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Is Life Harder Today? You Bet It Is!

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I'm sure a lot of you follow the ft forum discussion on house prices, but for those of you who don't, here's a gem of a post by Peter W.

Is life harder today? You bet it is!

by Peter W 30 Nov 2005 01:58 PM

We seem to be living in extraordinary times and sometimes I have to wonder whether we are heading for total collapse of society. Your situation is like very many others who have quite responsibly abandoned the idea of raising families because of the lack of affordable, and suitable, living space and the requirement for two salaries merely to get by. I regularly hear infuriating comments suggesting that people should ‘tighten their belts’ whilst failing to realise that no amount of thrift can avoid rent, mortgages, council tax, insurance etc. It’s a cold realisation for those on average salaries that should they want a family they will be better off as jobless unmarried parents and claiming for living, housing and childcare benefits from the state than by attempting to buy a ludicrously small flat.

I have no idea how this will pan out but for the moment life in the UK looks pretty bleak to me.

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I have no idea how this will pan out but for the moment life in the UK looks pretty bleak to me.

Hear here. I'd like to add that the future is bleak in the west until .gov wakes up and stops punishing hard work

ps Buying a house in 2000 then bragging about how smart you were doesn't consititute hard work

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Anyone who lived through the war may not agree, either.

Its a question of perspective really. 'Life' changes - some things are easier, others are harder. Today, people have far more 'opportunities' than ever before, it just depends whether you can put enough effort and brain power into grasping those opportunities.

Perhaps what we are seeing is natural selection. If you are clever and wealthy enough - then you can afford to have kids. If not, then your gene's are going to die out............

Interesting theory, if somewhat harsh and fascist !!

Personally, I've no children - I decided along time ago, my gene's aren't worth passing on. I wouldn't want anyone to suffer !

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It doesn't seem to work like that.

The "middle classes" seem to have fewer children than the "lower classes"

How many single mums have loads of kids by loads of different fathers? sure it's a generalisation & I don't have figures to hand - just what I see around.

Vikki Pollard is a prime example - Yes of course she's a made up character - but why is she so funny?

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I can't agree with this. It's just moaning about stuff, everyone's done that. Yes, it's perspective. Pull up your socks and make the best of it.

I'd rather be living now than being bombed/fighting in the 30s/40s. Live seems easy compared to what my parents and grandparents went through, and I'm pretty thankful for that, and for all their efforts.

Cartman: "It's all a bunch of tree-hugging hippie crap."

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I lived through the 70s, and the hard times of the early/mid 80s, (and indeed most of the 60s) but do agree that life is harder in many respects. Particularly in regard to student debt, property and pensions and the environment. I do agree with Dr Bubb however that there will be plenty of people who lived through those times who will think that the 'young' just don't realise what it has been like in the past. I'm not sure that it particularly matters though. People care more about the here and now rather than the past. I think many people are waking up to how bad our situation is, or potentially is. To help drive home the message about how hard high house prices makes life for many people and how it attacks our quality of life rather than enhances it (as the VI's spin would have it) I suggested an additional idea for an HPC leaflet along the following lines:

HPC has some downloadable leaflets and articles on its home page. What follows is a suggestion for a new leaflet to add to the existing ones.

An idea for a leaflet might be to have a photo of what a single person and a couple on 'avarage' income could have bought (re: houses) 5 years ago (i.e. photo of house they could have bought) along with a photo of the type of house the same single person and couple still on 'average' income could buy today. At the bottom of the leaflet in big bold letters there could be the question:

"Tell me what's so good about high house prices?"

Whether we should also add something along the lines of - "Don't believe the hype generated by Estate Agents, Mortgage lenders, and TV Property programmes that high house prices are a good thing." And also - "Refuse to buy property until prices have dropped by at least 30%."

I think having a visual representation of the situation might drive home the message for some people who wouldn't bother to read or take in written text on a leaflet.

I also think it might be timely for a 'pensions' focused leaflet. Something along the lines of as house prices go up so the amount you have to pay each month to service your mortgage the less you have available to put into your pension fund. I'm sure there could be a way of graphically representing the flow of money, as house prices rise, of the incomes and pension funds of Estate Agents, Mortgage lenders, TV Property programme presenters, etc. going up and the disposable income and pension fund contributions of joe and jane public going down.

