The meagre annual rise in house building completions shows that Northern Ireland is only delivering half the number of new homes it needs to meet demand, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Northern Ireland.
Gavin McGuire, Director of FMB Northern Ireland, said: “We should be building 11,000 new homes a year in Northern Ireland but we are barely halfway to hitting that target. A 2% annual increase at a time of an acute housing shortage is inadequate. The NI house building industry is still yet to recover from the damage done in the wake of the financial crisis and it will take bold Government action to revitalise the sector.”
McGuire concluded: “Empowering the SME house building sector is now more essential than ever. Smaller scale developers, which are particularly important in Northern Ireland, struggle under the weight of an inefficient and unresponsive planning system that is in urgent need of simplification and investment. Skills shortages also remain incredibly pronounced, which is sagging on the industry’s ability to increase output. There is also the issue of access to finance, which remains an impediment to the ability of SMEs to grow and deliver more homes. There are plenty of options available to the NI Executive but it must seize upon them now, otherwise the country’s housing deficit will only continue to increase.”