Housebuilding drives construction activity in February

Construction activity has increased on a monthly basis since September 2013

Ulster Bank said some construction firms stated that they had increased purchases to build up stocks to mitigate any supply issues resulting from Brexit.  Photograph:  Ben Birchall/ PA Wire

Ulster Bank said some construction firms stated that they had increased purchases to build up stocks to mitigate any supply issues resulting from Brexit. Photograph: Ben Birchall/ PA Wire

 

Construction activity accelerated in February, driven by the housebuilding segment of the sector, according to a new report.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 60.5 in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, marking a seven-month high, from 54.6 a month earlier, according to the bank.

A reading of over 50 signals that the industry is in expansion mode. Construction activity in the State has now increased on a monthly basis since September 2013.

The housing activity component of the index rose to 64.3 in February from 55.7 in January, while commercial activity increased to 62.2 from 55.4. However, civil engineering activity was little changed at 46.9, marking a sixth consecutive month of contraction for this part of the industry.

“Sentiment among firms about the sector’s prospects over the coming 12 months remained solidly positive at levels well above its historic average as firms continue to cite the supportive influence of solid trends in new orders and the ongoing improvement in economic conditions,” said Simon Barry, chief economist for Ulster Bank in the Republic.

However, the bank said some construction firms stated that they had increased purchases to build up stocks to mitigate any supply issues resulting from Brexit.