Housing Minister raises eyebrows by saying homes rises ‘are a good thing’

Kris Hopkins MP

Vince Cable MP

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Parliamentary Correspondent

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins has clashed with a fellow minister after welcoming the latest hike in house prices.

The Housing Minister raised eyebrows after suggesting rising property prices were a “good thing”, telling an interviewer: “I bought a house and I expect the value to rise.”

The comment followed new figures revealing that prices across the UK had surged by 9.2 per cent over the past year, pushing the average cost to £178,124. But Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, warned that home ownership was now “unaffordable” to people on middle incomes.

And he said: “I do not agree with Kris Hopkins. If you are an owner-occupier who has paid off your mortgage, it is an increase in your paper or real wealth. But if you are a young family trying to get into the housing market and it is unaffordable, it is an extremely bad thing.”

Mr Cable also called for a big increase in housebuilding, saying: “That, and only that, is the solution to our housing problem.”

In contrast, Mr Hopkins – promoted by David Cameron last year – has insisted the Coalition is already on course to build more homes than Labour did. And he has dismissed warnings that the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme will inflate a dangerous housing bubble, another favourite criticism of Mr Cable.

Mr Hopkins spoke out after Nationwide, the country’s biggest building society, said prices were sharply on the rise across the country. But the annual increase in Yorkshire – 6.3 per cent, to an average price of £139,775 – was lower than in any other English region.

And, across the North, prices are still below their peak in 2007, before the financial crash.

Interviewed by Newsnight, Mr Hopkins said: “You have got to say that, where we were in 2008 and 2010, we’re nowhere near those prices at this moment in time. There are a lot of people out there who haven’t reached the value of their house that they purchased. I bought a house and I expect the value to rise.”

Bur Mr Cable said: “A family on an average income is nowhere near able to afford a house at the average price.” In the mid-1990s, the average house price was three times average earnings, Mr Cable added – but that ratio now stood at about 5.5.

Comments (2)

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7:28pm Fri 4 Apr 14

BertSanders says...

House values are up and the majority of them are owned by elderlyy people
who may well need that asset to secure some sort of comfort in their latter years. Young people are finding it diffiicult or impossible to get on the housing ladder and the jobs situation is not good and pay is restricted.
Mr Hopkins persues the capital viewpoint and Mr Cable the social viewpoit.
It is hard to see how the situation will resolve - I think old people will hang on to their assets and the young will find ever increasing anguish.
Easily available credit and the figures show there is more interest in car ownership than home ownership.
Is it better to be secure or the live it up while you can? - that seems to be the choice. The old will not be able to rely on Social Services.
House values are up and the majority of them are owned by elderlyy people who may well need that asset to secure some sort of comfort in their latter years. Young people are finding it diffiicult or impossible to get on the housing ladder and the jobs situation is not good and pay is restricted. Mr Hopkins persues the capital viewpoint and Mr Cable the social viewpoit. It is hard to see how the situation will resolve - I think old people will hang on to their assets and the young will find ever increasing anguish. Easily available credit and the figures show there is more interest in car ownership than home ownership. Is it better to be secure or the live it up while you can? - that seems to be the choice. The old will not be able to rely on Social Services. BertSanders
  • Score: 2

10:24pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Mr Perks says...

The situation hasn't been helped by the 'bedroom tax' either. Disabled people have been forced to move into smaller, often privately rented housing, which is more expensive and reduces the number of privately rented homes that are available. The obvious solution is for the government to build houses and rent them out/mortgage them at affordable prices, but this lot won't do it! There are too few homes for too many people and it's only going to get worse as the population is projected to increase in the decades to come.
The situation hasn't been helped by the 'bedroom tax' either. Disabled people have been forced to move into smaller, often privately rented housing, which is more expensive and reduces the number of privately rented homes that are available. The obvious solution is for the government to build houses and rent them out/mortgage them at affordable prices, but this lot won't do it! There are too few homes for too many people and it's only going to get worse as the population is projected to increase in the decades to come. Mr Perks
  • Score: -1

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