Bank of England governor Mark Carney is acutely aware of the risks of a housing bubble and is ready to step in with direct action to head off the threat, he said.
Mr Carney said he could use the new powers of the Bank's financial policy committee to curb surging house prices and uncontrolled mortgage lending.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Canadian Mr Carney said he was alert to the potential "damage" of a house price bubble, saying: "I lived in the country (the UK) in the late 80s, 1990s, I saw the boom-bust cycle in the housing sector, the damage it can do, the length of time it took to repair. I'm very alert personally to this issue."
House prices have surged this month in the wake of government schemes to boost the market and help first-time buyers.
Property values rose 3.5% year on year, according to Nationwide Building Society, and climbed 1.4% in the three months to August, the fastest increase in three years.
Mr Carney said the Bank was watching rising house prices closely, and "we will as appropriate make our views known in terms of the degree of this risk and the potential action that should be taken to address it".
He said the Bank now has a "toolkit" to restrict mortgage credit and could even raise the amount of cash banks and building societies must hold to restrain home loans.
Mr Carney told the Mail: "We have the responsibility to assess emerging vulnerabilities in the economy such as housing, make those assessments and recommend action.
"Interest rates are principally an instrument of monetary policy for achieving the inflation outcome and there are other tools that address risks."
The governor said that heading off a housing bubble like that of six years ago before the financial crisis will be a "challenging task".