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I read recently that the dramatic falls in house prices are good news for first-time buyers. Presumably, a lot more people will soon be on the first rung of the housing ladder. And if more first-time buyers are going to buy houses, there must be more houses for them to buy. Unfortunately, since 2000, the rise in the number of households (generated by net migration, higher life expectancy and the preference for single-person households) has exceeded the rise in the number of available houses by around 50,000 per year. This year is no different.

But surely lower house prices must…

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