Housing numbers game paints bleak picture

News that the North East is the only place in the UK where house prices have dropped might seem at odds with today’s other story that houses will have to be built on green belt land because there are going to be too many to fit on brownfield sites.

I’m no economist, but is a fall in house prices not an indication that there is no great demand and therefore – the logic would seem to suggest – that there is no need for new homes…certainly not the figure of 115,000 apparently required to tackle the region’s housing crisis?

A lack of demand is certainly a factor, but that – according to Neil Foster of the Northern TUC – is because house prices here are still relatively high in relation to wages and access to credit.

The shortage of housing is certainly not a myth. Just ask the parents whose 30-odd-year-old children still live at home.

More worryingly, perhaps, house prices in the neighbouring North West and Yorkshire and the Humber are on the rise and Scotland’s, of course, become something of a special case.

So where does that leave the North East? At the moment seemingly either top or bottom of the league tables which chart the worst or best.