Figures published by the Scottish Government showed that a total of 15,900 properties were completed in 2011-12 .
That is almost 10,000 fewer than four years ago, with 25,788 homes completed in 2007-08, when the housing market was at its peak.
The number of private homes that were finished last year fell to 10,039 - less than half the total from 2007-08 of 21,663.
Housing minister Keith Brown said he was "encouraged" by a 23% rise in the number of private properties that were started.
Work began on 10,732 such homes in 2011-12, up from 8,731 the previous year and the first rise in five years.
The number of council homes built last year also increased, with local authorities completing 1,085 new homes in 2011-12.
That is up from 614 the previous year and is the highest number since devolution.
Mr Brown said: "I am encouraged with the increase in the number of private-sector houses started in the last year, although these remain very challenging times for the house-building industry.
"It is important to acknowledge that high deposit requirements and reduced mortgage availability are continuing to prove a barrier to recovery in the housing market."
He added: "The Scottish Government is doing all it can to support the industry and boost supply.
"We plan to deliver at least 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of the Parliament, backed by investment of at least £730 million in the next three years.
"We have allocated almost £115 million to local authorities across Scotland, which will help deliver a new generation of over 4,400 council homes.
"We are stimulating growth through the innovative National Housing Trust initiative and our shared equity schemes.
"We are also offering a guarantee to support up to 6,000 new build house purchases through a housing industry-led private sector mortgage indemnity scheme."
While the number of council homes that were completed rose, there was a drop in the number of properties that were started by local authorities, going from 1,443 in 2010-11 to 773 last year.
The number of homes completed by housing associations fell from 5,111 in 2010-11 to 4,776.
There was also a fall in the number of new homes started by housing associations, going from 4,656 to 2,175 over the same period.
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