But 11 counties saw an increase in applications, with a rise of 15% noted in Dublin.
Offaly, Limerick and Wexford showed the biggest percentage application drop, while Monaghan, Leitrim and Roscommon saw the biggest rise in applications.
Link2plans, which puts the index together, shows that while planning applications were down 3%, there was a 14% fall in commencements, or work actually getting off the ground.
It said the ongoing bad weather may be a factor for the drop.
Link2Plan’s research examines every housing construction planning application and planning commencement on a bi-monthly basis. The National Housing Construction index indicates current and future housing construction activity on a national, regional and local level.
The managing director of Link2Plans, Danny O’Shea, said that while the last index reporting a growing number of planning applications in just one county – Donegal – the latest figures show a market increase in 11 counties.
”With increases in 11 counties, the outlook for the coming months is potentially positive,” Mr O’Shea said.