Anyone's who has ever bought a house probably knows that when the money is paid over to their lawyer it goes into a separate 'client bank account' rather than the solicitor's own business account. A situation very different from the one used for letting agents where, almost unbelievably, there is no statutory requirement for such a separate account.
The past fortnight has been a bad one for those dreaming of buying their first home. First there was news that average house price growth has risen to hit a rate of 10.1%, and then Shelter's new figures showed that you will need to earn £64k and have a deposit of £46k to get on the housing ladder by 2020.
Following speculation that Ministers would introduce a 'taper' to the increases, this is now going to be forthcoming. But when it came to light last Thursday, four months after the end of a government consultation, there were no details of how it would work and on what basis. A concession on the taper would of course, be better than nothing, but even this could be a disincentive to look for a better paid job or work longer hours.
We must learn from the past. The last generation of mass council house building included some ugly monolithic estates that did not meet people's aspirations, as well as some better designs. The next generation of low-rent homes need to look like any home you'd see on an ordinary street, and work for the same people who live on those streets.
Last Tuesday night MPs were kept in the House of Commons until 2am, as the government forced through their Housing and Planning Bill in the early hours. Tory Ministers had snuck in more than 60 pages of new legislation at the last minute, including redefining 'affordable housing' to include homes for sale costing up to £450,000, and handing local planning over to private companies. No wonder Ministers are scared of debate on this bad Bill. This Housing Bill will be written up in the history books as evidence of a government that washed its hands of fixing our housing crisis.
My forecast is by the end of this Parliament there will be a lower percentage of homes that are owner occupied, there will be fewer social rented properties, there will be more insecurity and pressure on family budgets and we won't have built the million homes the Prime Minister promised. We should all be very worried.