The registrations totalled 8,105 – a bounce back from a poor June.

NHBC commercial director Richard Tamayo said it was hoped that an anticipated government announcement in September to relax planning rules requiring private housebuilders to make substantial social housing provisions in large projects would give a further boost to private sector work.

However, despite the July growth, private sector registrations in the rolling quarter May to July (21,574) were down 10% on a year ago.

Across all sectors, registrations were down 21% (28,574 compared with 36,716 in 2011).

Regions showing growth are the north-west, north-east, east Midlands, the Welsh unitary authorities and the Isle of Man.