The NHBC figures for October show private sector house building plumbing new depths.

The number of new registrations for the month dropped to just 3,454, compared with 14,698 last year. Taking the three months to the end of October registrations were down by 73%.

While private sector completions were a shade perkier in October, but still over a three month period they are down more than a third on a year ago.

One would expect completions to hold up for a while as sites are built out. But the dearth of new registrations does point to a very bleak start to the New Year.

Some of the slack in completions is being taken up by an increase in completions of social sector housing.

However, the worrying trend is that new registrations for public housing were down over the three months to the end of October by 5%.