The number of housing starts fell below 100,000 last year, 11% down on the previous year, and less than two fifths the number needed to meet demand.

The Department for Communities and Local Government’s housing figures for the final quarter of 2012 showed that there were 98,280 housing starts in England in 2012. Weakness was visible in all sectors although the biggest decline was from housing associations which saw a drop in starts of more than 20%.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said the latest figures demonstrated the “scale of the problem facing the country in delivering sufficient homes to accommodate a rising population.”