“A slowdown in housebuilding last month dragged down activity in the construction sector, adding to concerns that the economy may be losing some momentum.
The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index for construction in March dropped to 52.2 from 52.5 in February, falling short of forecasts. Although the index was still above 50, indicating growth, economists described the data as disappointing.
“The construction sector remains at the sharp end of the decline in corporate confidence and the renewed squeeze on households’ real wages, both of which are consequences of the Brexit vote,” Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Economics, said. “We continue to expect the construction sector to tread water this year.”
Signs of a slowdown in housebuilding will come as a setback to the government, which announced a white paper last month to help to boost new homebuilding and to fix what it called Britain’s “broken” housing market. The country is building about 100,000 fewer homes than the 250,000 it needs annually, which is helping to drive up prices.
The PMI’s sub-index on housing dropped to 51.7, its lowest level since August 2016.”
Source: Times (paywall)