Strong activity in the commercial and housing sectors has helped maintain growth in construction activity for the third consecutive month.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s latest construction activity index rose slightly from 58.2 in December to 58.3 in January. Fifty indicates no change.

The steady three-month climb follows falls in the four months from July to October. Commercial construction recorded the strongest growth, with the housing sector also performing well. Civil engineering recorded only a slight expansion of workload compared with December.

The rise in activity led to firms increasing raw materials purchases, resulting in longer lead times for some products.

As a result, prices of goods and services rose during the month. Nearly 40% of respondents reported that average price levels had increased in January, with no respondents reporting falls.