Figures released yesterday showed the construction sector contracted at its fastest rate in six months in December driven by house building being at its lowest in two years.
Forecasters had predicted a reading of 49.5 but the index was at its lowest since June, when poor weather and extra public bank holidays dented output.
Construction only accounts for 7% of Britain's GDP but its troubles reflect the weakness in the wider property sector.
More top news
A man miraculously survived being shot near his home with a sawn-off shotgun when his mobile phone took the brunt of the blast.
A video of basketball player's daughter has gone viral after the cute two-year-old turned on the charm to eclipse her superstar dad.
The 100th anniversary of Britain's worst rail disaster will be commemorated at a special service today.