HC Deb 05 December 1973 vol 865 cc1252-3
21. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the latest figures for home prices, new and second-hand; and what are the comparative figures for June 1970.

Mr. Channon

Figures for 1970 are available as usual in Housing and Construction Statistics in the Library. The most recent average figure relates to the third quarter of 1973. For existing houses it is £10,461 and for new houses £10,423.

Mr. Skinner

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, while he and his Department have recently been getting out figures which suggest that there has been a relative tapering off of house prices in the past few months, there will almost certainly be a massive fall in house building this year? Does he accept that market forces will make prices shoot up once again? While he is at it, will he look at the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) by the Under-Secretary of State when he used the Labour Government's system of pooling to defend the high interest rates now prevailing? If that is right, why did he and his hon. Friends bring in the Housing Finance Act?

Mr. Channon

The hon. Member has asked me a great many questions. I shall naturally study what my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary had to say. I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's analysis of the likely movement of house prices. The rise in house prices has slowed down considerably. Indeed, on the figures which I have given recently—

Mr. Ron Lewis

Not in Carlisle.

Mr. Channon

There will always be exceptions. I am not prepared to comment on Carlisle. I have many bits of evidence reaching me which lead me to the view that in many parts of the country the price of houses is stabilising or in many cases falling.

Mr. Tebbit

Will my hon. Friend do something to prevent local authorities from giving in and getting developers off the hook when they have bid too high for land and have built houses which are too expensive to sell? Such developers are now pushing off houses on to local authorities so that they can take a profit and go and do it again. Will my hon. Friend stop local authorities buying at such prices?

Mr. Channon

I shall be concerned if I find that local authorities are paying expensive prices for houses in the manner which my hon. Friend suggests. If he can give me some information, I shall consider it.

Mr. Robert C. Brown

Does not the Minister think that the figures he has quoted are disgraceful? Does he realise that there are many thousands of young people who are having to do moonlighting—namely, taking second and third jobs—and labouring at weekends to pay such prices? That applies particularly to teachers. Is this part of the "better tomorrow" that the Prime Minister promised the British people?

Mr. Channon

I think that all of us regret any increase in the price of houses. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman welcomes the fact, as I do, that prices are stabilising in many parts of the country.

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