19 Jan

Hurry up and buy, minister tells first-time buyers

Hurry up and buy, minister tells first-time buyers

First-time buyers should make the most of the bargains available in the housing market before a new boom starts, housing minister Margaret Beckett has said.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ms Beckett suggested such buyers should not wait for further price falls, since "when the upturn comes, there will probably be a mad rush".

She went on to argue that there is a likelihood of an upturn in the market soon and that when it comes there is a danger of high house price inflation, particularly if the contraction of the construction industry is not addressed, leading to an insufficient number of new homes being built.

Such a situation could cause an "inflationary bottleneck" in the industry, the minister commented.

Construction industry representatives have been making calls for the government to intervene to help prevent large-scale redundancies in the building industry.

The Federation of Master Builders argued last week that encouraging more renovation through a cut in VAT on such work and materials to five per cent would avoid such a situation.
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