Sir – A few years ago I visited a long road of semi detached houses in Southampton to collect some books from the home of a deceased Unitarian.

Virtually the whole street was multi occupied by students in buy-to-let properties, although most of them didn’t want a garden. In several parts of Oxford the same thing has happened, potential family homes now multi occupied by students.

The same thing happened when our daughter was a student in Nottingham and our son was in Kingston. Here in Oxford houses and flats are snapped up by buy-to-let purchasers who are willing to pay high prices.

Even in our village, five miles out of Oxford, many houses are being bought for buy-to-let purposes and building societies often encourage the process. Surely the Government’s policy should aim at purpose-built housing for students, thus releasing family homes for families.

Another Government policy should be a restriction on buy-to-let loans. Out of curiosity I looked at the recent annual reports of two building societies. Nationwide mortgages are over 30% for buy-to-let, (£5.2bn to prime buyers, £ for buy-to-let) and West Bromwich Building Society loans were 42.1% to owner occupiers and 55.3% for buy-to-let.

Recent statistics have shown that the sale of council houses has backfired because about 40% have now been sold on to buy-to-let investors and I suspect the same will now happen to housing associations, co-ownership associations and co-operative housing schemes. If we have a shortage of family housing and rocketing house prices is it largely due to the policies of successive governments?

Peter Hewis (Rev)