While these figures indicate positive growth for the sector, the majority of the works are confined to Dublin and its surrounding counties. Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow account for almost 70% of the value of works indicating a distinct divide between the larger urban centres and rural activity.
Annemarie Harte, Chief Executive of Hardware Association Ireland commented:
“Merchants and suppliers are only beginning to see an increase in activity after years of struggling following the construction industry collapse. With consumer confidence starting to return, more time is needed to allow the rest of the country to catch up and benefit from this incentive. The injection into the sector has exceeded all expectations – €486 million spent by Irish homeowners and more recently, landlords, translates into over €5 million per week spent on home improvements under the scheme since its introduction in October 2013. There is huge potential to be unlocked by encouraging this scheme in places outside of where it’s currently buoyant. The scheme is due to end on 31st December this year, that’s less than six months to go before it will be gone and I’d ask whether consumers even realise it’s coming to an end? Hardware Association Ireland is calling on the Government to extend the scheme to allow greater penetration into rural areas. This will allow the positive impact on business and renovators alike to continue.”