BPFI Housing Market Monitor Q2 2020

House completions likely to be down by 14% in 2020, says BPFI

House completions should be around 18,000 units in 2020, down from over 21,000 in 2019 or some 14% year on year and similar to 2018 levels, according to the latest Housing Market Monitor from Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

Drawing on BPFI data as well as a range of other published research for its assessment of the current state of the housing and mortgage markets, the latest BPFI Housing Market Monitor draws attention to some key findings as follows:

  • The housing construction sector has been more resilient than anticipated in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Central Statistics Office data indicate that house completions fell by as much as 72.7% year-on-year in April 2020 but fell by only 5.9% year-on-year in June 2020, so the total number of completions in 2020 is still likely to show a considerable drop on the previous year.  Dublin and Cork are the hardest hit regions.  The final outturn for this year is likely to be around 18,000 units, some 14%down on the 21,000units completed in 2019 and on a par with the 2018 level.
  • As expected, mortgage drawdown activity has also seen a decline.  The 15,350 mortgages drawn down to a value of €3.46 billion during the first half of 2020 reflects a fall of around 18% and 16% in volume and value terms respectively compared with the same period in 2019. The total number of approvals in the first seven months of 2020 were 20,251 with a total value of around €4.8 billion compared to €6.6 billion in the same period in 2019, a decline of around 30% in value terms. When we look at annualized mortgage approval activity, which reflects activity over the past 12 months, we see that mortgage approval activity to end-July 2020 was down by 4.1% by volume and 3.7% by value.

Commenting on the pipeline for mortgage market activity, Dr Ali Uğur, Chief Economist, BPFI, states:

While data from the Central Credit Register show that lender enquiries related to new mortgage applications fell by over 50% between February and May of this year, by August this number had picked up again to the level observed back in February.”  He goes on to point out: “First- time buyers accounted for around 57% of the value of all mortgage approvals in July, which is the highest ratio since this series began in July 2014”.

And on the issue of house completions Dr Uğur had this to say:

“Before the pandemic housing completions for 2020 were estimated to be around 25,000 units.  However, with the construction sector still operating at around 85% of capacity at the moment in addition to significant lost output during most of the second quarter of 2020, it is unlikely that we will reach this output level with completions expected to reach only 18,000 this year.”

Notes: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has some 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

The BPFI Housing Marking Monitor is published quarterly. In addition to presenting a unique range of loan-level data, the Monitor draws on a range of published data under the three key headings of housing supply, housing prices and rents, and housing transactions in its assessment of the current state of the housing market.

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, 087 9016880 or

The BPFI Housing Market Monitor Q2 2020 is available for download below in PDF format.