Building sector shows hopeful signs of recovery

Signs of recovery were evident in the building sector between April and June, with output up 1.7pc on the start of the year.

The latest official data showed that activity in the residential sector was up 1.2pc, but it was the non-residential sector, which included commercial buildings and public construction projects such as hospitals and schools, that saw the biggest increase.

It was up 14.9pc on the first three months of the year.

The picture was also positive across the eurozone, with production up for a fourth consecutive month, by 0.3pc, in July compared with June, according to the first estimates from Eurostat.

But on an annual basis, production was down 1.2pc compared with July last year.

Ireland bucked the trend, with volume up 11.2pc on an annual basis.

Among the member states with data available, production in construction rose in nine, fell in four and remained stable in the Netherlands.

The largest increases were registered in Romania, Portugal, Poland and the Czech Republic, while decreases were reported in Spain, Sweden, Hungaryand Slovenia.

Building construction increased by 1.1pc in the euro area and by 1.3pc across the Continent.

The data comes just weeks after the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Mangers’ Index showed that the sector was moving closer to stabilisiation in August.

Although employment and purchasing activity continued to fall, rates of decline eased in each case and business optimism improved to the strongest since January 2007.

Growth in activity was recorded in August in housing and commercial.

A second successive rise in activity on residential projects was the first back-to-back expansion since late 2006, while commercial activity rose for the first time in 19 months. Source: The Irish Independent.