Booming house prices cause “enormous pain” for those excluded from ownership markets, warns UK housing minister Grant Shapps. Speaking in a candid year-end interview, the minister states: “We believe that [property] should be primarily thought of as a place to be your home.” Many governments worldwide consider home ownership as primarily a long-term investment – a form of retirement savings. On this theory, rapid growth in house prices means bigger equity at retirement, which is a good thing. But Minister Shapps counters by saying that people should rely on other forms of investment to generate a retirement income, not housing. “The main thing everyone requires for their subsistence is a roof over their head and when that basic human need becomes too expensive for average citizens to afford, something is out of kilter. I think the answer is house-price stability. We had this crazy period from 1997 to 2007 when house prices almost tripled, which is fine if you have a house.” Young people, along with low and moderate income households, have been excluded from ownership because of rapidly rising home prices, notes the minister. His comments support findings in the Wellesley Institute’s Precarious Housing in Canada 2010 report. Starting with the growing body of research that links a good home with good health, we note the policy clash between viewing housing as an asset versus housing as a fundamental human need. The report sets out a pragmatic set of policy options.