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Monday, May 20, 2024

Construction Sector Faces Deepening Slowdown


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In the midst of a deepening slowdown, the construction sector finds itself at a crossroads. Like a house of cards, activity has declined for the fourth consecutive month, with the residential segment bearing the brunt of the blow.

Surprisingly, this downward trend contradicts the growth observed in housing commencements and completions throughout the year. Despite a return to growth in commercial activity, concerns about the future have cast a shadow over the sector.

This article delves into the reasons behind the slowdown and explores the medium-term outlook for both residential and commercial construction.

Recent Decline in Construction Activity

Construction activity in the sector has experienced a significant decline in recent months, indicating a deepening slowdown. The pace of decline in October was solid and faster than in September, marking the fourth consecutive month of slowing construction sector activity.

Surprisingly, residential activity has seen a further reduction despite the growth in housing commencements and completions this year. Completions have been outpacing commencements, resulting in a decrease in the number of units under construction.

On the other hand, commercial activity has returned to growth, ending a three-month decline. This expansion might seem unexpected due to limited large-scale retail development and oversupply in the office market. However, delayed completion of Dublin office space has contributed to the growth in commercial activity. The need to complete projects by year-end, with a significant amount of office space scheduled for delivery in Q4, has also driven the push for construction activity.

Effect on Employment in the Construction Sector

Employment in the construction sector experienced a noticeable increase in October, surpassing the previous month’s growth rate. Despite the overall slowdown in the construction industry, companies in the sector remain optimistic and continue to hire workers in hopes of securing new projects.

However, sentiment has dropped sharply, reaching the lowest level since November last year. The uncertain economic climate, reduced consumer spending, and limited access to financing have all contributed to the slowdown in the construction sector. Additionally, the lack of infrastructure projects and government contracts has further impacted employment opportunities.

As the construction sector faces a deepening slowdown, it is crucial for industry stakeholders to closely monitor the employment trends and adjust their strategies accordingly to navigate through these challenging times.

Medium-term Outlook for Residential Construction

Mid-term Prospects for Residential Construction

The medium-term outlook for residential construction in the construction sector is expected to remain strong due to the growth in housing starts and completions.

Despite the overall slowdown in the construction sector, the residential segment is experiencing a surge in activity. Currently, over 18,000 new homes are underway in Dublin alone, indicating a robust pipeline of residential projects.

Furthermore, the year 2024 is projected to be another strong year for housing delivery. The increase in housing starts and completions is a driving force behind this positive outlook.

The construction industry is capitalising on this momentum and focusing on meeting the demand for residential properties. As a result, residential construction is expected to continue thriving in the medium term.

Medium-term Outlook for Commercial Construction:

Moving on to the medium-term outlook for commercial construction, it is important to consider the impact of market signals on speculative office starts. Speculative office starts have decreased in response to these signals. The supply pipeline for commercial construction is also expected to decline sharply from next year.

This decrease in speculative office starts can be attributed to various factors. Limited large-scale retail development and oversupply in the office market have made investors cautious. Additionally, the delayed completion of Dublin office space has contributed to the decline in speculative office starts.

Despite these challenges, there is still a strong push to complete projects by year-end. A significant amount of office space is scheduled for delivery in Q4.

Looking ahead, the commercial construction sector will need to navigate market uncertainties and adapt to changing demands.

Reasons behind the construction sector slowdown

The construction sector’s deepening slowdown can be attributed to a combination of factors.

Firstly, economic uncertainty has led to a decrease in investments in the construction sector. This uncertainty has also resulted in reduced consumer spending and confidence, affecting the demand for new construction projects.

Additionally, the limited number of infrastructure projects and government contracts has contributed to the overall slowdown. Rising construction costs and limited access to financing have further exacerbated the situation.


In conclusion, the construction sector’s deepening slowdown has raised concerns about its future prospects. The decline in activity, particularly in the residential segment, is surprising given the growth in housing commencements and completions.

Despite an expansion in commercial activity, the oversupply in the office market remains a challenge. Symbolically, the delayed completion of Dublin office space represents the sector’s struggle to meet targets.

Overall, the medium-term outlook for both residential and commercial construction remains uncertain.

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Barbara is a talented writer who has worked as a journalist for over 10 years. With years of experience in the industry, she has developed a unique voice that is both informative and engaging. Barbara is known for her ability to tackle complex subjects with ease, and her articles are always well-researched and insightful. She has a passion for uncovering the truth and presenting it in a way that is both fair and balanced. Barbara is a respected journalist who is dedicated to serving her community through her work. In her free time, she enjoys reading, travelling, and spending time with her family.

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