After a year of Government measures to get housing sites moving again, new NHBC home registrations in 2011 fell in the UK to just 115,020, a dip on the previous year of 115,458 starts.
The Government is attempting to spur private house builders into action with its mortgage indeminty and buy now, pay later schemes as well as changing the delivery mechanism for public housing.
Despite this intervention, the number of registered new homes still languishes at nearly half the 2007 pre-recession high of 200,700 homes.
Following a relatively stable level of registrations through the first half of 2011, figures slumped 22% in the final quarter of last year to 21,152.
The biggest percentage falls were seen in social housing where spending cuts are starting to bite and new financing models have yet to kcik in.
NHBC Chief Executive Imtiaz Farookhi said: “While December is always a short month in which registrations inevitably dip, the last quarter of 2011 was particularly weak, with little sign of the cautious growth the industry experienced earlier in the year.
“Independent reports predict housing shortfalls over the coming years and a decline in the wider construction sector during 2012.”
He added: “Such figures are therefore a cause for concern and place even greater pressure on the successful delivery of the Government’s Housing Strategy.
“There is general consensus that the combined efforts of the housing and mortgage industries could have a positive effect on sentiment and volumes, but it is important not to underestimate the factors holding back new homes construction.
Small builders in particular were expected to continue to find the current situation difficult and need increased access to finance.
Already NHBC figures show that the number of small builders working in house building is lower than any time in the last 20 years.
“The question for 2012 therefore will be whether the Government’s measures will be enough to actually achieve volume growth or only serve to stabilise the market.
“Either way, it is critical that housing remains high on the Government’s agenda this year,” he added.