Minister seeks to halt house price growth
House price growth should be halted to allow more people to buy homes, the housing minister has said.
Speaking at a Housing Market Intelligence conference yesterday, Grant Shapps said a period of house price stability is required.
‘This country is in danger of letting down the aspirations of yet another generation if homes do not become more affordable in the long term,’ he said.
‘Buying a home shouldn’t be like playing the lottery. Sometimes it seems like we’ve all forgotten what our housing market is actually for - to provide a roof over our heads.’
He said a stable housing market would help house builders by giving them a more secure business environment, allowing the sector to contribute to a sustainable economic recovery. And that the government would play its part by cutting the deficit so interest rates remain low and availability of credit improves.
Government figures published yesterday show UK house prices were 8.3 per cent higher in August 2010 than in August 2009, but the rate of increase could be slowing. More recent figures from other bodies have suggested prices may be levelling out or falling.
Mr Shapps also promised to support house builders by cutting red tape, a message he repeated in a second speech to the Home Builders Federation.
He defended the government’s decision to scrap house building targets, and denied the move has led to plans for thousands of homes being axed.
‘Of course we must build more homes,’ he said. ‘But attempting to impose supply on local communities from the centre failed you, and failed those communities.
‘It makes a good headline to say that the abolition of targets has meant X fewer homes being built. But it’s a lazy headline, because the numbers just don’t stack up. It’s a false comparison - the targeted number of homes was simply never going to get built.’