Among the targets set in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness was a target to secure a doubling of housing output to 25,000 homes p.a. by 2020.
Housing is, and will remain, a top priority for the Government. The CSO reports there were 18,016 new dwelling completions in Ireland in 2018, up 25% on 2017. When account is taken of the 817 homes completed in unfinished housing developments and the 2,627 homes that were vacant for at least two years and have been returned to use, the overall number of new homes becoming available for use in 2018 was 21,460, without counting the new student bed spaces that were also brought in during that time.
The number of residential completions for 2019 will not be known until early 2020. However, trends indicate the continued expansion of supply. For example, in the year to end June 2019, the number of new homes becoming available for use increased further to 22,609. In the same period, the number of new homes in respect of which commencement notices were served reached 24,226, a 29% year on year increase. Furthermore, the rolling annual total of planning permissions for residential dwellings has exceeded 30,000 units for the first time since early 2010, up more than 21% year on year. There has been particularly strong growth in apartment planning permissions, which is very welcome given the policy thrust toward more compact urban growth.
This data provides confidence that the increasing trend in new homes delivery will continue and that the target set in that regard in Rebuilding Ireland will be achieved, supported by a range of supply-focused actions, such as streamlined and updated planning arrangements, investments in infrastructure and new apartment development and heights guidelines, are delivering results.