Construction orders for March rose slightly compared with January and February after boosts in housing and infrastructure, but orders in the three months overall fell by 20 per cent compared with the previous three month period.
Office for National Statistics figures show £2.3 billion of new construction orders for the first quarter of the year, compared with £2.1 billion in February and £2.26 billion in January.
Private housing orders rose to £460 million from £338 million in February and £353 million in January, while social housing totalled £162 million from £123 million the previous month and £99 million before that.
Infrastructure orders also rose in March to £631 million from £425 million in February.
Orders in the three months to March 2009 fell by 20 per cent compared with the previous three month period.
Orders in the 12 months to March 2009 fell 26 per cent compared with the previous 12 months and orders in three months to March 2009 fell by 38 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.
In the three months to March 2009 compared with the same period a year earlier, private housing orders fell by 50 per cent and public and housing association housing orders fell by 25 per cent.