Residential planning approvals down 31pc in February

Residential planning approvals fell by 31% in February compared to the same time last year, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Development. In total there were 13,906 planning approvals in February.

A fall of more than 30% sounds like terrible news for the industry, which it is, but compared to previous falls it’s actually a slight improvement. The number of new homes started fell by 58% in 2009, and by 36% in January, so February’s fell might be the first sign of bottoming out.

As usual, the vast majority of planning approvals (75%) were for blocks of flats, which fell by 32%. The remainder were for detached and semi-detached houses, which fell by 28%.

Another spec of good news was an increase in the number of refurbishments, which rose by 3% year-on-year. At least refurbs are keeping some construction sector workers busy.

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