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Alfie Moon

The Property Market Remains In Deep Recession - Discuss

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It is worth considering to what extent the property market has really picked up over the last few months.

Someone suggested in a thread (can't remember which one) that the Nationwide Index has been severely skewed by the Nationwides tightening of credit (access to mortgages) criteria - meaning that their house price index now reflects property buyers with large deposits and can access the available mortgage products whilst other people can't.

Also, in terms of the property market picking up - yes, house price indexes showing some level of rise - but what about the level of transactions? Here in the west Mids, using PropertyBee to track parts of B'ham, Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Worcester, etc. I certainly saw a pick up of activity between Feb and May, but since May activity has dropped right back - certainly in terms of the numbers of properties going SSTC. For example, those of you with PropertyBee can look at Worcester - WR4 postcode and look at the number of properties going SSTC for example for Connels and Michael Tuck during August. Unless they achieve a large number of sales this weekend they will have had just about 1 property per week go SSTC during August. June and July also saw very low numbers of properties go SSTC.

What are other people seeing in their localities?

As someone on HPC, or in the media, said recently - although there has been some pick up in activity in the property market (number of viewings, offers made, etc.) and some small rise in prices recorded by Indexes the number of successful completions remain at historical lows and the amount of money Estate Agents are generating from sales remains dismally low - in sum, the property market remains deep in recession.

Someone I know visited Tamworth (just north of Birmingham) recently and walked through the centre of the town - he said at least 40 shops were closed down including a shopping precinct right in the centre that only had 2 shops remaining open with the other 15 shops closed down. Yep, just the right conditions for a recovery in the property market!

The only realistic way in which Estate Agents can help create a sustainable recovery in successful transaction levels is by ensuring that asking prices are cut, and cut repeatedly until sales are achieved successfully.

Pretending that the property market is not in recession, that the wider economy is not in deep s**t trouble with ongoing galloping unemployment, that credit levels will not return anywhere near 2007 levels, and by pushing up asking and selling prices will not lead to a recovery for the property market. Indeed such a delusional approach will only ensure that the house price crash, in total, will be deeper and longer.

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What are other people seeing in their localities?

Not much in the way of sales on the Norfolk/Suffolk border towns of estate 3 & 4 bed houses, although out of town 3 & 4 beds in the country more expensive/exclusive places are selling. No idea about other properties.

Where I work the boss has a house to rent and the agent gave me an honest assessment of the local housing market:

Sales have picked up although still low volumes & asking prices are rarely achived

Sellers are moving in to RENTED

Rental market is keeping the agency business viable

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Speaking anecdotally: I live in London and know of three mates who have bought properties in the last month. These are the first people I know who have bought somewhere since early 2008. Two are sanguine and sensible. One's an idiot who actually came out with the line 'I wanted an investment property as a pension.' I fear he may have jumped the gun. Having said that, most would-be sellers I know remain glum and most have taken their house off the market or pretend they're not really that interested in selling anyway. Houses are almost never mentioned. No one's bought a new car; no one's gone on a week's holiday to the Caribbean and no one's stayed at a boutique hotel in the Cotswolds in ages. There must be a recession on or something :blink: .

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It is worth considering to what extent the property market has really picked up over the last few months.

Someone suggested in a thread (can't remember which one) that the Nationwide Index has been severely skewed by the Nationwides tightening of credit (access to mortgages) criteria - meaning that their house price index now reflects property buyers with large deposits and can access the available mortgage products whilst other people can't.

Also, in terms of the property market picking up - yes, house price indexes showing some level of rise - but what about the level of transactions? Here in the west Mids, using PropertyBee to track parts of B'ham, Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Worcester, etc. I certainly saw a pick up of activity between Feb and May, but since May activity has dropped right back - certainly in terms of the numbers of properties going SSTC. For example, those of you with PropertyBee can look at Worcester - WR4 postcode and look at the number of properties going SSTC for example for Connels and Michael Tuck during August. Unless they achieve a large number of sales this weekend they will have had just about 1 property per week go SSTC during August. June and July also saw very low numbers of properties go SSTC.

What are other people seeing in their localities?

