ALL areas of England are proposing plans for housing development.

Warrington, of course, is no exception as the government prioritises its ‘build more houses’ agenda.

So while there will be 20 year plans published after consultation there’s also a ‘housing market’ – the two don’t always go together as the wider economic cycle continues to run.

Contradicting information abounds on prices, activity and virtually everything else in what is becoming an unclear housing market.

The emerging picture nationally is of weakening activity and slowing house prices.

Mortgage approvals, which are the barometer of housing market activity, are now at their lowest rates for the past three years and only half of what they were 10 years ago.

The recent rise in the interest rate to 0.5 per cent has also led the effect of cooling the market.

London price falls are now beginning to ripple out across the country.

The government tightening of the Help to Buy scheme is also having an effect. The expected boost in the Chancellor’s November statement regarding abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers hasn’t materialised as yet.

In our local context Warrington has shown many times that it deals with economic downturn much more effectively than in other places.

As previously stated in this column our economy has strong momentum and is well structured. Perhaps the gloom that is beginning to descend in the housing market won’t have the negative effect here?

There is a need to rebalance our housing market with the provision of more affordable properties, particularly for young people and families.

So while there will be a ‘plan’ which no doubt will receive considerable space in this newspaper, it’s worth remembering there’s also a market.

Professor Steven Broomhead