07 Dec 2023

Latest statistics show alarming trends for housing in Northern Ireland

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Northern Ireland is urging immediate action as the Northern Ireland Housing Statistics 2022-23 published today. The figures underscore a critical need for increased budget allocation to address the growing housing and homelessness crisis in the region.

The statistics reveal that in 2022-23, 1,956 new social homes were started, slightly surpassing the target of 1,950. However, the looming concern is the insufficient capital budget allocated for 2023-24, which will provide fewer than 1,500 homes. This is a significant roadblock, given the draft housing supply strategy's ambitious goal of building an average of over 2,200 homes annually.

Justin Cartwright, CIH national director for Northern Ireland, said:

"It's regrettable that budget constraints are now added to the list of strategic barriers hindering the sector’s ability to meet the housing needs of the community. We urgently call on government for sufficient capital budget to be allocated in 2024-25 to bridge this gap and supply much needed new social housing."

The statistics highlight a pressing concern with 45,105 households on the social housing waiting list as of March 2023. Among them, 32,633 were in housing stress, reflecting a four per cent increase from the previous year, while 10,349 households were accepted as homeless (marking a two per cent increase).

Cartwright emphasises: "Today’s statistics highlight a growing urgency to address people’s immediate requirements for secure and stable housing. It's not just about meeting targets – it's about meeting the real, pressing needs of our community.

“A top priority should be the swift restoration of the NI Executive. Locally elected politicians should assume the responsibility for strategic decision-making to help meet the demand for housing.

“In the absence of this, we urge the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance to prioritise housing and homelessness in the budget allocation process. This underscores the crucial need to overcome obstacles and guarantee access to stable, secure and affordable housing for all.”