As someone on HPC, or in the media, said recently - although there has been some pick up in activity in the property market (number of viewings, offers made, etc.) and some small rise in prices recorded by Indexes the number of successful completions remain at historical lows and the amount of money Estate Agents are generating from sales remains dismally low - in sum, the property market remains deep in recession.

Someone I know visited Tamworth (just north of Birmingham) recently and walked through the centre of the town - he said at least 40 shops were closed down including a shopping precinct right in the centre that only had 2 shops remaining open with the other 15 shops closed down. Yep, just the right conditions for a recovery in the property market!

The only realistic way in which Estate Agents can help create a sustainable recovery in successful transaction levels is by ensuring that asking prices are cut, and cut repeatedly until sales are achieved successfully.

Pretending that the property market is not in recession, that the wider economy is not in deep s**t trouble with ongoing galloping unemployment, that credit levels will not return anywhere near 2007 levels, and by pushing up asking and selling prices will not lead to a recovery for the property market. Indeed such a delusional approach will only ensure that the house price crash, in total, will be deeper and longer.

Alternatively 2001 and 2009 were the abberation in terms of transactions. A decade long boom characterised by high volumes and high margins. The new market is constrained by availability of credit. This is not going to change soon. However does this alone signal a decline in prices? Not going by current evidence it doesn't. Those currently active in the market obvious have access to finance their deals. With relatively few properties coming to market prices have been supported. There is no reason for me to believe that those with the money to spend will suddenly begin to abhor property.

In Reading and West Berks the property market is back to its bubbalicious best. Houses are being competed for and asking prices and above are being achieved. There is lots of money in the SE and its looking for a home. Whilst the Government is printing money and debasing the currency property is seen (arguably incorrectly) as a safe bet.

Estate agents won't evolve they will die. They will shrink back to the position in early 2000 where they were 2 in my local village. At peak there were 7. But estate agency has never been and will never be about cutting prices to help the market, They are greedy parasites and they feel like hpi is their God given right.

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I posted this on another thread but we've just had an offer accepted on a house.

We've been looking all this year (STR from London in Dec '08) and our experience is that the EA's bullishness of Apr-Jul evaporated quite quickly. We're also in the W Mids (Solihull/Knowle area) and generally prices have been coming down this year consistently from we can see. It might just be the Mids but things seem slow property wise and there are houses for sale round by us that have been on the market for over a year (in fact the house we are planning to buy has been on for over 12 months). See loads that have SSTC and then come back on.

As an anecdotal we went to the Villa/R. Vienna game last night (talk about depression!!) and there were 23k at the game. Ok hardly clash of the titans but the tickets were only £20.

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The only realistic way in which Estate Agents can help create a sustainable recovery in successful transaction levels is by ensuring that asking prices are cut, and cut repeatedly until sales are achieved successfully.

Pretending that the property market is not in recession, that the wider economy is not in deep s**t trouble with ongoing galloping unemployment, that credit levels will not return anywhere near 2007 levels, and by pushing up asking and selling prices will not lead to a recovery for the property market. Indeed such a delusional approach will only ensure that the house price crash, in total, will be deeper and longer.

In my local area (West Mids) some estate agents started making small cuts in asking prices although reluctantly so it seemed. I thought to myself well thats a start, at least they are starting to see the light. Anyway things carried on like this for 6 months and i thought small progress was being made and that estate agents were coming to their senses. But in the last two months i have started seing new listings coming on at prices comparible to 2007 even though most of the reduced existing stock is not selling.

It seems to me that Estate agents are failing to adapt and learn from what is happening and are instead pretending that things are back on the up to try and dupe people into thinking they are going to miss the boat. I dont think this tactic will work anymore. It seems to me that estate agents think that they can dictate market prices and maybe many of them do not understand fully what has happened in the economy. Lets remember that you dont have to be smart to be an estate agent so it would explain a few things.

