The government will now directly commission some newbuild properties as part of a major change in policy.

Five publicly owned areas of land will be built on this year, including one in the London region. Government has said it will commission up to 13,000 homes in 2016, with 40% of these to be starter homes aimed at first-time buyers.

By directly commissioning homes, the government will assume the responsibility for developing the land, instead of relying on large building firms.

The announcement follows the government's pledge to ensure 400,000 new starter homes are built by 2020, which was made in the November 2015 Spending Review.

Michael Ankers, chairman of the Brick Development Association (BDA), said: "It is encouraging to see the government make this commitment to helping young people get onto the housing ladder. Using brick as a durable and sustainable building resource will ensure that newbuilds are of the highest quality, and maintain the nature of the built environment with which we are so familiar for housing in this country."

The BDA said this investment in building on brownfield sites would help kick-start regeneration and enable planning permission to be secured more quickly, rejuvenating disused or under-occupied urban sites so building work can begin quickly.