Housing starts are on the up but the industry trend is down, according to the latest statistics from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
In England during the quarter to June there were 48,800 housing starts, a rise of two per cent on the same period in 2004.
There were 40,800 housing completions, an increase of five per cent.
During the twelve months to the end of June in England there were 175,500 starts, up five per cent on the figures for the previous twelve months while there were 156,200 completions, ahead six per cent.
In the West Midlands there were 4,351 housing starts in the second quarter, up from 4,157 a year ago. Completions totalled 4,536, up from 3,527 a year ago.
The ODPM stated: "There have been upward trends in housing starts and completions in England since 2002/03.
"Starts and completions were running at about 38,000 and 34,000 per quarter. These rates have increased to 44,000 and 39,000 per quarter respectively up to the latest quarter. However the increasing trend in starts has slowed over the last two quarters."
Meanwhile the Federation of Master Builders State of Trade report for the second quarter has found a general deceleration in both workload and employment growth for small and medium-sized builders across the country.
The weakest findings came from the West Midlands, where almost half (48 per cent) reported lower workloads against just ten per cent saying work had increased.
The home improvement market, which has been one of the main drivers for increased business in recent years slowed for the second quarter running, but the real downturn is in new housing work, in both the public and private sectors, and industrial work.
John Watson, FMB regional director, said: "These latest results confirm earlier indications that many building firms are seeing a levelling of workloads and jobs, but the picture isn't all doom and gloom. Expectations for the third quarter remain positive, with almost two thirds (61 per cent) expecting workload to increase or remain stable.
"And the announcement that the 2012 Olympics will be staged in the UK will have a positive impact for building in London, which should spread across the rest of the country."