December brought a mixed set of results for housebuilders according to the latest statistics from the National House Building Council (NHBC).

Applications for housing starts fell in December to 10,800 from 11,700 in November. The NHBC attributed this to the time of year, which is traditionally slow for starts.

The number of completions recorded was the second highest for the year, at 18,400. This was a rise of 3% on November’s figure of 17,900 .

Overall in 2006, applications for housing starts totalled 170,300, an increase of 0.1% on the previous year. Completions equalled 174,800, a rise of 8% on 2005.

In other data, property transactions in England and Wales registered with the Inland Revenue fell 26% to 149, compared with 202 in November.

The number of loans approved for house purchases was 45,533, a 42% fall on the previous month and down 11% on 2005, according to the British Bankers Association.