The chief economist with Goodbody, Dermot O'Leary, has said he believes the official numbers of new house builds are being significantly overstated.

The Department of Housing figures rely on ESB connections, but Goodbody used a different formula, using the Building Energy Ratings certificate. 

Based on Building Energy Ratings, 5,377 houses were completed in 2016.

This is only about one-third (14,932) of the number indicated from electricity connections. 

Mr O'Leary said the supply shortage is even more chronic than feared and added it was vital to discover just how many houses were being built. 

Without the right data, he said, there was no way to formulate the right response to the housing crisis.

Mr O'Leary warned that output needs to be trebled in order to stop house prices spiralling out of demand.

More apartments must be built, the economist added. 

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Today's figures from Goodbody also show that new housebuilding is growing rapidly in Ireland, albeit from a low base. In the year to August, it grew 77% year on year. 

On current trends, completions will total less than 10,000 units in 2017, roughly half the estimates suggested by the alternative electricity connections data.

It also noted that 72% of the new homes completed were in the Greater Dublin Area - Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Kildare - in the year to date.