Jon Neale (7 August, page 19) reaches the very doubtful conclusion that building homes for owner occupation will set the scene for a domestic version of the US sub-prime debacle

In support, he quotes two key statistics that are not correct.

He says banks are lending at a rate “only slightly less than at the height of the boom”.

In the first half of 2009, mortgage approvals for house purchase by all lenders were down two-thirds on their 2006 peak, while bank approvals were down nearly 60%. I would not describe falls on this scale as “only slightly less”.

He says home ownership levels in the UK are among the highest in the world. This claim, often made by critics of UK housing, is wrong. Home ownership is similar to rates in the US, Canada, Australia and Belgium; is lower than in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Italy; and is higher than in Germany, France and Switzerland. In other words, the UK home ownership rate is fairly average.

John Stewart, director of economic affairs, Home Builders Federation