Housebuilders appear to be looking forward to spring in much the same manner as turkeys view Christmas.

Mark Clare, chief executive of Barratt, reported sales had slumped 14% over the autumn and expressed concerns about consumer confidence and mortgage finance availability.

It wasn’t all bad news but the City, as is its way, took fright. Barratt’s shares tumbled more than 2.6% and dragged everyone else with them. Redrow and Bellway sunk more than 2%. Taylor Wimpey shed 1.7% in sympathy and Persimmon lost a similar amount.

Housebuilding woes also hit the wider industry. Costain plunged 6.8% in a bloody Tuesday, along with Morgan Sindall, which fell 4.5%.

Construction suppliers were also hit. Wolseley, which has been on the ropes since the US housing slump is trading at 660p, compared with 1328p in June. But Travis Perkins, which has no US exposure, slumped from 1990p in the summer to 1325p this week.