Share indices in the week to 15 November 2002
Poor old housebuilders can't seem to get a break at the moment.

Just last month deputy prime minister John Prescott publicly criticised the density of their housing developments and now investors don't seem to be listening to their protestations that the housing market is in decent shape.

Recent reports suggested that a housing market collapse is inevitable, but the sector hit back with predictions that house price inflation is well under control and will soon stabilise at a healthy 5%.

The fightback didn't stop the share price of Redrow falling 8.1% to 251p last week; Wimpey fared little better with a slip of 6.4% to 272p. Tony Pidgley, one of the housebuilders with the ear of the City, must be particularly offended. Last week the Berkeley homes founder told Building that a "normal market" is prevailing: Berkeley's share price duly fell 5.5% to 589p.

Unfortunately for Pidgley, investors appear to have taken greater notice the Halifax's report that prices have risen 30.6% for the year to 31 October. This has fuelled speculation of a return to the plague years of the early 1900s.

Come on, Prescott: it's about time someone was nice to a housebuilder.