UK housebuilding activity expanding at a near 10-year high, survey shows

Cranes on a building site in London
Image caption Purchasing managers reported an increase in job creation

UK housebuilding activity grew last month at its fastest pace for almost a decade, a survey has suggested.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' housing index for September was 64.8, just below 64.9 in November 2003.

The index for construction overall was 58.9 last month, a slight dip from 59.1 reached in August, but still well above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction.

Markit also found more optimism about the sector's future growth.

The 64.8 mark for residential housebuilding in September was also a big rise on the 61.1 seen the month before.

"Construction is no longer the weakest link in the UK economy," said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit. "The third quarter of 2013 ended with output growth riding high amid greater spending on infrastructure projects and resurgent house building activity."

Among managers surveyed, 51% expected output would rise over the next 12 months, with 9% predicting a fall, the highest level of confidence since August 2010.

Managers reported that job creation also rose for the fourth straight month.

"Having been in the doldrums for so long, builders are using this renewal as a platform to invest, with employment seeing the most dramatic upturn in close to six years," said David Noble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.

PMI data published on Tuesday indicated that UK manufacturing activity grew at a slower rate than expected in September, but also showed employment picking up.

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