In a sign of the contimnued weakness of the construction and property sectors, the number of planning applications made in the first eight months of 2012 was down 16pc over the same period in 2011, according to the latest edition of the National Housing Construction Index.
The index also reveals that project commencements were down 10pc over the same timeframe.
However, Link2Plans, which compiles and issues the index, said the data “show a definite trend which could point to a slight improvement in sentiment in the housing construction sector”.
It said applications are up 7pc and commencements have increased by 4pc over the start of 2012.
The index also reveals that the number of housing construction projects that move from application through to actual construction (commencement) remains at just over 41pc. This has risen slightly from 40pc at the start of 2012.
According to the index, two counties have recorded marginal increases in planning applications: Donegal and Leitrim. The largest falls in applications were in Kildare (-36pc), Kerry (-35pc), Clare (-32pc), Wexford (-29pc) and Cavan (-28pc).
Nationally, commencement notices, a real-time barometer of construction activity, continue to show an overall decrease. The largest decreases are in Laois and Roscommon, both down 33pc. They are followed by Donegal (-27pc) and Monaghan (-24pc).
Counties that showed an increase include Westmeath (45pc), Mayo (20pc) and Sligo (12pc).
Commencements in Cork are up 9pc, while they are down by 5pc in Dublin.