Newbuild starts fell by 40 per cent in January.
Assetz chief executive Stuart Law forecast at the debate that there would be 90,000 newbuild starts in 2008, against a Government target of 240,000.
He said: “New build start-ups are imploding. We are down by 40 per cent in January year on year. We were at 260,000 in 2006 and probably 150,000 in 2007. We have a severe hous- ing shortage which is going to dramatically spike up rents.”
He said the Government’s target should be increased to 280,000 new houses a year.
Hometrack director of research Richard Donnell said there is no chance that the Government’s targets will be met.
He said: “We are stuck in a numbers game. The current policy is just made about big numbers. There is a big chance that we will be building fewer homes in five years time.”