The role of public sector agencies in the property industry, as in other industries, is often misunderstood and even questioned. This paper is an attempt to explore the full spectrum of state involvement in the property industry and to clarify the underlying policies and strategic issues. After considering the reasons for state involvement in the property industry, the various roles and available strategies are described, along with examples of their use. The paper concludes with suggestions on improving the effectiveness of public sector involvement. The objective is to provide a framework for analysis and not to explain or critically evaluate policy. Hopefully such a framework will make public sector actions easier to understand and analyse and allow fresh strategies to become evident