Coronavirus impact on construction revealed as housing completions plummet 61 per cent
The number of new homes being completed in Northern Ireland has fallen 61 per cent, according to new statistics released today by the Department for Communities.
The department’s Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin shows the number of dwellings finished over April to June was 691. This compares with 1790 during the same quarter last year.
Justin Cartwright, Chartered Institute of Housing director for Northern Ireland, said: “Today’s figures show the scale of the coronavirus impact on housebuilding. Some construction work was halted altogether, while other sites that were almost finished were completed with precautionary measures in place.
“Now more site work is underway but at a slower pace, as housebuilders take a safe and cautious approach. Completions will take longer due to social distancing measures, and there is a significant impact on productivity, particularly access to and cost of construction materials. Looking ahead our members anticipate construction will be affected for some time.
“The pandemic has affected all corners of the housing market, not just development. For the 260,000 households who are tenants of private or social landlords in Northern Ireland, a central part of their hardship has been the struggle to pay rent and worrying if they will be able to keep their home.
“Governments and landlords have taken welcome action to protect tenants from eviction and help them meet their housing costs in the current crisis. It shows in today’s statistics – the number of households who were homeless due to losing their rented accommodation has fallen by 66 per cent, according to the bulletin.
“But the respite is only temporary. Once the furlough scheme ends and the courts begin hearing more eviction cases, the Housing Executive could be overwhelmed if there is a sudden growth in evictions due to rent arrears.
“Government must act now to avoid a future evictions spike. The actions taken during the crisis show what can be achieved in preventing homelessness.”