The Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse saw its highest reading this month since the UK's decision to leave the European Union last year.

Both consumer and business sentiment improved this month, which pushed the Economic Pulse up to 95.1, up four points from March.

Bank of Ireland said that while the unsettled external environment - and especially Brexit - remains a concern, households and firms appear to have taken the triggering of Article 50 in their stride.

Today's data show that the consumer pulse rose for the second month in a row in April to 94.2 as households took a more positive view of the economy. 

With Budget 2017 increases in pension and other social welfare payments kicking in, they were also upbeat about their current financial situation. 

Today's survey noted that buying sentiment improved in April, with 38% of consumers now thinking it a good time to buy big ticket items such as electrical goods and furniture. Just over one in four are also likely to buy a new car in the next year.

Meanwhile, the Business Pulse rose to 95.3 in April, up 4.6 points on the March reading, with the services sector leading the way this month. 

This month's survey shows that most companies are on a growth trajectory, with two in three wanting to expand their businesses in the next one to three years. 

On the wages front, 41% of firms in industry, 33% in the services and construction sectors and 28% of retailers expect to increase basic pay in the next year.

Meanwhile, the housing pulse stood at 116.2 in April - a new series high. 39% of respondents now expect future price gains of over 5%, up from 32% in March. Bank of Ireland noted that sentiment was especially high in Dublin.

Dr Loretta O'Sullivan, Group Chief Economist at Bank of Ireland said that while the April Economic Pulse reading is the highest since the UK voted to leave the EU, it is still lower than pre-Brexit levels. 

Dr O'Sullivan said that households and firms were more upbeat in April and seem to have shrugged off the triggering of Article 50 and the industrial unrest at home. 

"We are heading into a couple of interesting months with the withdrawal negotiations getting underway and elections across Europe. So it may be a case of time will tell whether the improvement in sentiment this month is temporary or if it will be sustained," she added.