A recovery in house-building as well as commercial business last month helped the construction industry as a whole to expand for the 44th month running, though at a slower pace than in June.
The Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply said its seasonally adjusted index for construction eased to 54.7 in July from 55.8 in June, still well above the 50 mark which divides expansion and contraction.
The survey by CIPS and NTC Research said growth in new business underpinned the rise in activity, although the pace of order book growth eased from a peak reached in June.
"Of particular note was housing, which built on last month's recovery to post its best performance in six months," commented Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at the CIPS.
"Optimism in the industry rose to its highest in five months as panellists were encouraged by robust demand and expansions in capacity."
The seasonally adjusted index for housing activity climbed to 53.8 in July from 51.2 in June, indicating that house-builders are taking a view that the housing market is stabilising.
Expectations that this revival will continue in the coming months rose from 76.1 in June to an overwhelming 77.5 - the highest number in this index for five months, the CIPS noted.
The strongest trend, though, continued to be in commercial activity, despite a slowdown in its growth the the lowest level for nearly two years to an index number of 55.4.
The index number for the growth in new orders also eased back to 56, from a peak in June.
The construction industry as a whole continued to create new jobs, though the growth in staff levels eased back to the lowest in 27 months. an employment index number of 51.9 reflected the impact of restructuring policies at some companies, the CIPS added.