There was a big increase in the number of housing projects completed in the final three months of last year, new Central Statistics Office figures show.
That push brought the number of new dwellings last year close to the number completed in 2019, the CSO said.
The CSO figures published today show that the number of new dwellings completed last year was 20,676 – just 1.9% below the 21,087 completed in 2019.
Many construction projects were suspended for several months last year due to coronavirus restrictions.
The big increase came mostly from a 45.6% increase in the completion of apartments in the final quarter compared to the same period in 2019.
That resulted in an annual increase in apartment completions of 14.5% compared to 2019. 4,014 were completed in 2020 compared to 3,507 in 2019.
Over three quarters of the apartments completed were in Dublin. Just under 30% were in the Mid East, the CSO said.
The number of single dwellings completed in 2020 fell by 2.6% over the year to 4,937. The number of housing scheme units fell by 6.3% to 11,725.
In 2020, the CSO said that 56.7% of the units completed were in housing schemes. 23.9% were single dwellings and 19.4% were apartments.
The fourth quarter last year was the first quarter since the series began in 2011 when more apartments than single dwellings were completed.
A Central Bank study in 2019 estimated that between 26,500 and 34,000 homes a year would need to be built each year up to 2030 to keep up with changes in the population.
Commenting on the figures, Trevor Grant, Chairperson of the Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors said a lack of supply and no shortage of qualified mortgage borrowers seeking homes is making for a “very competitive market.”
“Today’s report shows that although there was a late surge in new dwelling completions in the final quarter of last year, the total number of builds for 2020 was still slightly lower than 2019.
“In an already squeezed property market, where demand has consistently exceeded supply, the lack of supply of suitable properties will continue be an issue this year and will impact those looking for a home in 2021,” he said.