The construction sector defied the lockdown to record its biggest rise in new orders in six years.

The IHS Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose from 53.1 to 54.7 last month – the strongest reading since July and above most economists’ forecasts.

A booming property market has helped to lift business confidence. Construction firms benefited from the biggest surge in new orders since October 2014, with the new orders index rising from 56.1 to 58.1 in November.