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Suburb threat.

The seemingly never-ending rise in house prices is often described as inexplicable.

It is nothing of the sort. The value of property is going up for many reasons - low interest rates, very low unemployment and virtual zero inflation in some sectors of the economy make people confident about selling and buying.

Not generally discussed, but nevertheless a contributory factor, is the comparative shortage of dwellings on the market. Demographic changes, in particular the growth of single adult occupants and oneparent families, mean that there are more people looking for homes than there are suitable properties to sell.

Pressure for development has been partly resisted by the Government, which wants local authorities to approve new-build on brownfield sites rather than despoil further the countryside.

This may be regarded as environmentally sound by some green lobbyists. But the impact has been to concentrate developers' minds on suburban England, typified by the spacious houses and large gardens of Sutton Coldfield.

In-filling, the art of constructing minihousing estates in back gardens, will change for ever the character of Birmingham's most prestigious suburb - if planners let it happen.
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 25, 2002
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