The government’s regeneration agency is to lower its housing targets in the light of the current housing slump.

Robert Napier, chair of English Partnerships (EP), said he was negotiating with the communities department over how much the targets would fall by.

He said: “We’re looking at the targets, we’re revisiting them at the moment; it’s fair enough to assume they’ll go downwards. I can’t tell you by how much but we’ve got to be realistic.”

EP helps deliver private and social housing by working with developers to make high quality developments, often on former public sector land, economically viable.

Napier was speaking as EP unveiled its annual report showing it had exceeded development targets for 2007/08 by facilitating the start on site of 11,045 homes.

However, Napier, who has just been appointed chair of the proposed Homes and Communities that is to supersede EP in December, said the market was very bleak. “These are extremely difficult conditions for the housing market. We’ve got to ensure the industry doesn’t shut down, as I can’t build a house, and neither can the minister.”