Growth in construction activity re-accelerated in November, the latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey shows.  

The rate of overall expansion rose from October's over three and a half year low as the headline index rose from 52.9 in October to 55.5 in November.

This halted a three-month deceleration from the exceptionally rapid growth recorded in the summer. 

Overall construction activity has now increased in each of the past 63 months.

The PMI is a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity and covers three sections - housing, commercial and civil engineering. 

Ulster Bank noted a sharp acceleration in housing activity, which made it the fastest growing sector last month. 

The improvement also reflected better performance in commercial activity, with the Commercial PMI rising to 57.5 in November from 53.9 in October. 

But civil engineering remains an area of weakness, however, with respondents reporting a third consecutive monthly decline in activity.

According to Ulster Bank, construction firms reported greater activity on the back of an increase in customer demand. 

It said that new business rose at the fastest pace in five months during November, with companies attributing this to an overall increase in construction work and previously delayed projects starting up.

The rate of employment in the Irish construction sector also increased during November. 

But the rate of growth softened from October as some companies stated that recent delays in projects dampened overall job creation. 

However, staffing levels have increased in each of the past 63 months. 

Ulster Bank also said that input buying increased at a faster pace during November, adding that the rate of growth was solid and quicker than in October. 

Purchasing activity among Irish construction firms has now increased for 57 successive months.

Input price inflation eased to the slowest in two years during November, but the pace of increase remained elevated, however, amid reports of metal price increases and reduced availability of construction materials.

Commenting on today's figures, Ulster Bank's chief economist Simon Barry said that sentiment about future activity prospects again edged lower in November, in the process falling to its lowest level since August 2013.

"However, this is best seen as a retreat from exceptionally elevated readings. 

"Confidence levels remain solidly optimistic (at readings higher than seen on average at the peak of the last cycle in 2004-2006), with nearly 45% of all firms expecting activity to increase over the coming year," the economist added.