The research by construction information specialist Glenigan Index offers more evidence of the downturn in work this year.
Housing construction was flat as fall in social housing project starts cancelled out the recovery in private housing project starts.
Across the regions Yorkshire & the Humber and the East of England were the worst hit seeing year-on-year falls of 30% in construction project starts.
“This is the largest year on year decline in the Index since the 5% fall in May 2011,” said Glenigan economist James Abraham.
“A 15% increase in private housing project starts was met by a 17% decline in social housing activity as private sector growth failed to outpace public sector cuts”, he added.
“There was a similar pattern of private sector growth versus public sector cuts in non-residential construction.
“Office and industrial building is responding to a shortage in supply following three years of limited building and supermarket investment remains high.
“But health, education and community projects all fell, as public sector cuts continue to bite.”
According to the latest Glenigan Index forecast the underlying value of construction projects starting on site will remain below that seen in quarter one of this year into 2014.
Abraham said: “Investment in infrastructure and private sector building recovery will be offset as Government cuts restrict health, education and social housing projects.
“Less money for new builds could see an increase in refurbishment work this year” said Abraham.
More growth is predicted for the commercial sectors, though a sustained rise depends on general economic prospects.
The increase in private housing building seen over the first third of the year will slow over the next six months.