The contradiction between Government housing policy and the reality on the ground has been clear for some time.
Ministers have been pressuring councils to build hundreds of thousands of new homes in the West Midlands, citing increased demand due partly to changes in the way we live our lives.
More of us are living alone, and we are living for longer, leading to increased demand for properties. On top of this, fewer of us are satisfied with renting when owning a home is seen as an investment which may provide security in old age.
One result has been that first-time buyers found it increasingly difficult to achieve their ambition of owning their own home, due to soaring prices.
Economic uncertainty has led to a downturn in the housing market, as it becomes harder to obtain a mortgage and potential buyers became more reluctant to take on debts.
Housing Minister Caroline Flint has now conceded that this means the Government may miss its target for new homes. Developers are unlikely to build properties they fear they will be unable to sell.
However, she is still hoping that the properties will be built – even if it takes a bit longer – on the grounds that the downturn will not last forever.
She may be right to believe that the housing market will recover before too long, and one must certainly hope so.
But the question that must also be considered is whether it is desirable for Britain to return to a situation where house prices are on an ever-upward trend.
One of the motors driving the housing boom over the past decade has been the willingness of banks to provide mortgages, secured by little or no deposit, which buyers could not really afford.
On the face of it, this helped many people afford a property. But it also helped drive up prices. Another reason people were willing to pay so much for property was because they had little faith in alternative methods of saving for their future.
Restoring faith in pensions, and ensuring they offered a good deal, might go some way to keeping property costs under control.
Naturally, homeowners are delighted when their houses go up in value, but none of us will benefit from another unsustainable boom.