Just because the general public has been enjoying the recent housing boom in the UK, it doesn’t necessarily mean they understand why it is happening, according to new research.

When asked who is to blame for high prices, 31% of homebuyers cited property investors and immigrants as the villains, while the real culprit, stable low interest rates and inflation, came bottom of the poll, at just 6.3%.

Twice as many people (12.6% compared to 6.8%) reproached the government for the shortage of homes to buy; yet typically, it is town councils that block residential development. And only 12.2% felt subsidies should be given to first-time buyers and 15.1% gave the cold shoulder to property investors, believing they should be taxed more than everyone else.

Those concerned about the omnipresence of the nanny state might be surprised to see that 91% of respondents expect the government to take action when it comes to housing problems and an astonishing one-fifth (20.5%) are keen on the government restricting immigration as a way of controlling house prices.

The strength of appetite for government interference is quite startling while the housing market is already showing signs of cooling naturally, says Warren Bright from Propertyfinder, who carried out the survey. ‘Whitehall’s role should not extend beyond ensuring the smooth running of a free market,’ he said.