The British Property Federation has called for real action, rather than tinkering around the edges, to deal with the problems in the housing market.

It also suggested that ministers engage with the commercial property sector to see what role it could play.

The BPF said that the government’s new £200m mortgage scheme – where housing associations buy homes from those struggling to pay their mortgage, and then rent it back or provide a loan – was welcome, but not perfect.

BPF spokesman Andrew Teacher, speaking on Radio 5 Live, said people would still have to pay back the money in the future.

‘It’s the attitude of 'get a home now, pay for it later' that got us into this mess in the first place,’ he said.

The BPF also called for ministers to engage with the commercial property sector to develop a branded rental sector.

Teacher said: ‘If we’re looking at keeping people who cannot afford mortgages in their homes by turning them into renters, then it makes perfect sense to encourage a larger, more professionalized rental market that will be there to help people in the future.

‘Many housing associations are in trouble and face similar problems to private house builders who have bought land at the top of the market and now can’t do anything with it.

'It’s vital that the commercial developers, with the means to generate long term funding streams, are brought into the debate and that we start to develop new, innovative ways of delivering housing.’