The latest national statistics for house building in England fall 'well short of expectations' according to the chief economist for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The seasonally adjusted data for the March quarter 2012 shows that while completions have increased, starts have decreased since 2011.

House building starts stood at 24,140 in the March quarter 2012. This is 11% lower than in the December quarter 2011. Completions increased, up 6% to 31,010 in the March quarter 2012.

Private enterprise housing starts were 8% lower in the March quarter 2012 than the previous quarter, whilst starts by housing associations were 21% lower. Completions for both increased by 8% from the previous quarter.

Seasonally adjusted starts are currently 42% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 but 50% below the December quarter 2005 peak. Completions are 36% below their March quarter 2007 peak.

Annual housing starts totalled 104,970 in the 12 months to March 2012, down by 6% compared with the 12 months to March 2011. Annual housing completions in England reached 117,870 in the 12 months to March 2012, an increase of 6% compared with the 12 months to March 2011.

The NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme only started a couple of months ago and is taking time to gain traction.

He also stressed the importance in the medium term of the planning changes that have been pushed through by government.

According to the most recent RICS Construction Survey, close to two thirds of respondents say they have seen no evidence that finance is becoming more readily available and only 15% have seen an improvement.