18 APRIL 1987, Page 23

Cut-price houses

Sir: In his article on the problem of housing (Another voice, 21 March), Auberon Waugh attributes the general discontent amongst young married couples to the high cost of housing, this being the inevitable result of a shortage in supply. He further goes on to say that throwing money at the problem of shortage, in further tax conces- sions for example, would merely raise the value of property. A programme on Radio Four on 26 March described how, in seven cities in Pennsylvania, a change in the rating sys- tem, separating the value of land from that of buildings, and imposing heavier rates on land, had resulted in house prices falling. This had made available opportunities for building and development not possible before, which, in turn, had resulted in greater building projects being carried on, an amelioration of the housing problem, and more demand for work. Whilst this had applied to run-down areas of Pitts- burgh, the same results could apply to domestic housing, and could well solve the problems to which he calls attention.

This has already proved to be the case in various parts of the world, in Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc, where site value rating has been in operation for many years.

C. W. F. Watkinson 121 Leyfield Road, Liverpool