§ 37. Mr. GROVES
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the considerable hardship imposed upon many of the persons who take advantage of the powers of the Acquisition of Small Dwellings Act, inasmuch as the price demanded of the purchaser is frequently £100 in excess of the amount decided by the surveyor of the local authority to be a fair market price, and that therefore the would-be purchaser has to decline the undertaking or spend probably his life's savings; and whether, as owing to the housing shortage numerous ex-service men, in order to get a home for their dependants, are commuting their pensions, which money is being used as deposit, he will consider what steps he can take to ensure that undue advantage will not continue to be taken by persons desirous of selling their property in such way, but that the price demanded shall be only equal to the amount determined 307 by an impartial surveyor to be a reasonable one?
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH(Mr Neville Chamberlain)
The hon. Member appears to be under some misapprehension. Valuations for the purpose of the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts are not made with a view to fixing a fair market price for the house, but for determining the value as security for a loan. Advances by local authorities are limited to 90 per cent. of the value as so fixed, and in present circumstances that value is generally something less than the cost of the house. The continued growth in the amount of the loans applied for by local authorities, and now amounting to nearly 11` millions under the Acts and Section 5 of the Housing Act, 1923, indicates how greatly they are appreciated, and does not suggest that the amount of deposit required commonly gives rise to hardship.
§ Mr. GROVES
Am I to understand that the price fixed by the surveyor, say, of West Ham, as security for a loan, has no relationship to the market value of the house? Is not there some definite connection between the two prices?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I think the hon. Member will understand that, in estimating the value of a house for the purposes of security for a loan, the valuer must take into consideration the probable trend of prices in the future during the currency of the loan.