UK housebuilding activity falls sharply in July

Housebuilding activity in the UK fell sharply in July, marking the eighth consecutive month of contraction as higher mortgage rates hit demand, according to a closely watched survey published on Friday. The S&P Global/Cips UK construction purchasing managers’ index for housebuilding was 43 in July — well below the 50-points level that divides expansion from contraction — although a slight improvement from previous months. …Matthew Pointon, at the consultancy Capital Economics, said leading indicators showed that demand for new builds was still falling. The PMI was consistent with a 15 per cent year-on-year fall in housing starts; he expects a fall of 20 per cent overall this year. …However, the sharp drop in residential construction was offset by a strong pick-up in commercial building activity and continued solid growth in civil engineering. Companies reported rising demand for infrastructure work, office refurbishments and a range of commercial projects.