House price rises a 'good thing'

It is a "good thing" that property prices are rising, the housing minister has said.

Housing minister Kris Hopkins, right, pictured with Chancellor George Osborne, denied the Government was fuelling property price rises
Housing minister Kris Hopkins, right, pictured with Chancellor George Osborne, denied the Government was fuelling property price rises

Kris Hopkins said he and other homeowners "expected" their values to increase.

But he denied the Government was fuelling hikes with policies such as Help to Buy - and insisted more homes had to be built.

Mr Hopkins was pressed repeatedly on the BBC's Newsnight to say whether or not sharp increases in the market were positive.

"I think yeah," he told presenter Jeremy Paxman. "I bought a house and I expect the value to rise, and I'm sure you did as well."

Mr Hopkins said rises were "certainly part of the market", but stressed that prices were still well below the pre-credit crunch highs.

"We are nowhere near the peak at this moment in time," he added.

The Tory MP argued that Help to Buy - which has seen the Government step in to underwrite deposits - only accounted for 0.5% of transactions in the last quarter of the year.

But he accepted that the country was "woefully short" in terms of housing supply.

"I don't agree with the fact that we are stoking demand, I certainly agree that we need more housing," he said.