The construction of new buildings fell in Finland by 19 per cent in January-March.
The production of residential buildings, in turn, suffered an above-average decrease by more than 25 per cent compared with figures a year ago.
According to Statistics Finland, in early 2009 some 25 per cent fewer building permits were granted than during the same period last year.
The construction of new buildings was reduced among all building types save public service buildings, the construction volume of which grew during the early part of the year by 26 per cent.
The most severe drop, by nearly 50 per cent, afflicted the building of row and terraced houses.
Last year the construction of new buildings fell by two per cent relative to 2007. At that time the residential building output diminished by nearly 16 per cent, but in the remaining sectors a growth of 9.5% was still experienced, thanks to the brisk first part of the year.