Given the level of interest that the Housing Completion Statistics have stimulated in the wider media I think it's worth starting a thread on it. Housebuilding figures are inflated, TDs told
, - TheTimes.co.uk
The number of new houses being built each year has been “artificially inflated”, the Oireachtas housing committee has been told.
The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government reported a steady rise in housebuilding activity since 2013.
Critics have questioned the accuracy of the data, which is based on new ESB connections made during the year.
At the committee meeting on Wednesday Lorcan Sirr, a housing policy lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology, said that the margin of error in the department’s figures was “certainly more” than a fifth.
“Connection or re-connection to the electricity grid is a very unreliable method of assessing levels of housebuilding,” Mr Sirr, who writes a column on housing for The Sunday Times, said.
“When different measures are used, for example stamp duty transactions and other market indicators, it can be reliably calculated that the numbers of new houses and apartments being built each year is about half of what the official ‘completion’ statistics suggest.”
Mr Sirr said that several factors contributed to the inaccuracy of the official statistics. One was that units that have been vacant for more than two years require a new connection to the electricity grid for safety reasons.
Mr Sirr said a mix of ghost estates and residential units in Nama that have been recently reconnected to the grid have been propping up the statistics.
“In effect, we are building far fewer houses than we think, perhaps just over 8,000 in 2016, which casts serious doubt over the government’s plan to build an average of 25,000 houses per annum between this year and 2021.”
And now they're writing about it in The Village magazine!