LETTERS : House prices still in flux

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The Independent Online
IF THE UK's housing market does become as placid as Germany's ("A house is not a goldmine", 22 January), it will have done so by a different route. West Germany has consistently built more dwellings than the UK - 450,000 a year between 1954 and 1

972.

By the 1970s West Germany had more dwellings available per 1,000 people. When house prices were rising in the UK at 6 per cent a year, largely because of inadequate supply, they were falling in Germany. As a result, interest payments on household debt in1992 were five times as much in the UK as in Germany.

If housing continues along its present course the German market is likely to remain placid while the UK is likely to hit more turbulence. This was the view of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which said: "Most of the underlying factors that produced the boom and bust are still in place and threaten a repeat performance."

P R Hutchinson London SW15

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