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My parents were looking for a bungalow around the Totteridge area of High Wycombe. Most people are still asking 2007 prices, so these places have been sitting on the market for a year. There are bungalows that do come on at reasonable prices occasionally and these do sell fast. My parents liked one bungalow that was with an EA at £279K - which is what another one in the street sold for in 2007. The little old lady then changed EA's and it came on at £234,500. My parents made an appointment to view and liked the place and said they would consider buying it at £230K. The problem was my folks hadn't even had their place up for sale. Anyway, the EA asked the woman if she would take the place off the market for 1 month if my folks offered £230K and she agreed. My folks then put their 1970's end terrace up for sale with the same EA for £219,950. The EA got 5 people up on the first day and a FTB offered £211K the next day, which was accepted. They could have probably held out and got £215-216K, but they just wanted to ensure the deal went through quickly so they could secure the bungalow they wanted.

Looking at the figures, my folks got the bungalow for around 18% off peak prices. No terrace house sold in their street in 2007. The last terrace sold for £202,500 in February 2006 (not as good as my folks one). I estimate the peak asking price for their terrace could have been £240K, so they sold for around 12% off peak prices. I don't know what deposit the FTB has or what they do etc, but the surveyor didn't down-value the house at an estimated 12% off peak price.

So this one guy in the EA had a good week back in June, as he sold 2 houses in 1 week with a 1.5%+VAT fee.

I'm currently advertising my place in Essex, but not having as good luck as my folks. I had a buyer in May (the builder who I got in to fit the kitchen made an offer). It was a bit low, but I accepted it as I didn't have EA or HIP fees as the house wasn't actively marketed. The builder changed his mind in July, so I've now done a HIP and put it with an online EA (as this was the cheapest way to get my place on Rightmove/Primelocation etc). The place has been on the market for 2 weeks and I've only had 1 viewing so far.

Looking at Rightmove, there are 110 2+ bed bungalows within 10 miles of me listed at £250K or less, of which 45 are sold STC. Several of these were advertised for under 1 month before getting an offer, so the Essex market still seems to be fairly strong. The longest advertised bungalow is in Rayne and came up for sale in April 2008 at £212,500 through Connells. There have been no price reductions during this time and is still for sale. Another one in the same street in Rayne came up this month. Owned by an old person and needs kitchen/bathroom and general decoration. The price was £180K and this sold within days of going on the market! Clearly people will snap up places if the price is right. Peak price for a house in that street was £220K in July 2007, so £180K is back to late 2005/early 2006 price. The £212,500 place isn't even 4% off peak, so that's probably why it isn't selling.

Houses are selling, but they are going for at least 10% off the peak prices.

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It is worth considering to what extent the property market has really picked up over the last few months.

Someone suggested in a thread (can't remember which one) that the Nationwide Index has been severely skewed by the Nationwides tightening of credit (access to mortgages) criteria - meaning that their house price index now reflects property buyers with large deposits and can access the available mortgage products whilst other people can't.

Also, in terms of the property market picking up - yes, house price indexes showing some level of rise - but what about the level of transactions? Here in the west Mids, using PropertyBee to track parts of B'ham, Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Worcester, etc. I certainly saw a pick up of activity between Feb and May, but since May activity has dropped right back - certainly in terms of the numbers of properties going SSTC. For example, those of you with PropertyBee can look at Worcester - WR4 postcode and look at the number of properties going SSTC for example for Connels and Michael Tuck during August. Unless they achieve a large number of sales this weekend they will have had just about 1 property per week go SSTC during August. June and July also saw very low numbers of properties go SSTC.

What are other people seeing in their localities?

As someone on HPC, or in the media, said recently - although there has been some pick up in activity in the property market (number of viewings, offers made, etc.) and some small rise in prices recorded by Indexes the number of successful completions remain at historical lows and the amount of money Estate Agents are generating from sales remains dismally low - in sum, the property market remains deep in recession.

Someone I know visited Tamworth (just north of Birmingham) recently and walked through the centre of the town - he said at least 40 shops were closed down including a shopping precinct right in the centre that only had 2 shops remaining open with the other 15 shops closed down. Yep, just the right conditions for a recovery in the property market!

The only realistic way in which Estate Agents can help create a sustainable recovery in successful transaction levels is by ensuring that asking prices are cut, and cut repeatedly until sales are achieved successfully.

Pretending that the property market is not in recession, that the wider economy is not in deep s**t trouble with ongoing galloping unemployment, that credit levels will not return anywhere near 2007 levels, and by pushing up asking and selling prices will not lead to a recovery for the property market. Indeed such a delusional approach will only ensure that the house price crash, in total, will be deeper and longer.

