And analysts, not used to studying such a buoyant sector, can hardly believe their luck. As one said: "Building analysts only get one good year in five so we want to enjoy it." Most housebuilders' stocks have been on the rise since the turn of the year, as strong prospects and lower interest rates make the companies much more attractive options. One particularly optimistic sector watcher said: "We tend to tumble along in the wake of the US so another interest rate cut is on the cards." Add to this the City's growing affection for contractors, especially the ones with bulging PFI portfolios, and it's easy to see why analysts are so perky despite the grim spring weather.
Among the biggest movers were Taylor Woodrow – up 6.7% to 200p – and Alfred McAlpine – up 6.1% to 337p.
BIRSE jumped 20% but with its share price at 10.25p that was an increase of just 1.75p.
PERSIMMON continued its steady improvement, despite increasing reports that its takeover of Beazer is becoming fractious. Its share price improved another 2.3% to 350.5p – up from 290p in early February.
Adding to the good vibes this week is news from US building materials group MARTIN MARRIETTA MATERIALS that the US downturn isn't hurting it as much as expected. Martin Marrietta, the USA's second biggest building materials group, said demand was still strong for most of its products. It also predicted revenues and earnings would rise later this year.