The NHBC has revised its 2008/09 house starts forecast to just 80,000.

The revision is 5,000 lower than its previous prediction and follows a three-month period when starts fell by almost two-thirds year-on-year.

So far, the NHBC has received 73,807 applications from builders in the combined private and public new house building sectors.

“In light of these figures, which once again underline the critical state of the industry, we remain of the view that government intervention, both on commissioning new starts, together with improving liquidity in the mortgage market, is vital,” said NHBC chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi.

The quarter’s results represented the second largest decrease in the number of applications from builders to start new homes to date, although the Christmas break exaggerated the fall.