Sorry to go off-topic a bit, but I was wanting Alfie's opinion on Droitwich versus Worcester and Bromsgrove over on the regional threads - just posted there. Thanks.

My opinion: Bromsgrove and Droitwich still overpriced by 5-10%, Droitwich seems a bit nicer than Bromsgrove. Are there decent semis, detached in Worcester with biggish gardens? Seems like the nicer properties in Worcester are terraces with smallish gardens, which is a no no for me.

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The only realistic way in which Estate Agents can help create a sustainable recovery in successful transaction levels is by ensuring that asking prices are cut, and cut repeatedly until sales are achieved successfully.

Pretending that the property market is not in recession, that the wider economy is not in deep s**t trouble with ongoing galloping unemployment, that credit levels will not return anywhere near 2007 levels, and by pushing up asking and selling prices will not lead to a recovery for the property market. Indeed such a delusional approach will only ensure that the house price crash, in total, will be deeper and longer.

They are just too thick too work this out. More culling of these idiots over the next few months and into the new year.

Extinction beckons for many.

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Juvenal said on another thread today about 2 properties in Poole :

2 bed detached £265K down to £170K in under two years. Decent road, close good schools and all amenities. 2 miles from sea and the house totally refurbished. Set back from road, and rear looks over playing fields.

Another 3 bed Vict terrace nearby was on a year at 239K asking, reducing slowly. Finally sold £172K a few months back.

There's little moving round here, but when they have to sell, there's some hefty markdowns.

The £265000 was the SOLD price in 2007

Makes you wonder how buyers play this, do they look at £260000 properties and offer 35% off or £220000 properties and offer 20% ?

Its a mad market that's for sure and what I don't understand is that if its only the cash rich that are buying then why the hell are they not putting in sensible offers, that is 25 - 30% below peak ?

I also thought it was interesting what Tomwatkins said today on another thread:

Look when will people get it? Here in the US people have accepted that the market has crashed, will crash a bit more and the best most can hope for is to continue with a roof over their heads. "We" don't care about investing in property, making money out of property and all the rest of that feckin shit. Why it's taken longer in the UK I just don't know. Maybe the overbuilding in the UK was mainly flats. In the US it was all types and if you have seen a typical US house being built (wood mostly) you can put one of the suckers up in a weekend. Maybe we Brits are just stubborn-stiff upper lip and all that stuff. Blitz mentality-if we hide in this hole, come morning the bombs have gone and we will be alright.

However, the rout will come and when it does it will far nastier than the US which was steady and continual, month after month. UK will be more like rippin off a band-aid. Very painful but very quick.

Which links quite nicely with Dr Bubb's image Here and his comments on the same thread:

Many HPCers are "stuck in the crowd" and influenced heavily by the resurgent mania around them.

(Maybe it is easier for me to be detached from it, living here in Hong Kong - we have our own manias here.)

This will die. And the higher the sentiment swings, the bigger the disappointment and disillusion when it

(eventually) swings back the other way.

When prices are speeding downwards in a few months time, after the rug pull, I will remind people that

the very painful next stage of the crash, would not have been fully possible without the huge surge in false

hopes that we are seeing now.

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Its a mad market that's for sure and what I don't understand is that if its only the cash rich that are buying then why the hell are they not putting in sensible offers, that is 25 - 30% below peak ?

A difficulty comes when you ponder exactly who the 'cash rich' actually are. Many cash buyers are over 60, with mortgages paid off. Single or married, they often have a comfortable income, and are not primarily concerned about bargaining down hard on what they are buying. Factors like suitability to their needs; closeness to children or relatives are more important. It may be many, many years since they bought their last house, and an older generation of widowed women (in particular) may have left that side of finance to their husbands. Widows buying for the first time may not be any match for a wily EA. Retired men in their 60/70's could equally have been out of touch with house prices for thirty years. Incidentally, there are many more elderly women than men.

