NHBC Chief Executive, Imtiaz Farookhi, said: "The private sector continues to be worst affected, with applications to build new homes in this sector almost three quarters lower in the three months to the end of February than the same period a year ago.
"With the number of applications to start new homes in the public sector remaining broadly consistent in recent months, our statistics suggest that house builders are increasingly relying on public sector work in the downturn.
"However, with public spending continuing to be squeezed, much greater intervention is required to increase building in the private sector, in particular encouraging private sector house builders to participate in joint delivery schemes, such as those proposed by the Homes and Communities Agency."
NHBC statistics for the three months to the end of February 2009 also revealed:
* Public sector figures for the three months to the end of February totalled 6606 – 8% lower than the same period a year ago (7200);
* New-build completions in the combined private and public sectors totalled 26,918 in the three months to the end of February – 32% lower than the same period a year ago (39,499);
* The average number of daily sales of new homes in the UK from December 2008 to February 2009 was 333 – 37% lower than the same period a year ago (525).
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