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. 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 4 2019||1,393||3,810||1,184||6,387|
|Quarter 4 2020||1,512||4,164||1,724||7,400|
The level of completions in Q4 2020 shows a recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions which particularly affected completions in Q2 and Q3. There were 7,400 new dwelling completions in Q4 2020, which is a 15.9% increase on the 6.387 completed in Q4 2019. This brings the total number of new dwelling completions in 2020 to 20,676, down 1.9% from the 21,087 in 2019.
In Q4 2020 the biggest relative growth can be seen for apartments. The number of apartments completed has risen 45.6% from 1,184 in Q4 2019 to 1,724 in this quarter. Despite the impact of COVID-19, there has still been an increase for apartments for the whole of 2020, rising 14.5% to 4,014 from the 3,507 completions in 2019.
The Q4 data for 2020 also shows that:
Figure 1a details the monthly breakdown of new dwelling completions in 2020 against 2019. This shows the clear impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on completions in April (only 396 completions - a 72.8% drop from April 2019) and May. After these months the monthly completions have mainly risen closer to the 2019 figures with completions in November and December then above the 2019 figures (31.3% and 18.9% increases respectively).
ESB Domestic connections dataset used as 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 energised 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 and have also not been included in ESB connections released by DHLGH. 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. In Q4 2020, 1,303 bed spaces were completed in the student accommodation sector which brings the total completed since Q2 2016 to 10,742.
The ESB domestic connections dataset provides information on the type of connection and whether it is in an urban or rural area. Figure 2 below shows that in Q4 2020, 82.7% of new dwelling completions are in urban areas with 17.3% being in rural areas. This is the highest proportion of completions in urban areas seen in a quarter since the series began in 2011. See Table 2.
The number of new dwelling completions in Q4 2020 was highest in Dublin at 2,479 followed by 1,555 in the Mid-East. Together these regions made up 54.5% of all new dwelling completions in this quarter. The South-West region also had over 1,000 completions (1,048) in the quarter. All regions saw an increase in completions from Q4 2019. The percentage increase was highest in the Border region where completions rose 80.7% from 238 in Q4 2019 to 430 in Q4 2020. In Dublin, there was a 21.5% increase from 2,040 in Q4 2019 to 2,479 this quarter.
Over three-quarters, (75.2%) of the apartments completed in Q4 2020 are in Dublin (1,297 apartment completions). The local authority with by far the highest number of apartment completions is Dublin City where there are 755 (43.8% of all apartment completions this quarter). South Dublin (382) and Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown (154) also had over 100 apartment completions. Over half (52.3%) of the completions in the Dublin region were apartments with this percentage being 82.8% in Dublin City.
The Mid-East region accounts for 29.3% (1,222) of the total scheme dwellings in Q4 2020 with 26.5% in Dublin (1,102). South Dublin was the local authority with the highest number of scheme completions in Q4 2020 with 523. The next highest was Kildare (484), Fingal (341) and Meath (322).
The West region had the highest number of single dwelling completions in the quarter (254) followed closely by the South-West (250) and the Mid-East (240). Cork County (157), Galway County (134) and Meath (104) all had over 100 single completions this quarter. 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.
Figure 3 shows the number of new dwelling completions at Eircode Routing Key level for 2020. The Eircode area with the most new dwelling completions was W91 'Naas' (871 completions). The rest of the top 10 Eircode Routing Key areas in 2020 are all in the Dublin suburbs and commuter belt except H91 'Galway' (729), T12 'Cork Southside (489) and V94 'Limerick' (485). The top 10 Eircode Routing Key areas account for 30% of all new dwelling completions in 2020.
There were 8,638 Domestic ESB connections in Q4 2020. This is an increase of 15.0% on Q4 2019. For the whole of 2020, there were 24,543 ESB domestic connections, a drop of 2.8% from the 25,259 in 2019. The ESB domestic connections series shows a comparable trend to the NDC series compiled by the CSO as shown in Figure 4, with the new dwelling completions getting closer to the total ESB connections over recent years. The number of new dwelling completions as a percentage of total ESB domestic connections has increased from a low of 52.1% in Q1 2015 to 85.7% in Q4 2020, the highest it has been since the series began in 2011.
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|
The number of previously finished dwellings in unfinished housing developments (UFHDs) dropped by 5.4% from 205 in Q4 2019 to 194 in Q4 2020. This continues a pattern of decreasing number of UFHDs completed from the peak in Q3 2014 when 716 UFHDs were connected to the ESB Network. This is a decrease of 72.9%. 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. These reconnections decreased by 2.0% to stand at 723 in Q4 2020 compared with 738 in Q4 2019. There has been a relatively large rise in the number of non-dwellings in the ESB connections data, increasing 74.5% from 184 in Q4 2019 to 321 in Q4 2020.
Overall in 2020, new dwelling completions account for 84.2% of all ESB connections, with 2.0% UFHDs, 9.8% reconnections and 4.0% non-dwellings See Figure 5 and Table 4.
Table 5 shows the type of ESB connection by NUTS3 region for Q4 2020. The highest number of reconnections was in the West region (139 - 17.4% of all connections in the region) followed by 109 in the Border region (17.2% of connections in the region). The highest number of UFHDs are in the Border region (49) followed by the South-West (45). The Mid-West has the highest numbers of non-dwellings in the quarter (61 - 10.8% of connections in the region). Dublin has the highest proportion of connections being new dwelling completions (96.7%) with the Border region having the lowest (68.0%).
Figure 6 shows that the average new dwelling size index is continuing to fall, down to 82 in 2020 (a 3.8% drop from 2019). The decline in the average new dwelling size index in 2020 is due to an increase in the proportion of completed dwellings being apartments and 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)|
Figure 7 shows a more detailed breakdown of scheme dwellings where they can be matched with a BER certificate. In 2020, 50% of matched scheme dwellings are semi-detached, the same percentage as seen in 2019. Detached scheme dwellings have gradually decreased from 21% in 2014 to 11% in 2020.
|Detached||Semi-Detached||Mid-Terrace||End of Terrace||Other|
|Table 1: New dwelling completions by type of dwelling, 2011 - Q4 2020|
|Table 2: New dwelling completions by urban-rural divide, 2011 - Q4 2020|
|Table 3: New dwelling completions by type of dwelling and Local Authority - Q4 2020|
|Local Authority||Single||Scheme||Apartment||Total - Q4 2020|
|Note: Local Authority based on substation of dwelling where available|
|Table 4: ESB by Type of connection, 2011 - Q4 2020|
|Table 5: ESB by type of connection and NUTS3, Q4 2020|
|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 - Q4 2020|
|Estimated weight in mix (%)|
|Estimated average size of dwelling (sqm)|
|Average dwelling size (sqm)||186.9||192.0||192.6||176.7||169.0||163.8||150.0||146.2||139.8||134.4|
|Average dwelling size index (2016 = 100)||114||117||118||108||103||100||92||89||85||82|
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 is 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 Stat 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 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 on 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 less than one in five single dwellings. The match rate for apartments has increased in recent years and currently stands stand at 63% for 2020.
|Table 7: New dwelling completions and BER match rate, 2011 - Q4 2020|
|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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