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Paper Monitor

12:54 UK time, Wednesday, 9 April 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It may be lampooned as the stuff of dinner party conversations, but Britons love to talk house prices. And with figures out showing that average house prices have fallen by 2.5% in March, this offers considerable scope to talk.

The deep and abiding interest in said prices - and the effect on the national mood - is easy to explain, says the Times. "The equity in our homes has trebled over the past decade to £2.5 trillion - more than twice the value of outstanding mortgages."

But despite predictions that a price slump will spell doom for house porn TV programming, Phil and Kirstie need not look for new jobs just yet. The paper's analyst expects that while more people will sit tight themselves, they'll be sitting tight watching other people move house on TV property shows.

The Sun, too, ties its coverage to the telly, in using soap characters instead of real people in its case studies.

First-time buyers Tyrone and Molly, who bought in fictional Weatherfield, greater Manchester, at the market's peak last summer, may well face negative equity.

The Sugdens, dairy farmers in what could be Yorkshire, are likely to face rising rents on the farm they lease.

And Dot, a pensioner in the East End, will suffer as she's on a fixed income. "But at least she owns her own home - in a now trendy part of London - and its value will have grown hugely down the years."

Paper Monitor has long wondered why the producers of EastEnders, usually so willing to court conflict whenever possible with the Square's comings and goings, have yet to introduce a screamingly yuppie family as the latest incomers.

An East End square, close to the Tube, with lots of lovely Victorian terraces crying out for renovation? Phil and Kirstie would have been banging on doors long ago on behalf of Sophie, Henry and the twins Joshua and Isabella.

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