What is truth?

Housing, Census 2016

The prelim results for Census 2016 have been released.  The population has grown by 165K from 2011 to 4.757m.  Housing units grew by 19K to 2.022m.  Housing unit vacancy fell by 30K to 259K.  Of these 259K units, 61K are holiday homes (HH), a slight growth of 1.8K from 2011.

The map below shows vacancy nationwide and the table the 2016 figures and 2011-16 change.  I’ve added in some of my own calculations to the data available on the CSO website – vacancy rate minus holiday homes and oversupply (calculated as vacancy – holiday homes – 6% base vacancy [the rate one might expect in a ‘normal’ housing market]).

What the figures show is that while vacancy is falling everywhere, there are only three local authorities (LAs) with vacancy rates excluding HH less than 6% (DLR, Fingal, South Dublin).  These three LAs also have an undersupply of housing relative to base vacancy.  Moreover, there are still a number of local authorities that have very high vacancy levels. Longford, Westmeath, Clare, Kerry, Limerick county, North Tipp, South Tipp, Waterford City, Galway county, Donegal and Monaghan all have vacancy rates (exc HH) between 10-15%.  Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Cavan have rates above 15%.  Four of these latter local authorities were part of the Upper Shannon Renewal tax incentive scheme.  All of these local authorities still have significant oversupply of housing stock.

In other words, what the data shows is that housing supply is needed in Dublin, but there is oversupply in much of rural Ireland, especially in the North West.

vacant housing

housing county

Rob Kitchin

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