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Applications for house builds rise

New figures have shown a rise in applications to build new houses in Northern Ireland, supporting local constructors’ hopes for a recovery in the market in 2010.

The National House Building Council said that during the three months October to December 2009, NHBC received 906 applications to build new homes in Northern Ireland — a 102% increase on the same three month period in 2008 of 449.

Applications to build new homes during December 2009 were 36% higher than the same month last year.

That brings new-build registrations in 2009 to 3,527, 13% higher than 2008 (3,134).

The most positive growth in terms of housebuilding came in Co Antrim and Co Down, which experienced 219% and 126% growth respectively, when compared to the same three-month period a year ago. On the flipside, Co Fermanagh and Co Tyrone registered a decrease in new housing applications, with drops of 21% and 30% respectively.

The association welcomed the figures, which indicate that the slump in housebuilding brought about by the crash in property prices and lack of available lending to homebuyers could be over.

David Little, NHBC director for Northern Ireland, said: “It is certainly encouraging that house building activity in Northern Ireland has picked up during the course of 2009 and we remain cautiously optimistic for 2010.

“House builders now need to see a reasonable level of mortgage lending to ensure that the prospect of a recovery becomes a reality. This year is likely to become a defining point in the house building sector which will determine whether or not the obvious demand for new housing, both private and social, will be met.”

Of the 906 applications to start new homes in the combined private and public sectors during the three months to the end of December 2009, 843 were related to private sector activity excluding housing associations.

This was 98% higher than the same three-month period a year ago — 425.

Belfast Telegraph