Growth in construction weakened last month

Mortgage lending regulations could be linked to decline

Housing activity stagnated last month, a marked turnaround from the record rates of expansion recorded as recently as last September. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Housing activity stagnated last month, a marked turnaround from the record rates of expansion recorded as recently as last September. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Growth rates in Irish construction continued to slow during February, according to Ulster Bank’s latest Construction Purchasing Managers Index. The bank said this was evident in terms of activity, new orders and employment, while sentiment eased to the lowest since October 2013.

The index fell for the fourth successive month in February, posting 52.0, down from 57.1 in January. While a figure above 50 signals growth, the index shows that the latest increase in activity is the weakest in an 18-month sequence of growth. Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: “The February results point to a notable loss of momentum in Irish construction activity last month.” Weaker activity patterns were reported across all three main sub-sectors. Housing activity stagnated last month, a marked turnaround from the record rates of expansion recorded as recently as September of last year.

“It could be that some of this weakness is linked to higher levels of uncertainty surrounding the housing market outlook related to the recently introduced Central Bank mortgage lending regulations.”