Real estate

Builders ready to share joy of happy New Year


Investors in the big housebuilders are looking forward to a substantial dividend boost after the construction industry achieved an unexpected bounce in the first two months of this year. Distributions by FTSE 350 homebuilders will rise by 50% this year to £1.3bn according to Markit, thanks to the strong performance of a sector that was hit hard by the financial crisis. Chris Williamson, the data specialist's chief economist, said: 'The sector is on course to provide a meaningful contribution to the economy's overall performance in the opening quarter of 2015. The strong survey readings not only bode well for economic growth, but also for corporate earnings in the sector.' Activity slowed significantly at the end of last year, but rebounded in January from December's 17-month low and improved further last month, with companies mostly linking new business gains to an improving economic backdrop. Markit's purchasing managers' index for the sector rose to 60.1 in February from 59.1 the month before - its highest level since October.


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