Grafton, Ireland’s leading building materials supplier, dismissed fears of a collapse in the Irish property market, predicting that developers would step up the level of house building activity in response to strong rental demand. Financial Times (Sat)

Grafton is seen as a good proxy for the Irish housing market, which some commentators forecast is heading for a sharp reversal after years of record growth.

In a trading statementGrafton said that, while new residential construction activity in the first half of 2008 would continue to weaken, 'the strength of the rental market points to continuing good underlying demand which should lead to an improvement in housing starts.'