asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the average selling price of three-bedroom detached and three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows in Swansea in the years 1969, 1970, 1971 and to 31st October 1972, stating the increase in percentage terms for each of these periods.
Is the Minister of State aware that I do not think anyone tells him anything, that in Swansea increases in house prices are scandalous and that although they may be a speculator's dream they are a Welsh national scandal? Is the hon. Gentleman aware further that the Fair Trading Bill gives no protection against gazumping, which is morally indefensible but is legally permissible under the present Government and a practice which is responsible for snowballing house price increases? Lastly, will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this factor causes great financial hardship and frustrates especially those who are about to set up house? Will he tell the Government to take their fingers out and get on with it and do something?
The way to keep house prices down is to build more houses. In Swansea 50 per cent. more houses were under construction in the first nine months of this year than in the same period in 1971. On the question of gazumping, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General gave to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) on 6th November.
Will my hon. Friend press local authorities throughout Wales to release land more quickly for housing development and to impose conditions that land released shall be used for building houses within a very limited time?
Certainly. The question of land in South-East Wales has been concerning my right hon. and learned Friend and myself. We take every opportunity of encouraging local authorities to release land wherever possible.