The Government's move to scrap further anti-speculation measures in the property market is a sensible move even if it is unlikely to spark off an immediate enthusiastic buying spree. In the current economic climate, speculators have gone into hibernation while genuine homebuyers are as keen as the sharpest wheeler-dealer to conserve their cash. Housing is cheaper than it has been for some time, but it will not be seen as a good buy until the market - and the economy as a whole - show some signs of bottoming out. If potential buyers are assuming that the market may fall further and continue to worry that their own incomes may no longer be assured, the removal of anti-speculation measures is not going to make a huge change to those perceptions. However, what the Government's latest move will do is make purchases easier and cheaper for those buyers who are prepared to enter the market now. As well as allowing developers to sell more flats privately to their own directors and staff, the Government has announced that the minimum deposit on signature of a preliminary purchase agreement will be halved to five per cent from 10 per cent. The further 20 per cent deposit required immediately on the signature of the final purchase agreement 14 days later will no longer be compulsory. This measure appears to have more to do with timing than with pricing. It would, for instance, make it easier for low-to-middle-income earners on Home Starter Loans and Home Purchase Loans to make their deposits while their applications are still being processed. But while any improvement in property market flexibility should be welcomed, the measure suggests that more could be done to iron out far more fundamental rigidities which are entirely of the Government's own making. Would it not, for instance, make more sense to speed up the application process for loans so that buyers would have the cash in hand by the time the final purchase agreement came to be signed? The present market doldrums offer the Government a rare opportunity to work out a new, comprehensive housing policy, reducing bureaucratic delays and ironing out clumsy distortions. It should seize the chance, returning to the matter in the Chief Executive's forthcoming policy address.