British construction activity grew at its fastest pace in nine months in February after two months of declines, as a rebound in commercial work and civil engineering helped offset a continued fall in house-building, a survey showed on Monday.

The S&P Global/CIPS UK Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the construction sector jumped to 54.6 in February, up from 48.4 in January, its highest since May 2022 and well above economists' average expectation of 49.1 in a Reuters poll.

The sharp rebound mirrors a similar increase in Friday's services PMI, which grew at its fastest pace in June, easing many analysts' concerns that Britain's economy was slipping into recession.

However, Tim Moore, economics director at S&P Global, said cutbacks in new house building projects remained a weak spot for activity in the construction sector.

Britain's housing market has slowed in recent months, hurt by a dent in demand for new homes as higher borrowing costs and a surge in the cost of living deterred prospective buyers.

Mortgage lender Nationwide reported last week that house prices in February were 1.1% down on a year earlier - the biggest annual fall since 2012 - and had fallen 3.7% since their peak in August 2022.

The house-building industry was the worst-performing construction sector as residential building work fell for the third month in a row. Builders blamed headwinds from higher interest rates and subdued client demand.

Last week British homebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it would cut jobs and forecast it would build about a quarter less homes this year than in 2022.

Commercial construction was the strongest in nine months, as was new order growth.

"Some firms noted that fading recession fears and an improving global economic outlook had boosted client confidence in the commercial segment," Moore said.

A drag in job creation and efforts to cut costs continued to hamper builders, but the peak of price pressures appeared to have passed and input cost inflation was its softest since November 2020.

The wider all-sector PMI, which includes previously released services and manufacturing data, rose to its highest since last July at 53.2 for February, up from January's 48.5. (Reporting by Suban Abdulla; Editing by Toby Chopra)