The number of commencement notices lodged for new homes dropped by 20% in April compared to the previous month, new figures from the Department of Housing show.

Notices for 2,346 new homes were submitted in April, compared to 2,809 in March.

The figure is less than half the 4,736 notices that were lodged in April of last year, just after construction restrictions were eased and building ramped up again after a prolonged stoppage.

Overall, 32,456 commencement notices were received by the authorities in the year to the end of April.

That is almost 52% higher than in the previous 12-month period, although during much of that time the construction sector was under Covid-19 restrictions.

According to the department, apart from in 2020 when restrictions due to the pandemic existed, the number of commencement notices for homes that have been lodged has increased every year since 2015.

The Government's Housing for All strategy has a target for around 33,000 homes to be completed every year over its lifetime.

However, rapid inflation in the price of raw materials and other input costs has raised questions about whether that will be achieved this year.

The local authority area where the largest number of residential units were commenced was Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown at 323.

This was followed by Fingal County at 217 and Kildare County Council at 198.

Kildare is also the county from where notifications of commencement of the largest number of homes has been received this year.