The Government has to build more homes that people on ordinary incomes can afford as families cannot "get even a toe on the ladder" at present, a housing charity has claimed.

Data released yesterday showed the supply of homes for sale had plunged to an 11-year low at the same time that mortgage lending hit its highest level since the credit crunch struck.

While that increase is in part due to a glut of homeowners remortgaging while rates remain so low, it also indicates buyers are borrowing ever larger sums to compete for the dwindling number of available homes.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb has called on the Government to stop simply fuelling demand further with its Help to Buy initiative and build homes that people on normal incomes can afford.

"Millions of young people and families are struggling to get even a toe on the housing ladder, yet the lack of homes for sale is continuing to push house prices higher and higher," he said.

"Government schemes like Help to Buy are only adding fuel to the fire, helping the lucky few who are well-off and leaving everyone else priced-out and trapped in expensive and insecure private renting.

"The Government must build homes that people on ordinary incomes can actually afford."

Speaking yesterday, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the 2008 economic crash had devastated the housebuilding industry, leading to the lowest levels of starts for any peacetime year since the 1920s.

He said: "We have got Britain building again, with housing completions at their highest annual level and nearly 800,000 homes built since 2009.

"We are also planning to build 200,000 starter homes across the country, which will enable young first-time buyers to buy a home at a 20% discount."