(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

LONDON Construction output expanded for a fifth month in September as homebuilding posted its strongest growth for a decade amid a recovery in the property market.

An index of building activity slipped to 58.9 from a record-high 59.1 in August, Markit Economics said today in London. The gauge has been above 50, the level separating expansion from contraction, since May. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a gain to 59.5.

The economy grew 0.7 percent in the second quarter and indicators have pointed to a further strengthening this quarter. With the recovery building momentum, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said on Sept. 29 Britain has "turned a corner" and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said last week he doesn't see an argument for expanding stimulus.

"Construction is no longer the weakest link in the U.K. economy," said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit. "The third quarter of 2013 ended with output growth riding high amid greater spending on infrastructure projects and resurgent house building activity."

Residential construction was the strongest performing building sector last month, expanding at its fastest pace since November 2003, Markit said.

An index of manufacturing slipped to 56.7 in September from a 2 1/2-year high of 57.1 in August as export demand slowed, Markit said Tuesday. A services gauge probably held at a seven-year high of 60.5 last month, economists said before a separate report Wednesday.

Wolseley Plc, the world's biggest distributor of plumbing and heating products, on Tuesday reported a 9 percent increase in full-year profit. Chief Executive Officer Ian Meakins said that market growth is "encouraging" and noted an improvement in housing transactions.

House prices rose the most in more than six years in September, as government measures helped to boost demand, according to property researcher Hometrack. Nationwide Building Society also reported an increase in prices in September and said homebuilding is "well below" the pace needed to keep up with demand.

While the Help-to-Buy program has been criticized for potentially stoking a housing bubble, Prime Minister David Cameron said last week he'll introduce a second phase three months early.

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