Construction activity fell at a record pace in July, a survey showed yesterday, as the credit crunch took an increasing toll on the property sector and added a sombre note to economic forecasts.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply/ Markit survey of construction purchasing managers registered a new series low of 36.7. A reading below 50 indicates falling demand.

The main reason for the decline was a drop in housing activity, with the CIPS housing sub-index hitting an all-time low of 18.7 – the eighth monthly fall in a row.

Economists said that, while the decrease might have been expected, given the sharp drop in mortgages for house purchases in June, yesterday’s data had worrying implications.

Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian