Fewer new homes than last year in NI

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News

The number of new homes completed in Northern Ireland has decreased by a tenth since last year.

A total of 1,295 dwellings were recorded for April to June this year, official figures showed.

However, almost 5,000 households presented to the Housing Executive as homeless during the same period, most commonly because their accommodation was not reasonable or because of a family dispute, according to the Department for Social Development.

Last year, 2,013 new low cost social houses were started.

The Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin is produced each quarter by the Department.

It said the number of sales of new homes fell by 17 per cent during the quarter ending March this year compared to the same period the previous year.

The average price was £167,700, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous quarter (£149,900).

Justin Cartwright, policy and public affairs officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing Northern Ireland, said in total, 1,828 new homes were started during April to June - the highest level of new starts since mid-2011.

He said: “This is excellent news. Housing associations have performed particularly well - they have more than doubled the number of social homes started since the same quarter in 2014, driving up the overall number of new starts while the private sector continues its gradual recovery.”

But he said the fall in completed homes was disappointing.

“We should see the increase in starts reflected in these figures in due course.

“However, it’s vital that we keep looking for ways to build more homes - we need to build more than 11,000 each year to provide enough social homes for people who are in housing stress and to stabilise the housing market.

“Today’s statistics suggest we’re still only building around half of what’s needed.”

While the increasing trend in house sales has slowed, we are seeing stable growth in house prices which is good news for households in negative equity, he added.

“These statistics point to a stabilising housing market - we now need to make the most of the green shoots of recovery to tackle the chronic housing shortage.

“Private sector house building is critical to building the number of homes we need - our members tell us land supply, capacity and planning issues are the main barriers to development. We need government-led initiatives to break these barriers down.”