The presumption that Irish housing demand is somehow underpinned by favourable demographics has always been suspect, but recent data are unambiguousdly negative. The headline pop estimate for April shows population growth at 37,300 on the year. But the QNHS, also published this morning, gives figs for the 15+ population which show that growth ceased last Summer. The last five obs on seasonally adjusted 15+ pop are: Q2 08 – 3520.5; Q3 08 – 3529.5; Q4 08 – 3530.0; Q1 09 – 3529.9; Q2 09 – 3529.5.
Thus the growth over the year in the adult population all took place in the first quarter, and was in any event less than a quarter of the growth in total pop. Children don’t buy houses. The figs imply substantial out-migration of adults, at the rate of about 7 to 8000 per quarter recently.
Today’s release also gives pop estimates for April by age-group. The age groups up to 14 show healthy increases. But the groups 15-19, 20-24 and 25-29 are all falling. The 20-24 group fell, between April 2007 and April 2009, from 347,800 to 304,800, that is, by 12.4% in two years. Difficult to see how estimates of strong underlying flow demand for housing can be sustained.