Barratt has reportedly reduced its land-buying programme beyond its target of £1.2bn for the year to 30 June 2008.

The housebuilder gave the £1.2bn figure in a January trading update. This was itself a £300m reduction from an earlier target of £1.5bn.

An industry source said: “It will be cutting back further. Barratt made the statement based on the assumption that market conditions would continue as they were. Clearly that hasn’t been the case.”

According to another source, the company put a moratorium on land buying last November.

The company refused to comment on the speculation. A spokesman said: “We’ve been continuously tightening the criteria that we use to buy land.”