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, an additional monthly analysis has been included for this quarter's release.
|Number of new dwelling completions|
|Quarter 4 2020||1,519||4,124||1,683||7,326|
|Quarter 4 2021||1,374||3,406||2,157||6,937|
There were 6,937 new dwelling completions in Q4 2021 bringing the total for the whole of 2021 to 20,433, just 0.5% less than the 20,526 completions in 2020. For quarter four, there was a 5.3% drop from 7,326 completions in Q4 2020. For the full year, there was a growth of 30.3% in apartment completions from 3,920 in 2020 to 5,107 in 2021. Apartments accounted for 25.0% of all completions in 2021.
The Q4 data for 2021 also shows that:
Figure 1a details the monthly breakdown of new dwelling completions for 2019, 2020 and 2021. This shows the impact of COVID-19 and associated restrictions in 2020 and 2021. With the first set of restrictions in spring 2020 and all construction essentially paused, there were only 395 completions in April of this year down 72.9% from 1,455 in April 2019. Completions then rose from this trough but were still below 2019 figures for further months until September before reaching a high of 2,830 in November - 30.6% above 2019 figures.
The beginning of 2021 was marked by further COVID-19 restrictions affecting much of the construction industry. This saw completions of 1,194 completions in January, down 25.3% on the same month in 2020, although this did not reach the low of 395 seen when pandemic restrictions were first introduced in April 2020. The impact of these restrictions on commencements in the first half of 2021 has been seen in lower completions in the third quarter of 2021. However, quarter 4 saw a similar pattern to 2020 with completions recovering to a high of 2,648 in November, albeit 6.4% below the previous year.
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. There were 1,028 bed spaces completed in the student accommodation sector in Q4 2021. Total completed bed spaces since Q2 2016 stand at 12,149.
The ESB domestic connections dataset provides information on the type of connection and whether it is in an urban or rural area. In Q4 2021 the number of completions in urban areas was 5,739, falling 5.0% from 6,038 in Q4 2020. In rural areas, there was a slightly greater relative drop of 7.0% from 1,288 in Q4 2020 to 1,198 this quarter. In Q4 2021 82.7% of new dwelling completions were in urban areas with 17.3% being in rural areas. For the whole of 2021, over four-fifths (80.3%) of completions were in urban areas with 19.7% in rural areas. This is the highest proportion in urban areas since the series began in 2011. See Table 2.
At a regional level, four regions - Midlands, Dublin, Mid-West and South-East - saw an increase in completions in 2021 from 2020. This highest relative rise was in the Mid-West where there was a 10.6% increase from 2020. In Dublin, there was just an increase of 2.7%. The largest relative decrease was in the West where there was an 11.7% drop with a 7.3% decrease in the Border region. See Figure 2.
There were close to four thousand (3,971) apartments completed in Dublin in 2021 representing over three-quarters (77.8%) of apartments completed in the country. This percentage rose to 88.2% when looking at just Q4. Of all completions in Dublin in 2021, 64.0% were apartments.
In Dublin City, there were 1,782 apartments completed in 2021 and 906 in Q4 alone. Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown also had over a thousand (1,065) apartments completed in 2021 while Kildare (252) and Wicklow (130) were the only local authorities outside of Dublin with more than 100 apartments completed
The Mid-East region accounted for around a third (33.1% - 3,523) of the total scheme dwellings in 2021 with 15.1% (1,604) in Kildare alone. Kildare was the local authority with the second highest total number of completions in the year (2,027) and the quarter (682) - in both cases behind Dublin City. The Mid-East region saw a small drop of 2.6% in total completions from 2020 to 2021.
The highest number of single dwelling completions in the year was the West region (774) followed by the South-West (763). The local authority with the highest number of single completions in the year was Cork County (503), where there was also the most in the quarter (147). See Table 3 and PxStat tables NDQ05 and NDQ06.
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 have been revised to now be based on the new boundaries. However, data within archived releases have stayed as is.
|Year on Year Change|
The Local Electoral Area with the highest number of new dwelling completions in 2021 was Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart with 712. The area with the next highest number of completions was Howth-Malahide with 491, followed by Maynooth (457). All the top ten Local Electoral Areas with the most completions were in Dublin, Kildare or Meath. 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. For the first time, data is also available at a settlement level in the annual table NDA06. There were 20 settlements with more than 100 completions in 2021. Outside of the cities, Dundalk was the settlement with the most completions with 288, with Carlow and Greystones-Delgany next highest with 253 and 200 respectively.
There was a total of 8,004 domestic ESB connections in Q4 2021 - down 7.3% on the 8,638 connections in Q4 2020 - bringing the total connections in 2021 to 24,639. 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 86.7% this quarter, which is the highest it has been since the series began in 2011.
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 655 reconnections in Q4 2021, down 13.9% from 761 in Q4 2020. Reconnections accounted for 8.2% of all ESB connections this quarter.
The number and proportion of previously finished dwellings in unfinished housing developments (UFHDs) continued to drop, with only 1.2% of all ESB domestic connections in Q4 2021 amounting to 97. In Q3 2014, UFHDs accounted for 24.4% of connections. The number of non-dwellings - mostly farm buildings - has risen 2.3% from 308 in Q4 2020 to 315 in Q4 2021. See Figure 5 and Table 4.
Table 5 shows the type of ESB connection by NUTS3 region in Q4 2021. The highest number of reconnections (137) and UFHDs (29) were in the Border region. The West region had the highest number of non-dwellings (58). Dublin had the highest proportion of connections being new dwelling completions (96.7%) with the Border region having the lowest (61.4%).
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 - to 79 in 2021 - is driven by both 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)|
Figure 7 shows a more detailed breakdown of scheme dwellings where they can be matched with a BER certificate. The proportion of detached scheme dwellings has gradually decreased from 20.7% in 2014 to 9.7% in 2021. In 2021, 49.5% of matched scheme dwellings were semi-detached, this percentage has stayed fairly static since 2014.
|Detached||Semi-Detached||Mid-Terrace||End of Terrace||Other|
|Table 1: New dwelling completions by type of dwelling, 2011 - Q4 2021|
|Table 2: New dwelling completions by urban-rural divide, 2011 - Q4 2021|
|Table 3: New dwelling completions by type of dwelling and Local Authority - Q4 2021|
|Local Authority||Single||Scheme||Apartment||Total - Q4 2021|
|Note: Local Authority based on substation of dwelling where available|
|Table 4: ESB by Type of connection, 2011 - Q4 2021|
|Table 5: ESB by type of connection and NUTS3, Q4 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 - Q4 2021|
|Estimated weight in mix (%)|
|Estimated average size of dwelling (sqm)|
|Average dwelling size (sqm)||188.4||194.5||193.9||177.2||169.5||163.7||150.8||146.4||140.7||136.6||129.4|
|Average dwelling size index (2016 = 100)||115||119||118||108||104||100||92||89||86||83||79|
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 2018 and 2020, 95% of scheme dwellings had a BER certificate compared to about a quarter of single dwellings. The match rate for apartments has increased in recent years and stood at 83% in 2020. Figures are less for 2021 as there can be a lag in the BER assessments of new properties.
|Table 7: New dwelling completions and BER match rate, 2011 - Q4 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 GroupHide Background Notes and Methodology
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