Planning applications for major housing projects have fallen by more than a fifth in the past year, a study has revealed.

Applications for large projects in England and Wales fell from 4,413 in October 2007 to 3,444 last month, a drop of 22%, while applications for home improvements dropped even more dramatically, by 29% in the past 12 months, from 33,384 to 23,777.

The trend in planning applications for smaller projects showed a similar pattern, falling by 19,224 to 14,170 – or 26% – in the past year.

Adam Valentine, research director at Barbour ABI, said: “October saw a 27% drop in planning applications year on year, compared with October 2007. Furthermore, looking at the data for the past two months, there is a greater fall in the number of home improvement planning applications than in overall numbers of planning applications.”

Valentine said that, even though recent changes to the planning process mean that fewer home improvements need to submit a planning application, this showed the continuing effects of the slowdown in construction.