House prices are set to tumble 20% over the next few years, according to Roger Bootle, an economist and adviser to the Treasury (pictured). Bootle said: "By spring I would expect house prices to be falling and they will carry on falling. The years of people being able to make money for nothing are at an end."

Bootle made his prediction at Future Homes, the strategic planning and development forum for the housebuilding industry organised by Building in association with the Housing Forum.

The event featured the launch of the Private Housebuilding Annual 2003, Fred Wellings' report on the industry. The report costs £97 and can be ordered from Sharon Benson on 020-7560 4031.