My feeling is that a sizable proportion of the current meagre sales are to individuals who have either profited massively from HPI in the South East, or know that the house they buy is their 'last' house. Such older folk are not 'investment' or 'ladder'-minded, and are not squeezing buyers/EA's on their next, smaller purchase. People like this that I have known have no knowledge or interest in LR figures, past or current selling prices, or whether they are getting 'a good deal' or not. They are not after bargains.

Because of the informed HPC attitude and housing insider expertise, it may be hard to accept that there are buyers out there who think that getting 5K off asking (often peak value asking) is fine. But if you're 70, with grown up kids doing OK, and you've sold a place in Surrey for 650K, and have that in the bank - you won't be offering 25% below asking on a 225K bungalow in Sidmouth or anywhere similar. You'll see the sole issue as quickly securing the house you want.

At a certain age, money ceases to be the key priority, because you ain't moving, you ain't saving for anything, and your time is limited.

I have no idea how many of these people are in the market, but I've met them, and am still currently meeting them. They are out there, and some are buying.

I also think the Bank of Mum and Dad brigade are often a lot less astute than they might be. 'She's [the daughter] set her heart on it' may well be a more important factor than how far below peak the house or flat in question is. Closeness to job; safety of the area; 'she says she'll be happy there' may carry more weight than price. If M&D don't live in the same area as FTB son/daughter they will probably have no yardstick to measure what they are stumping up for: 'She says one-bed flats always cost X around there..'

The fact is, we don't know who is keeping the market afloat, not what their motivations are. No survey reveals this.

Every purchase is different, and is underpinned by differing priorities. It's infuriating to watch a market supported by those affluent, foolish or uninformed enough to overpay (and the punitive effect it has on those below in the chain) but sadly it seems to be life.

Edited by juvenal

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My landlord is selling under me.

House has had three spearate first viewings in the first week.

Supply here (Oxfordshire) is very very low and getting worse rather than better. Most half decent properties go STC quickly sometimes before they are marketed:

Sold before advertised ...

Connels seem to have done this with three or four in the past few months.

Regards

J

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The areas I look at are Berkshire & Oxfordshire where houses are being snapped up like mad! Many that catch my eye come onto the market and STC within days, on a few occasions within 24 hours of appearing on Right Move. Looks like the madness has returned!!

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Am I alone in feeling that this dead cat bounce just might go on much much longer than expected?

There are not many bearish articles posted on HPC these days are there?

Dr Bubb and others do a good job at helping us to stay focussed on what is REALLY going on, but Dr Bubb speaks about property falling until 2013 ! It is therefore hard to see why we should not continue to see the indices remaining on an upward trend along with approvals given that the average person would have no idea that property ultimately has to fall, why would they? What does the average property buyer know about what will ultimately bring the market down? Why would they even Q that the property is almost certainly 30% overvalued for todays market and possibly 50% overvalued on an ultimately downward trend?

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I understand you anxiety, Sybil,

But the lack of Bearish articles may just be a sign that the Bullish sentiment has simply reached

an extreme, where there's only one way to go from here - Back down again

Those who think the current rally will go on a long time, may not consider it a mere Dead Cat bounce

I saw a report a while ago a hedge fund manager shorted the US property in 2005 he was early but patient held his nerve and after the bust he personally gained $3bn sorry i cant remember his name it was also reported he has loaded up heavy in gold stocks and gold about 6 months ago i have no idea if he has sold up now or is still heavy in this area I am sure i saw this on some pro gold site so be a little carefull with this

The bounce is a no brainer with the unpresidented fiscal policys etc but the fundermentals proper wages and the level of employment future higher taxes etc points to lower prices if or when the fiscal easing reverse but dont forget a 100k house may be worth 100k loafs of bread but if a loaf of bread costs £2.00 in a few years with the fall in sterling and the house is still around 100k or even 150k providing your moneys in bread so to speak patience will pay off whatever happens with inflation prices are too high and need to fall some for me but governments want high inflation to disguise this real fall in value

We are now in inflation dont be fooled and dont underestimate the power of it and its hard to invest in real inflation protected results anyway i like this site

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I understand you anxiety, Sybil,

But the lack of Bearish articles may just be a sign that the Bullish sentiment has simply reached

an extreme, where there's only one way to go from here - Back down again

Those who think the current rally will go on a long time, may not consider it a mere Dead Cat bounce

Thanks for reply and for helping me see once again that the point of a bull trap is that it is completely believable.

