daiking, on 04 May 2011 - 12:21 PM, said:
Word on the street: Apocalypse now? Having read the signs, I don't think so
Edmund Conway 12:01AM BST 22 Jul 2006
, the Daily Telegraph's Economics Editor
, offers expert inside knowledge of the housing market
House price forecasts aren't the kind of thing one gets into fisticuffs over. Or so I thought until I found myself in a fevered discussion with a friend-of-a-friend in the pub. The topic of the housing market came up, and I volunteered my predictions.
"Really," he said. "You really think everything's going to be OK?" I answered that provided prices don't rise too much in the next couple of years, there is only a distant chance of the market collapsing.
"Don't be ridiculous," he said. "I've no doubt at all there's going to be a crash."
He continued that houses are more unaffordable than they've ever been; we are more indebted than we've ever been, and that interest rates and unemployment are about to rise.
"It is," he concluded, "all about to end in tears."
It wasn't the man's views that I found disturbing. It is quite reasonable to assume that the market could crash: prices are indeed still high and various scenarios could set off a serious slump. No, what was disturbing was the fervour and slightly unhinged aggression.
Not only was he convinced that the economics meant a crash was inevitable; he was also convinced that the past decade's boom had been engineered by homeowners for their own benefit and to the intentional detriment of potential first-time buyers.
It seems there is quite a cabal of people in his court. They congregate online at a website called housepricecrash.co.uk, where they exchange views on why it is better to rent than to buy, and place bets on how long it will take before prices slide back to mid-1990s levels.
I wouldn't recommend the site to anyone looking for a balanced take on the market: many of its users seem to have a positive vendetta against homeowners.
Check out a few of the most popular forums on the site: The Arguments For Rising House Prices Debunked, The Perfect Storm Is Coming and Are We Living In One Huge Scam?
To which the answer is, of course, no. Nobody - not me, not economists, not even Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England - knows what will happen to house prices.
Nobody saw "it" coming? Edmund Conway, the Telegraph's "Economics Editor", who apparently has "expert inside knowledge of the housing market", certainly didn't. The chump.
Edmund, this next one's specifically at you: