Britain's construction sector saw a dramatic increase in activity during October, according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS).
Publishing its latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) today, the CIPS said that high levels of demand reflected in the UK's booming property market had brought the PMI from 53.6 in September to 58.9 in October. Scores above 50 show an expanding market.
The jump in October takes the construction PMI to its highest level since March 2004, the CIPS said, attributing the high index score to widespread growth across the entire sector.
"Not only was growth at its sharpest since March 2004, but expansion was widespread throughout the sector," Roy Ayliffe, the CIPS' director of professional practice, said.
"The extent of growth in the construction sector was, however, tempered by signs of capacity constraints."
Commenting on the latest figures from the CIPS, Howard Archer of research firm Global Insight, said that increases to the housebuilding component were "noteworthy".
"This could be a sign that the renewed buoyancy in housing market activity and prices since the spring is currently feeding through to boost housebuilders' confidence," he added.
He dismissed the suggestion that the figures would strengthen the Bank of England's resolve to raise interest rates to five per cent next week, however.