The number of new homes completed in Northern Ireland falls to lowest point in 64 years

Just 5,379 new dwellings were completed in the north during 2023, the lowest annual figure since 1959

Gloved hand laying a red brick with mortar on a new wall.
Close up of industrial bricklayer installing bricks on construction site The number of new dwellings completed during 2023 was the weakest on record for the north's housing market. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The number of new homes completed by builders in Northern Ireland fell to its lowest level in more than 64 years during 2023.

Just 5,379 new dwellings were completed in the north last year, more than 2,000 less than the 7,416 built in 2021.

Last year was the lowest since Land & Property Services (LPS) commenced its current annual data series in 2005.

But research from Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey has revealed that the 5,379 figure for last year is the lowest annual completion rate for houses in Northern Ireland since 1959.

Just two other years have recorded weaker home completion rates in the north since 1949 - 1958 (4,940) & 1959 (4,890).

Official figures show 5,779 new dwellings were started in 2023, the lowest since 2012 and 1,734 less than the 7,513 new starts in 2021.

The data also shows 570 social housing dwellings completed in 2023, almost 200 below the 2022 total and the lowest annual number since 2008.

“A housing supply crisis is one of Stormont’s biggest challenges,” said Richard Ramsey.

Meanwhile, the latest Northern Ireland house price index published on Wednesday, showed the average price of a home fell by 0.9% in the final quarter of 2023.

The official LPS index put the average price at £177,611 for the October to December 2023 period, some 1.4% higher than 12 months earlier.

House prices in Northern Ireland initially decreased by 2% in the first three months of 2023, before climbing again by 1.3% in the second and 3% in the third quarter, reaching £179,179, the highest prices seen in the north since 2008.

Last year’s price increases were generally attributed to the competition for the north’s dwindling housing stock.

The latest house price index shows the average price for all property types decreased in the fourth quarters of last year.

Detached prices dipped by -0.6% to £273,537 in Q4; semi-detached houses dropped 0.2% to £172,281; terrace properties dipped by 1.6% to £122,712; and apartments fell by 1.7% to £130,839.

Table showing price changes in the fourth quarter of 2023 in Northern Ireland by each of the 11 council areas.
House price index and standardised price in each council area Q4 2023. (LPS)

Compiled by LPS and statistics body Nisra, the latest official index was based on 5,320 residential properties sold in the final quarter of 2023.

The average ranged from £158,193 in Fermanagh and Omagh to £204,885 in Lisburn and Castlereagh.

But prices did not come down in every area during the last quarter.

Four of the north’s 11 council areas recorded increases in Q4 2023: Ards and North Down (+1.6%); Causeway Coast and Glens (+1%); Fermanagh and Omagh (+1.4%); and Mid and East Antrim (+0.9%).

NI house price index by property type.
NI house price index by property type. (LPS)