The market capitalisation of the seven largest housebuilders has slumped from a total of £15bn to £8bn in the past 12 months. Financial Times (Easter Monday)

After almost a decade of growth, the sector as a whole has lost more than 50 per cent of its value compared with the FTSE All-Share.

The recent corporate results season saw once upbeat builders reeling from the impact of the credit squeeze, with little in their outlook statements to cheer investors.

Outside the City, this is the sector that has been hit hardest by the Northern Rock debacle.