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New Housebuilding Activity in Northern Ireland down by 16%

The National House Building Council (NHBC) has confirmed that construction began on 651 new-build homes during the first three months of 2016, representing a decrease from 777 the year before.

The latest figures revealed that 2,831 new residences were completed in the April 2015-16 accounting year, a 9% increase from the previous year’s total of 2,598.

Construction started on over 3,000 new homes during the financial year, revealing an activity growth of 14% on the year before.

However, the Construction Employers Federation and other building groups stated that around 11,000 new homes should be built in Northern Ireland every year in order to accommodate ongoing demand for housing.

The managing director of Hagan Homes, prominent Northern Ireland housebuilder, said that they see ongoing improvement in the market, and while registrations are down for the first quarter, build programmes can help bring them back up. Year-on-year completion figures are expected to increase as the months progress.

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The housebuilder added that a new £5m development near Fairhill Crescent in Carnmoney had aroused high levels of interest that has largely been absent since the housing crash.

Lagan Homes director Conor Mulligan said that figures are frequently at odds with widely-touted announcements of new property developments.

Fraser Homes recently announced a new development in Newtownards that will consist of approximately 1,000 new homes as well as 75 new Belfast apartments.

Mr Mulligan said that the planning lag accounts for the difference, so new housing scheme announcements can take months or even years to materialise into actual new properties that are ready to buy and move into.

He explained that recent announcements from prominent housebuilders in Northern Ireland have been integrated into the supply side. The hope and expectation is that with the shifting of planning power into local control, the confidence demonstrated by those investments will soon be mirrored in the increased output of much-needed new homes.

Last month the housing sector in Northern Ireland was in the spotlight when Fraser Houses announced the province’s largest housebuilding project for a decade. A £200 million scheme will see 1,000 new homes built in Newtownards.

Mr Alan Fraser of Fraser Houses said the project was starting just as property demand and market confidence were both on the rise in Northern Ireland.

In the meanwhile, there was also a UK-wide decrease in the registration of new residences during the first quarter of 2016. The drop from 40,144 to 36,566 represents a slump of 9%.

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