The future looks bleak as the NHBC predicts as few as 85,000 homes being registered in the 12 months to the end of March next year, compared to 184,000 for the same period last year.
This will represent the lowest annual figure recorded by the NHBC in almost 30 years.
NHBC chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi said: "In the face of such a stark decline in new home volumes, we are at serious risk of losing a generation of skilled workers, as experienced in the 1990s.
"It is vital that we work to maintain capacity so that when the upturn comes, which it inevitably will, the industry will be able to respond to housing demand."
NHBC's latest figures show that they received just 5,893 applications to start new homes in the combined private and public sectors in October, 65 per cent lower than the same month a year ago (16,895).
NHBC statistics released this month also revealed:
• There were 19,548 applications to start new homes in the UK during the three-month period from August to October – 62 per cent lower than the same three-month period a year ago (51,608).
• 11,507 related to private sector activity (i.e. excluding housing associations) – 73 per cent lower than the same three month period a years ago (43,135).
• Housing association figures for the three months to the end of October totalled 8,041 – 5 per cent lower than the same period a year ago (8,473).
• New build completions totalled 33,771 in the three months to the end of October – 24 per cent lower than the same period a year ago (44,316).
• The average number of daily sales of new homes in the UK from August to October was 375 – 23 per cent lower on the same period a year ago (485).