IT WAS just a little depressing to discover this week that my house might be worth less than I thought.

Not that I’m planning to sell it anytime soon but, like most people I suspect, I like to keep an eye on these things just in case.

The bad news came in the form of research by online property website Zoopla, which reported that houses in Bradford go for a higher percentage under the asking price than anywhere else in the country.

Apparently, Bradford house vendors, on average, receive 6.32 per cent less for their property than the asking price.

Of course, we all ask more for our houses than we expect to end up with but the national average is, we’re told, 3.86 per cent below the asking price.

Preston, Swansea, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Bolton were the next worst and Bristol, with a gap of just 1.9 per cent, had the average sale price nearest to that advertised.

Unhelpfully, Zoopla offer no guidance as to why this might be the case. Could it be that homeowners are pushing estate agents to advertise their properties for more than they’re worth?

Are estate agents misreading the market? Or just hoping for a pick-up in prices?

Maybe we’re all just being unrealistically greedy?

Zoopla’s spokesman, Lawrence Hall, does offer some less-than-earth-shattering insight into the North-South divide in prices: “It’s unsurprising that properties in the south of the country are currently selling closest to their original asking price, as demand for homes in the capital and its surrounding commuter belt remains high.”

If it’s just a case of demand being high, it begs the question as to why Bradford Council is so intent on building so many new homes over the next five years or so?

If we can’t sell the ones we've got at anything like the market rate, why do we need so many new ones?

The answer might have something to do with the UK construction industry, which the Government seems to be pinning much of its hopes on to lead economic growth.

And there is some good news there: a pick-up in house-building in November showed better-then-forecast growth and the fastest for five months, according to the industry’s official measure, the Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI for short.

The report said the growth level showed house building projects again emerging as the “primary growth engine” for industry activity. It said survey participants put the growth down to “resilient demand” and a “supportive policy backdrop” for residential development.

However, more worryingly, the house-building growth was set against a drop in civil engineering activity and commercial construction.

In other words, we’re not building the new factories, warehouses, offices and shops we need which, in turn, shows that the real business economy is not growing and we’re not creating the new jobs we need to raise income levels.

And with yesterday’s report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showing that almost 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners are living in poverty than four years ago, that is far worse news for Bradford – especially the Bradford East constituency which has some of the worst deprivation in the country – than a drop in perceived house values.

What this district, in common with much of the North of England needs, is job growth.

Some of that can be delivered by house-building, of course, but real, sustainable jobs come from innovation, wealth creation and increased productivity.

But we need to get our priorities right: jobs are the horse and homes are the cart.

Rather than building houses that no-one can afford, surely we must create the need first by generating the wealth to pay for them?

Bradford Council and Leeds City Region need to focus all their effort there and the Government needs to get on with providing the funding to allow them to create the conditions for growth.

A booming economy and proper jobs will make the North more desirable and only then will homeowners be able to sell their houses for what they think they’re worth.

Author's intervention in attack is a fine example

HAWORTH author and photographer Peter Paul Hartnett richly deserves the praise he received from London’s High Sheriff for going to the aid of a woman he heard being viciously raped in a neighbouring hotel room.

Mr Hartnett undoubtedly helped to prevent a violent and disgusting attack from coming to a far worse conclusion by intervening when many others would have just turned up the TV or walked away for fear of being assaulted themselves.

“We all have a duty to assist when there’s need,” he said. A lesson for us all, perhaps.

A high pie-ority probe should bring perpetrator to crust-ice

TO COIN a phrase, there’s something distinctly fishy about the news Morrisons has had to recall packs of its Traditional Chicken & Mushroom Pie.

The Food Standards Agency says some of the packs were found to contain fish and mustard instead which is a risk for anyone allergic to them.

The suggestion that someone could eat a fish pie thinking it tastes of chicken and mushroom is a little worrying, especially from Morrisons’ point of view….

The supermarket has apologised, of course, and promised a full refund but it hasn’t explained how it happened.

Did someone put fish in the chicken and mushroom pie cases by mistake? Or was it a case of fish pies being put into chicken and mushroom packets – and no-one noticing because they look the same?

And has fowl play been ruled out? We need to know.