Source: Westmeath Examiner
Only 100 houses were built in Westmeath in the first nine months of the year. That’s according to newly published figures from the CSO, which revealed that in the third quarter of this year 35 new dwellings were completed. The total number of completions from January 1 to the end of September, at 100, was eight more than the same period last year. Nationally there were 4,763 new completions in the third quarter, a year on year increase of 23%.
According to the quarterly figures compiled by the CSO, in the seven-year period between the start of 2001 and the end of 2017, 652 new houses were completed in Westmeath, more than 1000 fewer than the number of homes completed in the year of 2007 alone. Speaking after the figures were published the General Manager of property developing firm GPD.
Aaron Willis, said that while completions are rising, they are not rising fast enough. “The CSO has just released the Q3 2018 new dwelling figures – which should be met with a cautious optimism. There is progress, but the figures show that in Westmeath there were just 35 completions in total, which makes 100 so far this year- and this is simply not enough. “This increase is welcomed, but does not make up for the fact that construction has decreased by over 50% overall in the last decade.
“What is for sure that is the industry will rise to the challenge and we will ensure the increased volume will be met. However, we now need a sustained approach starting with the overhaul and improvement of procurement routes, coupled with a detailed understanding of Governments plans for building Ireland, so that the industry can plan ahead.”
Mr Willis also said that if housing needs of the country are to be met, more needs to be done to entice home the thousands of construction who emigrated during the recession.
“There were 108,720 people employed in the Irish construction sector in 2015 – but less than 10 years before that we had a labour force of 281,800 in the industry. Clearly, something must be done about the fact that our building and construction workforce has depleted by so much. The recession hit, and people left the country – we must entice them to come home. Also, during the downturn, a career in construction was a risky if not a futile move – so less and less young people entered the field. It is now incumbent upon us to present trades and other building related skills as an attractive career proposition.”