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Ephraim Bubble Blower

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About Ephraim Bubble Blower

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  1. If the likely path of interest rates has moved higher, then wouldn't a rational potential homebuyer move quicker now than he would have done before Thursday to lock in a rate today which might be higher again in the future. It's a little paradoxical but the US housing market had its steepest climb when rates were clearly on an upward path month-after-month. It is now beginning to slow markedly despite the fact the Fed is 'almost done.'
  2. I was brought up in Enfield - clearly one needs to distinguish between the nice areas that might retain their value (Brookmans Park) and the poor areas (Edmonton). However the big paradox given the price rises I've seen is that once prices reach a certain level then those developments aimed at 'city professionals' can only appeal to the types of people (high-earners) who wouldn't dream of living in Edmonton or similar. A prime example, admittedly in more salubrious Enfield, is the Tower Point development - I recall over three years ago viewing a two-bed for £250k - any sensible borrower
  3. you'd be pleased if you'd paid £750k for one wouldn't you? it is really terrifying. I live in Manhattan and for that sort of money (call it $1.3m) you could get a nice 2-bed or exceptionally nice 1-bed bang in the centre of a thriving metropolis as opposed to bang in the centre of North Finchley surrounded by kebab shops (and Manhattan is not cheap believe me).
  4. I've lost count of the number of intelligent informed people who have told me that the UK market has flattened (not fallen) and that it has even begun rising again. It seems the media and vested interests' spin has worked its magic for now. Given that this general sentiment that the crash didn't occur (true) but also won't occur (perhaps untrue), will inevitably delay the adjustment process even further. It all makes me worry that in the absence of a clear exogenous shock which the average man on the street can understand eg. interest rate rises, war etc.. then we will be in for years if no
  5. Like you, I'd be very cynical about the real crime situation and the extent of true improvements in education and healthcare outcomes. Anecdotally, and speaking as someone who has lived in New York for the past two years, on my returns to the UK I always note the general feeling of impending violence which I never feel in the US, despite their obviously higher official crime rates. You rarely run the risk of walking past a pub/bar and stumbling across a load of drunk lads looking for trouble.
  6. I agree but it is only via the consumption of goods that 'quality of life' has increased, but all the non-financial aspects of 'quality of life' have got nothing but worse in my view.
  7. I firmly believe that the house price bubble has not helped the economy fundamentally, and has instead produced distortions and imbalances which will become apparent in due course. However, it has clearly given many ill-advised homeowners the 'perception' that it has been good for them, and has encouraged them to take on more debt than they should, and to enjoy a lifestyle which the good old fashioned virtues of earning and saving would never have given them. I am genuinely concerned that despite the above, and despite some 70 or 80% of the country's adult population being homeowners, the
  8. I'm sorry but what you've written is categorically untrue. Every recent recession has indeed been preceded by an inverted yield curve, but not every inverted yield curve has been followed by a recession. That is a subtle but important difference.
  9. I returned to the UK (from the US) over Xmas and was hoping to get some very negative vibes from friends about the current state of the housing market. Instead I was somewhat taken aback by the degree to which people are still doing anything to get onto the housing ladder, quoting the usual 'affordability' argument alongside the 'rent is dead money' argument. Indeed with regard to the latter, despite me laying out in easily understood terms how in the context of a flat (or falling) market, and low rental yields, a renter 'saves' quicker than a homebuyer on a repayment mortgage, they still lo
  10. Have lived in New York for the past two years, and have not missed the UK in the slightest. Unfortunately my wife doesn't feel the same which implies we will have to head back to the UK at some point. There is genuinely nothing that would take me back if I was single.
  11. As I pointed out in my blog, http://investedinterests2005.blogspot.com one would be more inclined to believe the Halifax or Nationwide figures if they weren't being quoted in the context of such dire retail sales. If consumers are not stretched, they are certainly not spending the excess in the shops. One of them has to be wrong - either the retail figures are better than quoted, or the housing market activity/prices are worse. My inclination is that it's the latter given there are fewer flaws in the former, and many are quoted to the Stock Exchange.
  12. The US has been roughly a year behind the UK and Australia in experiencing a slowdown, but today's stats suggest they will not and have not escaped the inevitable downturn.
  13. Thanks to having attended the same college as Charles Bean (Chief Economist at the Bank of England), I was invited to attend a private talk at the Bank of England a couple of years ago, at the peak of the bubble. At the post-talk cocktail party, fuelled by a few too many dry white wines, I decided it was high time Prof Bean heard my rather lengthy spiel on the housing market (as the link in my signature below shows, I have quite a few views on the topic). He listened politely, occasionally (but usually unsuccessfully) stopping me in full flow to give opposing arguments, but eventually real
  14. thanks - if you have a login, feel free to tell them I don't have a particular vested interest - I am very happily living in the US, whilst all my friends/family are homeowners and I've no desire to see them in trouble.
  15. I've sent it to plenty of intelligent homeowning friends who tend to agree with the analysis but not the conclusion. They argue that I underestimate the extra value homeowners place on the fact that it is their own home (as opposed to a landlord's). They argue that it needs a catalyst to crash and there isn't one in sight. They argue that buy-to-let isn't a large enough part of the market to cause a large negative correction. etc. etc. etc.. I would be more than happy to write a report arguing the exact opposite - then people could read both and decide which side they fall on. It wouldn't
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