The group representing Britain's social housing industry is in talks with the Government to free £1 billion of public money to help to bail out the new homes market.
The funds would be used to buy tens of thousands of mostly inner-city flats and family homes at a heavy discount from beleaguered housebuilders.
These properties were originally expected to be sold to private buyers but are now part-built or empty as the sector struggles to deal with the sharpest slump in sales for more than a generation.
The proposal from the National Housing Federation (NHF), the umbrella body for the UK's housing associations, is under consideration by ministers at the Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
If the package is agreed, it could kickstart the moribund housing market by buying at least 10,000 units. That would help the big housebuilders, whose share prices have collapsed over recent weeks amid fears that they will be unable to service their debts as cashflow dries up.
The proposals could also assist the Government, whose target to build three million new homes by 2020, including hundreds of thousands of units of social housing, is in tatters.
The package also includes proposals to allow housing associations to buy homes from families in danger of having their property repossessed.