UNITED KINGDOM — Housebuilding in the UK last month fell at the second-fastest pace since the first Covid-19 lockdown, reflecting the impact of high interest rates on demand, according to a closely watched survey. The S&P Global/Cips UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ house building sub-index, a measure of activity in the sector, fell to 40.7 in August, down from 43 in July and the second-lowest level since May 2020. A reading below 50 indicates a majority of companies reporting a contraction. Outside the pandemic period, this was the lowest reading since spring 2009, and the sharp drop was the main driver in pushing the overall construction PMI down to 50.8 in August from 51.7 the previous month. The sector also registered a decline in new order volumes for the second time in the past three months, the steepest drop since May 2020.