As many as half of all highrise residential developments are being put on hold as a result of the steepening market downturn.

The forecast was made as one of the most high-profile developments to date fell victim to the weakening economy. ING Real Estate last week withdrew from a funding agreement for the £250m King Alfred residential complex in Brighton, an ambitious Frank Gehrydesigned mixed-use scheme that comprised 751 flats across two towers and several smaller blocks.

Guy Parker, country manager for ING Real Estate, blamed the downturn and uncertainty in the residential market, escalating construction costs and volatility of the money markets. Karis Holdings, the project’s developer, is seeking a new financial partner, but the scheme in its existing form is seen as dead in the water.

The project is the latest and most visible victim of the housing slowdown, and the decision comes amid a widespread freeze on new development across the country.

Financial Times