Geodirectory, a company owned by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland, has released figures concerning the number of buildings it added to its address database in 2010.  In total, 17,587 new buildings were added (it’s not clear if these are completed works or buildings commenced, as Geodirectory does add underconstruction buildings to its database, tracking their development; it’s also not clear whether this is simply buildings or address points, as several addresses can be located in one building, but even so the figures reveal the extent of the construction slow down).  14,495 were new residential buildings, 2,137 commercial buildings and 955 dual-purpose buildings.  These figures are 23% down on 2009 (61% in Dublin where 982 buildings were added) and 82% down on 2006.  Counties Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Sligo and Wexford bucked the national trend and showed small increases to their building stocks last year, with Leitrim increasing by 33% (329 new buildings).  The number of residential and commerical buildings in the state stands at 1,878,824 (there are more address points).  The data clearly shows the drop off in construction activity and Geodirectory expect about the same number of stock to be added in 2011.  The key question, however, is the extent to which these new buildings have occupiers and are likely to find occupiers in the short to medium term.  The office market in Dublin is presently running a 21% vacancy rate (see here and here).  The residential vacancy rate is estimated to be c. 15%.  And whilst the additions to stock are small and most legacy projects and one-off housing, it is nevertheless additions to stock for which there is seemingly very little demand.  Of course, there is a geography to all of this, and we would expect some areas to come back much more quickly than others, it looks like 2012 and 2013, and perhaps a number of years after, will be lean years for the building construction sector in order to re-align supply and demand needed for a normal functioning market.

Rob Kitchin