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So runs the front page headline in today’s Daily Express, which announces that house prices increased by more than £3,000 last month – their biggest rise for two years. “The surprise leap of 1.9 per cent”, it says, “follows 10 consecutive monthly falls which have wiped around £33,000 off the value of the average three-bedroom semi, according to Britain’s biggest mortgage lender Halifax. There was further good news for home owners after Halifax, alongside three other major lenders, immediately slashed their standard variable rate mortgages following yesterday’s Bank of England’s interest rate cut to one per cent.”

The Sun also reports the rise as good news. What is good about it is not made clear. If petrol prices go up, the Sun and the Daily Express are quick to complain. There seems to be a certain lack of understanding, but it must be pretty widespread or people would not buy newspapers that spout this kind of nonsense. Underneath it of course is the misconception that the economy needs ever-rising house prices in order to thrive, but one might have thought that the events of the past 18 months would have woken everyone up to the folly of that idea. Seemingly not. Obviously people still have a lot to learn.