Official figures have revealed a drop of more than a quarter in the amount of new housebuilding getting under way in Scotland in the past year.
In 2008/09, work on 20,000 new homes was started - a 26 per cent fall from the previous year’s figure of 26,900.
There was also a 17 per cent fall in the amount of new homes built and completed - from 25,700 to 21,400 last year, according to the Housing Statistics for Scotland.
However, the building of affordable homes in the public sector has now reached its highest level since the mid-1990s - with 4,913 new affordable homes completed last year.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attributed the increase to “record” Scottish Government funding - with £644 million allotted for affordable housing this year.
She said: “Building projects throughout the country are bringing much-needed new contracts and safeguarding jobs for Scotland’s construction industry.
“Against a backdrop of continuing economic uncertainty, and at a time when new builds in the private sector are declining, this is more important than ever.
“We have committed over £1.5 billion to build thousands of affordable homes and importantly, help stimulate activity, safeguard jobs and keep the economy moving.”