Across all sectors combined, the latest four quarters recorded 15,528 starts, a two per cent reduction compared with 15,894 over the same quarters a year ago.
Private sector starts in the last four quarters together saw 9,762 starts, a three per cent reduction compared with 10,057 covering the same period the previous year.
Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said:
"As these figures show, Scotland’s housing system faces major challenges.
"The UK Government’s savage cuts right across the public sector present us with huge challenges to deliver much needed affordable housing across Scotland.
"I am encouraged by the drive and determination demonstrated by local authorities that has led to such a massive rise in council houses across Scotland.
"Across all sectors, the level of housing starts has fallen slightly in comparison with previous years. It illustrates the challenge for the future – just carrying on with what we are doing is not an option.
"Every penny of Government money will need to lever in resources to meet housing need. We have ensured that the housing and regeneration budgets have not been slashed in the way the UK Government has chosen for England.
"In 2011-12, the housing and regeneration budget amounts to almost £400m which will contribute, amongst other things, to around 6,000 new affordable homes helping support 7,500 jobs."
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