The filling of city centres with 'Identikit' apartments has left the price of such developments in danger of collapse. Housebuilding analysts are giving warning of price falls next year in some regional cities, saying that declines might be followed by years of stagnation. The Times

Alastair Stewart, of Dresdner Kleinwort, said: 'The proportion of new-build properties that are apartments has gone up from 21 per cent in 2000 to 49% in the latest quarter. In various cities in the UK, such as Leeds, Manchester, Ipswich, Norwich, Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham, there’s a vast oversupply.'

Kevin Cammack, a housebuilding analyst with Kaupthing, said that demand for 'higher-rise urban schemes' – many of them aimed at investor ownership and for 'allegedly executive occupants' – has fallen away, leaving prices looking unsustainable.

Stewart expects that falls in prices for such flats will be felt most heavily in regional centres.

Buy-to-let investors - especially those beginning to establish portfolios – are particularly struggling to borrow in the present credit squeeze, with lenders demanding larger deposits.