Last month when many were faltering thinking we would never see the house price crash resume I was still seeing through the ramping to the fundamental facts with regards why the green shoots are not sustainable . However, by this month I was starting to waver......yet the facts remain the same do they not, nothing has changed since this article earlier this year other than sentiment and as you have said, this can change very quickly .

Why House Prices Have Further to Fall

I just keep coming back to the FACT that the CML at the start of the year said that predicted mortgage lending for the year was something like £147billion (nearly 2/3rds down on 2007 levels), and despite all the ramping / and QE etc they have never changed that prediction.

The CML and others have said all year that the availability of funds for lending would put a limit on how far the market can recover, and even Rightmove in their latest HPI said :

Future price and transaction growth is now controlled by the bottleneck of mortgage availability. This is unlikely to change for years to come, with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) forecasting that mortgage application levels will recover slowly and remain well below the levels seen in the early part of this decade as far ahead as 2013. Even in 2013 the CEBR state that numbers will still be 24% below 2006 levels. This may well reflect a paradigm shift in access to mortgage lending. While HSBC is the only major lender to have taken a more proactive stance and increased its market share, its reported average loan-to-value of circa 50% on new mortgage lending is a perfect illustration of the new era of both caution and cherry picking.

Shipside adds: “Lenders are looking to remove as much risk as possible from their mortgage book. While the government’s left-hand is waving them on to lend to more home movers and small businesses, the right-hand is effectively flagging them down again by urging lenders to re-build balance sheets and improve capital adequacyâ€.

It doesn't sound like a recipe for sustained recovery does it despite being told daily that house price crash is over ;)

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Get Ready for a Double Dip in House Prices

Bloomberg today:

So it looks like the collapse in confidence in the housing market -- which has knocked 20 percent off house prices since the decade-long boom peaked in August 2007 -- is now over. It’s safe to buy a house again, right?

Not quite. There are good reasons to expect a second dip in the market later this year or early in 2010.

First, the benchmark interest rate is still at record lows of just 0.5 percent. Most people can still manage to at least pay the interest on their mortgages -- and so long as you can pay the interest, the property usually won’t be repossessed. At some point, interest rates will have to rise again. Once they do, many people will be in trouble. We can expect to see a lot more repossessions. And many of those properties will be back on the market at bargain prices, pushing prices down again.

Widening Spreads Second, banks are repairing their balance sheets at the expense of mortgage holders. The spread between what the banks pay depositors and what lenders charge for loans is widening. According to Moneyfacts Plc, the margin on two-year money is the widest it has ever been. That may be good news for banks and their shareholders. Competition has been reduced, and it is easier for them to charge higher prices. But it is bad news for mortgage borrowers, the people who go out and buy houses.

Third, a lot of lending has been taken out of the market and isn’t coming back. According to CreditSights Inc., almost 300 billion pounds ($492 billion) of U.K. mortgage debt was securitized and sold to the bond markets from 2005 to 2007. “That represents more than 90 percent of the growth in mortgage debt over that period,†it said. The world isn’t exactly clamoring for British securitized mortgages anymore, and won’t be for a long time. With less money coming into the market, there won’t be the same kind of demand for houses.

Fourth, for reasons that a psychologist could better explain, the British are attacking the financial-services industry, even though it is the biggest branch of the economy. The chairman of the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, even proposed a tax on financial transactions to help limit the size of the industry. He described parts of banking as “socially useless.†With that sort of attitude, it won’t be surprising if many foreign bankers go elsewhere, withdrawing their support from the housing market.

Finally, the U.K. economy is set for a decade of slow growth. Unemployment rose to the highest level in 14 years during the second quarter. Monetary expansion and government spending are tempering the decline somewhat, but the fiscal stimulus will have to end soon, and the big tax increases needed to bring the deficit under control will keep demand subdued for years. There is still a lot of pain ahead and house prices can’t grow much faster than the overall economy.

Don’t be fooled by the slight recovery in house prices over a few months. Markets always stabilize for a period, both on the way up and on the way down. It is just a pause for breath -- and the second dip in the crash is just around the corner.

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