The Northern Ireland Housing Statistics 2015-16 is released

Date published: 14 December 2016

A report entitled “Northern Ireland Housing Statistics 2015-16” was published today by the Department for Communities (DfC).

Statistical graphic showing plastic houses

The Northern Ireland Housing Statistics report is produced each year by the Analytical Services Unit of the Department for Communities. This report is an annual compendium of statistics containing information on a range of areas relating to housing.

Key facts include:


  • There were 776,526 dwellings in Northern Ireland in April 2016, a rise of 5,393 (0.7%) from 2015 (771,133). The volume of housing stock has increased year on year throughout the time series with the rate of growth fluctuating.
  • In 2015-16, there were 5,622 new dwelling completions recorded by Building Control, an increase of 2% from the previous year (5,501).
  • During 2015-16 there were 1,209 Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP) new dwelling completions, a fall of 27% from 2014-15 (1,658). Figures for the SHDP are sourced from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
  • The volume of Housing Output in the second quarter (April-June) of 2016 decreased by 2.7% compared to the previous quarter and was 4.3% lower than the same quarter in 2015.
  • In 2015-16, there were 7,192 residential planning applications; this is a decrease of 2% on the previous year.  In 2015-16 there were 6,541 decisions, and of these 94% were granted (6,143).                                                                                  


  • Between September 2012 and March 2016 grants for 31,255 replacement boilers were approved, amounting to almost £21.4 million.  This equates to an average grant of £684 per household.
  • In the year ended 31st March 2016 there were 5,318 approvals for the ‘Affordable Warmth Scheme’ issued, and 3,057 homes had been improved. The total spend for the scheme since it began in September 2014 until 31st March 2016 was £12.2 million. 

Social Renting Demand

  • The average weekly rent (excluding rates and service charges) charged by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive was £66.60 in 2015-16. This is an increase of 5% from the previous year (£63.46).
  • The average weekly rent (excluding rates and service charges) charged by Housing Associations in 2014-15 (latest available) was £76.73, a rise of 4% from the previous year (£73.81).
  • In total, 18,628 households presented as homeless to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in 2015-16, a decrease of 5% from the previous year (19,621). The household types with the highest number of homeless presenters in 2015-16 were single males (34%) and families (32%).
  • In 2015-16, of the 18,628 households presenting as homeless 11,202 households (60%) were accepted as full duty applicants and 5,442 (29%) were rejected. Of those households accepted as full duty applicants during the year 3,303 were discharged.

Private Renting Demand

  • The average (median) rent per week for the private rented sector in Northern Ireland in 2014-15 was £94, £38 below the UK average (£132) and lower than England (£138), Scotland (£114) and Wales (£114). Figures pertaining to private rents are sourced from the Family Resources Survey; the latest year available for analysis is 2014-15.
  • The average (median) rent per week for the social rented sector in Northern Ireland in 2014-15 was £73, £15 lower than the UK average (£88) and £21 lower than that of the private rented sector.
  • Thirty five percent of private renters in Northern Ireland paid £100 or more per week compared to 72% of private renters in the UK.

Owner Occupied Demand

  • The number of completed applications for the Co-Ownership Housing Scheme in 2015-16 was 728. This is a decrease of 36% from 2014-15 (1,140). The median price of a property purchased through the scheme during 2015-16 was £119,500.
  • The number of loans for first time buyers and home movers in 2015 was 7,500 and 5,700 respectively. In comparison to 2014, the figure for first time buyers has not fluctuated by much but there has been a slight increase of 4% for home movers.
  • The number of mortgage cases received by the Chancery Division of the Northern Ireland High Court in 2015-16 was 1,254, 48% lower than 2014-15.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Northern Ireland Housing Statistics is an annual compendium of statistics. The publication is divided into sections covering: Supply; Energy; Social Renting Demand; Private Renting Demand; Owner Occupier Demand and Household Characteristics.
  2. Housing stock data are based on administrative data published by Land and Property Services.
  3. Building Control New Dwelling Starts and Completions data are published by Land and Property Services (LPS).  The starts and completions data for the social sector are sourced from the NIHE which manages the Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP).
  4. Data on the volume of Housing Output in Northern Ireland is obtained from the Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin. Housing Output is defined as all public and private sector construction activity (New Work and Repair & Maintenance) associated with Housing. Repair and Maintenance work in relation to housing includes repairs, maintenance, improvements, house/ flat conversions, extensions, alterations and redecoration on existing housing.
  5. Data on residential planning applications and decisions are sourced from the Department for Infrastructure.
  6. Data on the Warm Homes, Affordable Warmth and Boiler Replacement Scheme are sourced from the NIHE.
  7. Statistics on NIHE average rents are sourced from the NIHE whilst statistics on Housing Association average rents are based on information collected by DfC on social housing stock owned by its registered Housing Associations (HAs).
  8. Statistics on homelessness are sourced from the NIHE. Where the Housing Executive concludes that an applicant is eligible, homeless (threatened with homelessness), in priority need and unintentionally homeless it owes them full housing duty. An applicant to whom full housing duty is owed is referred to as a “Full Duty Applicant” – FDA.  In this case the Executive shall ensure that accommodation becomes available for their occupation. The Housing Executive can discharge its housing duty in one of three ways: by re-housing of the applicant in the social or private sector, by offering the applicant three reasonable offers of accommodation which are all refused by the applicant or if the applicant re-houses him/herself and is no longer interested.
  9. Statistics on private sector rents are sourced from the Family Resources Survey 2014-15 (the latest available in the series). The Family Resources Survey collects detailed information on the incomes and circumstances of private households from April to March each year.
  10. Statistics on the Co-Ownership Housing Scheme are sourced from DfC.
  11. Statistics on mortgage lending are sourced from the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) Regulated Mortgage Survey.
  12. Data on mortgage cases are sourced from the NI Courts and Tribunals Service.
  13. Copies of the publication can be downloaded from the Department for Communities’ website
  14. Further enquiries should be addressed to:
    Analytical Services Unit
    1st Floor
    Lighthouse Building
    1 Cromac Place
    Gasworks Business Park
    Belfast BT7 2JB

    Telephone:  02890 829093

  15. All media queries should be directed to the DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3505 or email: Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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