Activity in the UK construction sector unexpectedly accelerated at its fastest pace in more than a year last month, according to a closely watched business survey released on Thursday.
Research firm IHS Markit said its construction purchasing managers’ index rose to 55.8 in July. That was its highest level since May 2017.
Analysts had expected the reading to drop to 52.8, from June's reading of 53.1.
On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates expansion, below indicates contraction.
IHS Markit highlighted the robust and accelerated rise in construction activity and noted that house building expanded at its sharpest pace since December 2015.
The report also showed that rates of new order growth and job creation gained momentum.
“July data reveal an impressive turnaround in the performance of the UK construction sector, with output growth the strongest for just over one year,” IHS Markit associate director Tim Moore commented in the report.
“While the recent rebound in construction work has been flattered by its recovery from a low base earlier in 2018, there are also signs that underlying demand conditions have picked up this summer,” he added.