Construction sector activity returns to rate of growth

Construction activity expanded in March for the first time in nine months, the latest index for the sector from BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland indicates.

The index reading of 51.6 was the first to exceed the 50 no-change mark since June 2023, with the expansion following eight consecutive months of contraction. Although modest, the rate of expansion was the most marked for almost two years.

Renewed expansions in activity were registered for housing and commercial activity, the index found, with the rise in work on residential projects the first in a year-and-a-half and most pronounced since May 2022. Commercial activity also rose solidly, ending a four-month sequence of decline.

Survey respondents indicated that activity had risen on the back of increases in new orders, which also returned to growth during March following eight months of reduction. The increase was again modest, but the sharpest for a year.