Official house completions data for the first six months of the year show that the number of units completed was little changed on the first half of 2006.

There were 38,978 completions in the first six months of the year (with 18,960 in the second quarter) which was similar to the first quarter in 2006 when adjustments are made to take out units built in 2005.

Goodbody Stockbrokers says the result is within expectations, but completions will slow markedly in the second half of the year, reflecting the downturn in the registrations and commencements notices over the past nine months.

'Our 78,000 units forecast for 2007 assumes a 21% yoy decline in the second half, as the trailing twelve month total is still running at 88,000 units', it said.

'Commencement data only refer to the first five months, but annual trends have already started to suffer due to the tough comparatives with last summer when there was a large increase in house commencements', Goodbody's chief economist Dermot O'Leary said.

In the month of May, housing commencements amounted to 5,033 (-29.4% year on year), bringing the total for the year to date to 26,613 (-17.5% year on year).