Between January 1st and March 31st, there were a total of 414 housing completions in Waterford city and county, of which 357 were private dwellings.

These figures were included in the Department of the Environment’s latest Quarterly Housing Statistics bulletin, published on Thursday last.

It should be noted that total house completions are based on the number of new houses connected by the ESB.

A total of 155 house guarantee registrations were stamped by HomeBond and Premier Guarantee Registrations in the opening three months of 2008.

Some 297 houses were completed in the city (266 private) while 117 were completed in the county (91 private).

Nationally, 14,010 houses were completed in the first quarter – of which 12,679 homes were private.

Regarding the Affordable Housing Scheme, while no transactions were completed or approved in the county in the first quarter, 32 such houses are currently marked “in progress”.

As for the city, two transactions were completed between January and August while eight approvals were reported at City Hall.

Under the Scheme, under the Part V Planning and Development Acts, the City Council acquired 27 houses and has 40 units in progress.

Meanwhile the County Council acquired six units in this particular category, has 91 in progress and has a further 143 dwellings at proposal stage.

In terms of local authority housing output, the County Council had completed 31 units, commenced the construction of four other units, while 100 units were at the “in progress” stage.

Waterford City Council completed 26 units, acquired three dwellings, had commenced 28 more and had a total of 264 dwellings in progress.

New house prices (at loan approval stage) showed that the average new Waterford home in Q1 fetched €302,604, a 7.6 per cent increase on the same period during 2007.

Indeed, the Waterford and Limerick areas showed house price increases, unlike Dublin, Cork and Galway.

The average second hand home in the first quarter of 2008 in Waterford stood at €291,960, a 1.6 per cent increase on the Q1 2007 price of €287,483.

Interestingly, evidence of the construction slowdown was most evidenced in the commencement notices data.

A total of 74 notices were received in the county between January and March, contrasting with the 115 received last year by the Planning Office in Dungarvan.

Only four notices were received by City Hall, in comparison to 12 received in 2007.

Regarding the total number of residential units commenced, 104 were recorded in the county (2007: 257), while 69 projects got underway in the city (2007: 121).

Combined, the total for Waterford combined in Q1 stood at 173, in comparison to the 378 units recorded in the same timeframe last year.