UK construction output falls to six-month low

The UK construction sector shrank at the steepest pace in six months in December, driven by a fall in house building, according to a survey out today.

The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 48.7 in December, from 49.3 the month previously, marking its lowest level since last June. The 50 level separates growth from contraction.

Residential house building contracted at the fastest pace since December 2010, according to the survey.

Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit, said the “sharp and accelerated downturn” in housing activity was the most striking part of the survey.

“The pace of contraction in residential building was the strongest since the snow-related drop two years previously, and the extent of the decline made December 2012 one of the worst months for housing activity since the spring of 2009,” he added.