Housing shortage is even more acute than official data shows

October 2, 2017

The government’s inability to accurately count the number of new houses built each year is masking the true scale of the housing shortage, the Social Democrats said today.

The party’s co-leader Catherine Murphy TD was commenting on a Goodbody BER housebuilding tracker published today, which shows that 5,377 houses were completed in 2016. This compares to 14,932 completions indicated by government data, which relies on electricity connections figures which have proven to be unreliable.

Deputy Murphy said:

“Today’s report shows fairly conclusively that the housing shortage is even more acute than official figures show. The government’s failure to get to grips with this most basic issue is totally unforgiveable. If we don’t have accurate and reliable data on the numbers of new houses being built each year, how can we make plans for the future?

“According to the Goodbody report, house completions for 2017 will total less than 10,000 units. This is less than a third of the 35,000 annual supply that the report estimates is needed to meet demand. Once again, this government’s response to the housing and homeless crisis has been shown to be woefully inadequate.

“For example, there were 455 social housing completions in the first six months of this year from all sources nationwide. Only 10 of these social homes were completed by local authorities in the greater Dublin area, with only 75 completed by local authorities nationwide.

“Yet there are currently more than 90,000 applicants on local authority housing lists – that’s about a quarter of a million people waiting for a permanent and secure home. The latest official target is for the delivery of 20,000 social housing homes by 2021. For these waiting lists to be cleared in the next decade, we’d need to see 10,000 social units built a year, not 4,000 as is now planned.”


2 October 2017