Ireland’s building industry suffered its sharpest fall since last October, according to the latest figures from the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.
The Index shows that the gauge fell to 45.4 in April from 46.7 in March. Anything below 50 signifies a contraction in the sector.
Ulster Bank said the latest figure represents an acceleration in the rate of contraction in activity and that the fall in total activity was the sharpest since last October.
Ulster Bank chief economist Simon Barry said: “Weakness early in the second quarter has been particularly notable in the housing sector, which contracted at its fastest pace since September last year.
“While the latest PMI for manufacturing and services point to expanding activity levels in those internationally-traded sectors, the domestic-facing construction sector continues to contract.”
It has been estimated that just 5,000 homes are now being built in Ireland on an annual basis, compared to 78,000 in 2007.