The index of new private housing work dropped to 42.8 in April with a total value of £1.84bn. This is down from an index of 45.2 a decade ago in January 2010, when output was at its previous lowest.
According to ONS figures, the index has not fallen below 100 since July 2016.
April’s output was also significantly down on March’s index of 104.9, illustrating the impact of the coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdown.
The private housing sector was the main contributor to the 41.2 per cent record decline in construction output across all sectors during the month. Since January, new work on private housing has fallen by 65 per cent.
Clive Docwra, managing director of construction consulting and design agency McBains, said: “Particular concerns are private new housing work seeing a third consecutive month of large decline, exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown in April and now at its lowest level for a decade – bad news for the industry but also for prospective homeowners given the housing shortage.
“Hopefully today’s figures will represent the nadir given they cover the full month of lockdown, but while many large construction firms are now resuming work, many will still be weakened by reduced order pipelines over the next few months.”