Sunday 16 December 2018

Pace of housing construction slows for the second month in a row

Simon Barry of Ulster Bank
Simon Barry of Ulster Bank
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The pace of house building slowed for the second month in a row in September, hitting an 11-month low.

However, activity in the commercial sector rose sharply, the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) shows.

This is the first time since June that the commercial construction sector - which includes the likes of office builds - has been stronger than housing.

However, housing construction remained strong, with a reading of 56.1 on the Ulster Bank PMI index, compared to 60.3 in August. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion, while any figure below that represents contraction.

For commercial construction, the PMI figure was 58.1 last month and 57.7 in August.

Activity in the civil-engineering sector contracted last month, with a PMI reading of 48.1, compared to 51.5 in August. That ended two months of expansion.

Simon Barry, chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said survey respondents noted improving customer demand and new business flows.

He continued: "In turn, robust activity and new orders patterns continue to underpin strong demand for construction workers, with the pace of job creation remaining steady in September at very healthy rates."

Fifty-five per cent of respondents anticipate higher output levels over the next year, citing expectations of improved market conditions and more new orders.

The survey found that rising demand for inputs and shortages of materials contributed to longer delivery times from suppliers during the third quarter.

Irish Independent

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