Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland house-building numbers up in 2015/16

House-building Image copyright PA

The number of new housing 'starts' in Northern Ireland hit its highest level in five years in 2015/16, according to the latest official figures.

A housing start refers to the beginning of work on a residential property, such as the laying of foundations.

Last year, there were 6,713 starts, up 12% compared to the 5,990 in 2014/15.

That compares to more than 15,000 starts in 2005, which was the peak year.

The number of houses completed also increased slightly year-on-year from 5,501 to 5,622.

The Department for Communities, which produces the figures, said the increase in new starts was primarily due to social housing development.

Speculative development

Social housing starts increased by 58% from the previous year, while private owner/speculative development starts increased by just 6%.

However, private sector completions increased by 8% from the previous year, while social housing completions decreased by 27%.

There was a slight fall in residential planning applications from 7,339 to 7,192.

Of the 6,541 planning decisions made in 2015-16, 94% were granted.

The majority of residential planning decisions granted related to rural new single dwellings (26%) and urban extensions and alterations (25%).

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