The quoted construction sector started the new year as a much smaller entity than it was in 2005, after the FTSE reclassified housebuilding under household goods.

All quoted housebuilders that are not also mainstream contractors were relocated from the construction and materials sector when the markets reopened on 3 January.

A week’s trading under household goods had little impact on share prices, which fluctuated in line with usual trends.

The move had been mooted by the FTSE a year ago and its purpose was to bring classifications in line with the USA and the rest of Europe.

Paul Pedley, deputy chairman of quoted housebuilder Redrow, said: “On the positive side we are now in a sector that is predominantly housebuilders and from a more global perspective it is important that there is an element of standardisation.”

Pedley added that he did not expect the move to have a great impact on share prices in either direction, and said it was Persimmon’s anticipated entry into the FTSE 100 that had been the catalyst behind recent increases in housebuilders’ share prices.

The reclassification was not as warmly received in the City. Chris Millington, housing analyst at Bridgewell Securities, said: “To us it seems slightly perverse. It won’t have a big impact on share prices or the analysts that look at them.”

Wolseley and Travis Perkins moved from construction and materials to support services.