The number of new homes built in England during 2009 was at its lowest level since 1946, according to new figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Just 118,000 properties were completed during the 12 months, 17% fewer than during the previous year, and less than half the 240,000 considered necessary each year to keep up with demand.
The number of new homes completed during the last three months of 2009 fell for the eighth consecutive quarter to just 28,200, 12% fewer than during the same period of 2008.
Oliver Gilmartin, senior economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “The latest figures are disappointing and underline the continuing difficulties facing the construction industry.
“Housing completions in 2009 were the lowest since 1946 in England and the latest quarterly decline in housing starts offers little near-term comfort.
“Furthermore, housing starts are running at more than 50% below what is needed to satisfy projected household growth according to the Government’s own estimates.”