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Housing policy 'should not overlook north-east'

An industry expert has warned the government not to overlook the north-east of England in its housing policy. Ajay Jagota, head of South Shields-based sales and lettings agency KIS, called on housing minister Brandon Lewis to visit the region in order to understand the impact "London-centric" policies may have.Speaking to local newspaper the Evening Chronicle, he said that while some government actions, such as the Help to Buy scheme, have helped the north-east, others like the Mortgage Market Review may have had a negative effect.Mr Jagota claimed the region's housing market improved considerably throughout most of 2014, before slipping back in the final quarter."The government's Help to Buy scheme was undoubtedly a huge factor in getting things moving again, but I warned at the time that reforms making it harder for people to secure mortgages - reforms completely unnecessary in the North East - risked slamming the brakes back on," he stated.Mr Jagota said it remains to be seen whether the current slowdown is simply seasonal, or the result of his warnings coming true.The industry expert, who has written to the housing minister on this issue, claimed "treating London problems as national ones wouldn’t just cool the property market but cool the entire economy".He argued the affordability of mortgages was never an issue in the north-east and the government's actions appear to have simply created a new problem in the region.According to new research from Home.co.uk, property asking prices in the north-east will rise by 1.8 per cent in 2015 - double the 0.9 per cent increase seen this year.Overall, the organisation predicts house values will grow seven per cent in the new year. The south-east and eastern England are expected to see the greatest increases, with typical property values forecast to grow by 10.5 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.In Greater London, asking price growth is expected to slow from 15.9 per cent to ten per cent due to an increase in supply. 

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