HC Deb 03 February 1970 vol 795 cc189-90
3. Mr. Christopher Ward

asked the Minister of Housing and local Government what is the price of an average new house in Great Britain; and what is the average price in the south-east of England.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Reginald Freeson)

The average price of a new 3-bedroom semidetached house sold in England and Wales in 1968 was £3,960 and in the south-east region £5,110. Reliable figures for 1969 are not yet available.

Mr. Ward

Does the Minister appreciate that it is virtually impossible for young couples on average earnings or below to buy houses at these figures with the mortgage rate at its present level? What is the Government's policy to deal with the matter?

Mr. Freeson

I take it that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the disparity between prices in other parts of the country and the South-East. This is nothing new. It has been going on for many years. The pressure of population in the South-East, being greater than elsewhere, produces a reaction on land and property prices.

Mr. Wellbeloved

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the high price of construction in the South-East could be affected by the scandalously high cost per unit of accommodation of the Greater London Council's Thamesmead Development in my constituency where units of accommodation are reaching an average of £10,000 per unit? This is a scandal.

Mr. Freeson

I should need notice on the detailed aspects of that question. In public sector housing there is a good deal of direct Government assistance when the properties are completed—much more than under previous Administrations. I take it that the original Question referred to owner-occupied dwellings on the market.