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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 05:13 GMT 06:13 UK
Property viewed 'safer than cash'
By Andrew Verity
Presenter, The Truth About Property

Board showing houses for sale
Price inflation has made property seem as unbeatable investment
A majority of British people believe buying property is now a safer place to put their money than saving with a bank or building society.

Research for the BBC Two series, The Truth About Property, found 53% of respondents believed owning property was safer than cash.

The poll took place in the aftermath of the Northern Rock crisis, the first run on a British bank in nearly 150 years.

The findings come despite mounting evidence of a slowing housing market.

'Extreme measures'

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Prices have fallen in many parts of the UK in the past few months, prompting some analysts to question whether the decade-long housing boom is coming to an end.

In order to gauge how record house prices were affecting people's lives, the BBC commissioned NOP to conduct research on the issue at the end of last month.

Asked which they thought was a safer investment at the moment, 53% of those surveyed said buying property was safer than cash.

That belief is directly at odds with the view accepted by the overwhelming majority of investment professionals.

They regard cash as safer than property because as long as the bank is solvent, there is no risk to your capital.

It will also raise questions about the success of the government's attempts to reassure the public following the run on Northern Rock.

The programme also discovered that first-time buyers, fearing the first rung of the property ladder is drifting out of reach, are taking extreme steps to obtain a property.

Such steps included:

  • Going to Bulgaria to buy despite warnings of an oversupply of property in Eastern Europe which could bring prices down there
  • Queuing all summer in tents for old army houses
  • Finding a friend to buy with using the internet
  • Buying a boat to house a family because normal housing is unaffordable even when people earn well over the average income

A Stretch Too Far?, the first episode of The Truth About Property, was screened on 18 October at 8pm.





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