Letter: Bad news: prices up

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your report "House prices buoyant in key areas" (27 January) applauds house price rises with phrases like "some homeowners enjoying rises" but "a gloomy picture elsewhere". I am sure you would not be writing in such terms about cars or food.

House inflation only benefits estate agents and landowners. Everyone else suffers - first time buyers and those needing to move up the housing chain all see their dream house going out of their reach. It is a prime cause of general inflation, which in turn brings higher interest rates, making mortgages dearer.

But the most serious result, from my perspective as a local councillor grappling with how to accommodate vast numbers of new houses without destroying our beautiful countryside, is that inflation stokes up demand in a never- ending cycle, with everyone jumping on the bandwagon before the next rise, and we end up with an urban sprawl.