The principal trade body for housebuilders is to make half its employees redundant as the catastrophic drop in the sale of new homes continues

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has written to those affected to begin a consultation process that will lead to the departure of 12 of the body’s 25 employees.

The HBF will restructure its operations to reduce its regional presence. As part of the changes, some staff will be expected to cover multiple regions.

High-profile figures such as executive chairman Stewart Baseley, director of external affairs John Slaughter and director of economics John Stewart are thought likely to survive the cuts. However, one source close to the situation said the position of managing director Sara Drake was uncertain.

The body, which lobbies the government on behalf of major housebuilders, has been hit because its members’ fees are based on the number of homes they build.

The hbf is not immune to the environment that the industry is operating in

HBF spokesperson

A spokesperson for the HBF said: “The HBF is not immune to the challenging environment that the housebuilding industry is operating in. We are undertaking a review of the federation’s operation and cost base to determine how we move forward. This is an ongoing process that will take a number of weeks.”

The cull follows staff cuts of about 40% at many of the major housebuilders, with Persimmon cutting 2,000 staff. The number of private home starts in June was down by 60% on the previous year, according to the National House-Building Council (NHBC).

The NHBC has announced that it is also cutting staff.

Retirement housing specialist English Courtyard has become the latest victim of the credit crunch and fallen into administration.