• Index of residential construction dropped to 50.3 from 53
  • Firms cite `heightened uncertainty' about the business outlook

U.K. homebuilding activity barely grew in March as increased uncertainty about the outlook damped demand.

An index of residential construction dropped to 50.3 from 53 in February, Markit Economics said in London on Monday. That’s the weakest reading since January 2013 and just above the 50 level that divides expansion from contraction.

A gauge of total construction remained at 54.2 last month, matching the lowest since April 2015, and Markit said U.K. building is experiencing its “weakest growth phase since the summer of 2013.” A measure of the rate of employment expansion also declined.

“Heightened uncertainty about the business outlook appears to have weighed on overall construction demand so far in 2016,” said Tim Moore, an economist at Markit. Survey respondents cited “cautious client spending patterns and a reduced willingness to commit to new projects,” he said.

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