The construction of one-off houses fell 40 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2015, according to figures from the National Housing Construction Index compiled by consultancy firm Link2Plans.
It described the drop as “dramatic” and said it was the main factor in an overall decline in activity since 2014.
By contrast, the number of multi-unit developments being built has shot up over the past two years. During 2013, construction began on 72 such developments, but it already stands at 232 projects for the first half of this year.
Sentiment in the sector “remains positive for the medium term”, Link2Plans said, with residential planning applications up 14 per cent in the first half of 2015 compared with 2014
Project commencements have, however, fallen by 26 per cent year-on-year.
The pattern was consistent across Ireland, with every county apart from Wicklow recording a fall. Wicklow commencements rose 1 per cent, while Dublin had the smallest year-on-year decrease at 3 per cent.
Link2Plans managing director Danny O’Shea said commencements had plummeted this year as a result of the new building regulations introduced on March 1st, 2014, which created a once-off spike in the number of projects started just ahead of that date.
Every county except Dublin recorded a rise in planning applications in the first six months of 2015, with the highest growth in Leitrim, Laois and Westmeath. Dublin applications fell 5 per cent.
“A more accurate barometer of the recovery in the Irish residential construction sector is the 22 per cent increase in the number of commencements in the first six months of 2015 when compared to the same period in 2013,” said Mr O’Shea.