GROWTH in the construction sector has eased, despite housebuilding activity touching pre-recession levels, a report has said.

A survey revealed the sector remains busy, with the rate of expansion one of the fastest in the last ten years.

It added companies are continuing to take on workers, with employment levels rising for an 11th consecutive month.

Loading article content

However, April was the quietest month in civil engineering since September, with firms losing the boost creating by flood relief work.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index reported a reading of 60.8 for last month, slightly down from March's 62.5, with 50 separating growth from contraction.

Building firms have been buoyed by initiatives including the Government's Help to Buy scheme.

Tim Moore, Markit senior economist, said the figures suggest at least 45,000 new homes are being built every quarter.

He said: “While there looks to have been a further steep upturn in new housebuilding starts in April, the trend remains well short of estimated increases in underlying demand each year.

“Set against the tightening supply chain backdrop, a difficult challenge lies ahead for the housebuilding sector to make sure it doesn't hit a brick ceiling.”