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Housebuilding numbers in Galway show an increase

Construction work began on almost 1,200 new homes across Galway last year, according to new figures suggesting housing supply will increase in 2024.

The new data on commencement notices for new residential construction starts comes as a global index found Galway was the eighth most expensive European city to rent in per square metre – leading to calls for the re-introduction of a ban on no-fault evictions.

Commencement Notices for new homes received by Building Control Authorities showed there had been 282 construction starts in Galway City last year. This was an increase of 158% on 2022, when construction started on just 109 units.

In County Galway, there were a total of 890 Commencement Notices received – up by 13% on the 787 construction starts in 2022.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien hailed the figures as evidence housing supply was increasing and there was a “robust stock of new housing in the pipeline”.

Nationally, the data shows that between January and December 2023, 32,801 Commencement Notices for new homes were received – up 21.5% on the previous year and the highest level since records began in 2014.

“Government initiatives introduced last year such as the development levy waiver and the Irish Water rebate are clearly having a positive impact on the viability of projects. Combined with supports for first-time buyers such as Help-to-Buy and the First Home Scheme we can really see momentum building,” Minister O’Brien said.

The news comes as a report showed Galway was the eighth most expensive European city for rent per square metre.

The Deloitte Property Index 2023 found Galway renters are paying €22.40 per square metre, per month. Dublin ranked the most expensive ahead of Paris in second place.

Galway as more expensive than Madrid, Copenhagen, outer London, Frankfurt, and many other major cities.

People Before Profit Local Election candidate for Galway City Central, Adrian Curran, said the report confirmed what renters already know.

“As renters in Galway, we are being ripped off. To live in this city, we’re left with no choice but to pay over the odds for often substandard housing. I am currently facing a no-fault eviction and I’m finding it impossible to find anywhere affordable to move into,” Mr Curran said.

PBP has called for the re-introduction of a ban on no-fault evictions.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin criticised the Government for allowing vulture funds to buy new housing estates.

“Our local government in Galway City has failed to deliver social homes and built no affordable homes while the private market has investment vulture funds competing with regular buyers,” said Mark Lohan, the party’s City Central Local Election candidate.

He said the Government should’ve accepted a motion in the Dail by Sinn Féin to apply 17% Stamp Duty on to bulk buyers of homes “to discourage this type of vulture investing by giant overseas funds”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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