (40) with the highest number of non-dwellings in the West region (51). Dublin has the highest proportion of connections being new dwelling completions (96.5%) with the Border region having the lowest (66.4%).
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 driven by an increase in the proportion of completed dwellings being apartments and also a decrease in the size of single and scheme 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 - Q2 2021|
|Table 2: New dwelling completions by urban-rural divide, 2011 - Q2 2021|
|Table 3: New dwelling completions by type of dwelling and Local Authority - Q2 2021|
|Local Authority||Single||Scheme||Apartment||Total - Q2 2021|
|Note: Local Authority based on substation of dwelling where available|
|Table 4: ESB by Type of connection, 2011 - Q2 2021|
|Table 5: ESB by type of connection and NUTS3, Q2 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 - Q2 2021|
|Estimated weight in mix (%)|
|Estimated average size of dwelling (sqm)|
|Average dwelling size (sqm)||187.3||193.1||193.5||177.0||169.3||163.7||150.4||146.4||140.3||135.7||124.6|
|Average dwelling size index (2016 = 100)||114||118||118||108||103||100||92||89||86||83||76|
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 (and now Local Electoral Area). 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 geographical boundaries. The NDC series is split into local authorities, Eircode Routing Keys and Local Electoral Areas 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 energized 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 79% in 2020.
|Table 7: New dwelling completions and BER match rate, 2011 - Q2 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 BERs 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_4
2 BER Assessor Support: https://www.seai.ie/home-energy/building-energy-rating-ber/support-for-ber-assessors/domestic-ber-resources/Hide Background Notes and Methodology
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