Tuesday, June 25, 2013

25/6/2013: Planning Permissions in Ireland: Q1 2013

The latest data on Planning Permissions was released by the CSO under a rather cheerful headline: "Dwelling units approved up 24.7% in Q1 2013" which prompted me to start writing a positive note. However, having updated the database, I could not believe my eyes. Not until the third bullet point in the release do you get the sense as to what is really going on in the sector - the fact confirmed by looking at CSO data, rather than reading the CSO release which focuses the top points of analysis on positive side of select sub-components of the overall sector performance. So here are the facts, as conveyed to us by the data itself.

In Q1 2013, total number of planning permissions granted in Ireland for all types of construction stood at 3,275, which is 1.35% down on Q4 2012. This marks de-acceleration of seasonally-driven 17.96% q/q decline recorded in Q4 2012. However, on an annual basis, allowing for some seasonality controls, overall number of planning permissions granted in Q1 2013 was down 2.76%, which contrasts against an annual increase recorded in Q4 2012 of 1.13%.

In summary, things are not going well at all. Q1 2013 marks an absolute historic low for any quarter since Q1 1975! That's right: we hit an absolute historic low in 37 years and CSO release says things are 'up' by focusing on sub-series before it reports in the text the actual aggregates.

In charts below, I marked current sub-period (since Q1 2010) low against historic low before the current crisis. Take a look.

Note: in Q1 2013,

  • Total number of planning permissions hit a historic low (as mentioned above)
  • Total number of permissions for dwellings stood at 862, the second lowest after the historic low of 832 hit in Q4 2012.
  • Total number of permissions for 'other new construction ex-dwellings' stood at 785, which is above the historic low of 636, but still marks a decline q/q.
  • Number of permissions for extensions hit a historic low.
  • Number of Alterations, conversions, renovations etc hit a historic low. 
Again, I find little to cheer in the above...
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