A total of 1,213 houses were built in Cork in 2012, a drop of 17% on the previous year, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). During 2011 there were 1,459 houses built in Cork but that number fell by 246 during the last 12 months. In Cork County the number of housing units built fell from 1,332 to 965, which represents a fall of 367 within the course of the year. This represented a drop of 28% over 12 months. There was an increase in the number of units built in Cork City however with 248 units built compared to 127 the year before – an increase of 121 units or 95%. The latest CIF Housing Statistics Bulletin also reveals that there was a drop in the number of starts in house units during the first eleven months of 2012 in Cork. The number of new starts was down by 13% from 463 to 405, a drop of 58 units. The figures for Cork County show the number of starts went from 450 to 376 over the comparative periods between 2011 and 2012, a drop of 74 units or 16%. However there was an increase in Cork City, going from 13 starts in the first 11 months of 2011 to 29 units during 2012, an increase of 16 units. A total of 8,488 houses were built in Ireland during 2012, according to new figures published by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). This represents a drop of 1,992 or 19% on the figure for 2011 when a total of 10,480 houses were completed. Despite the 2011 and 2012 each having set a low benchmark for the number of completed residential units, the CIF is also predicting that the coming year will see a further slight reduction. This is based on the drop in residential unit commencements for the first 11 months of 2012. Only 3,895 new units had been started by the end of November 2012, which is 336 units below the comparative figure for 2011 when work had begun on 4,231 units. This represents a drop of 8%. According to the latest CIF Housing Statistics Bulletin, the largest number of house completions during 2012 were in Dublin, Cork and Galway respectively. In Dublin 1,266 units were completed, in Cork 1,213 were finished and a further 499 were built in Galway. The largest percentage drops in house completions during 2012 were in Galway City (56% drop), Kilkenny (46% drop), Fingal (45% drop) Tipperary (41% drop), Carlow (39% drop) and Mayo (38% drop). The number of units completed increased during 2012 in Limerick City (up 130%), Cork City (up by 95%), South Dublin (up by 38%), Longford (up by 29%), Sligo (up by 19%), Laois (up by 17%) and Louth (up 4%). During the first 11 months of 2012 the largest number of commencements were also in Dublin (753 units), Cork (405 units) and Galway (350 units). The biggest percentage drops in commencements took place in Cavan (down 79%), Waterford County (down 56%), Louth (down 46%) and Monaghan (down 36%). There were increases in the number of commencements in Limerick, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Dublin City, Cork City, South Dublin, Kildare, Galway and Wexford. Speaking about the figures, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said, “2012 was a very difficult year for the house building industry throughout the country, although there are signs of increased activity in some urban areas, including Cork City. During the coming year it looks like we will see another drop in the number of houses built around the country. The level of commencements for the first eleven months of 2012 were down by 8% on the same period for the year before. A drop in the number of new builds commencing leads to a fall in the number of completions. “We are hearing about work beginning on a number of new or housing developments or an expansion of existing projects so that may lead to an increase in completions for the latter half of 2013. But overall the low commencement rate for 2012 has led us to forecast another drop in housing units built during the coming year. “There is no doubt that house building reached unsustainable levels during the boom years, but the industry has now gone through six successive years of decline. The ESRI estimates that this country requires 15,000 – 20,000 new homes to be built each year but we are significantly below that figure. “However there are some positive indicators which should start to impact on the sector soon. The commencement figures detail an increase in new builds in urban areas. This tallies with the increased demand for residential property in these areas which has been highlighted by the various property market commentators and estate agents. “The banks have also promised to increase the level of mortgages during the coming 12 months. If that funding is provided it should help stimulate the industry and lead to further demand, particularly in the urban areas where there are low levels of vacant housing stock as detailed in the latest National Housing Development Survey,” Mr. Parlon concluded.