The above is supposed to be positive suggestions but shot them down if you must.

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Anyone who lived through the war may not agree, either.

Its a question of perspective really. 'Life' changes - some things are easier, others are harder. Today, people have far more 'opportunities' than ever before, it just depends whether you can put enough effort and brain power into grasping those opportunities.

Perhaps what we are seeing is natural selection. If you are clever and wealthy enough - then you can afford to have kids. If not, then your gene's are going to die out............

Interesting theory, if somewhat harsh and fascist !!

Personally, I've no children - I decided along time ago, my gene's aren't worth passing on. I wouldn't want anyone to suffer !

What utter drivel. Open your eyes. Most kids are born to welfare families who make a living from their children rather than making a living to have children. Not exactly Darwinism.

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I was just taking a look at the % of FTBs in the market, it was in a band between 40-60% all the time from 1979 to 2002 even though the crashes in the early 80's and 90's in the last 3 years it has collapsed to less than 9%.

Now either young people have suddenly, overnight, become work shy lazy good for nothings who have nothing like the moral backbone and stamina that our generations had ( ohhh didn't we have it hard with our free university education, milk round jobs, and £50,000 houses).......or something pretty bloody serious in happening out there.

The market is disspassionate. I dont' give a crap what your grandad went though in the war or how hard you worked in the 80s. The point is that young people cannot afford a house, they are not having children, this means there will not be enough people of working age to pay taxes to fund out retirement even if they introduce 100% income tax on them.

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ps Buying a house in 2000 then bragging about how smart you were doesn't consititute hard work

Absolutely spot on.

One evening over rather too many bottles of wine I had a representative conversation on this very subject. I was lamenting the lack of affordable accomodation and the complacent attitude of those who happened to be in the right place at the right time. A somewhat Machiavellian guest at the table, 30's, head of department at a "media" college, lambasted me and claimed he had made "sacrifices" in order to be in his substantial property, from which he has made a nominal 200k profit in the last seven years.

Furthermore, it was "no good complaining" about it, the thing was to get the kind of job and lifestyle which enables you to jump on the ladder, etc etc etc. I pointed out to him that in fact my income was greater than his and I worked as hard as he did, and in all other respects was (materially) at least his equal. What of course he didn't mention, but I know to be true, is that he managed to buy his property in the first place through a substantial cash injection from his mother who herself had MEW'd a vast amount in order to subsidise him!

So in fact his rosey position was not of his making whatsoever.

On a broader subject, I remember all the predictions about the kind of lives we were all going to lead, as pontificated about by journalists and social commentators 20 years ago. They spoke of inordinate leisure time, a 20 hour working week, beautiful homes at affordable prices and cheap hi tech goods. Only the last has come true. Those in work are probably working harder than ever, for longer, with smaller pensions, pokier housing, less real disposable income and more debt.

Much of this has one source: The ludicrous obsession in the UK that property is now a substitute for productivity, creativity and real work. Even despite the dire warnings about increasing debt, the dangers of 100% BTL mortgages, the economic writing on the wall, it STILL hasn't got through to the vast majority of the British population that you simply cannot create wealth from a handful of dust, and the nominal "profit" from private housing is, in the end, merely dust because at some point a person or persons somewhere, somehow, have to dig deep into their pockets and actually PAY for the profits taken further up the chain.

Successive governments of both complexions have destroyed what was once a housing market approaching some degree of fairness. The complete lack of taxation of excessive private profits from property has directly led to the boom bust habit of the nation. Of course no Chancellor would now dare to take away all that free cash, because almost the entire nation has developed a mindset which sees property like it sees the lottery, a vast opportunity to make loads of cash through no effort whatsoever.

The result has been a disaster for a huge numbers of people who were, for whatever reason, not part of the game. So in "modern" Britain we now have a situation where you can afford a good and reliable car, go on holiday to a warm and sunny place, buy a top notch computer or stereo, in fact have all the fixtures and fittings which point to a prosperous life, but unfortunately you cannot afford any more than a broom cupboard to live in.

It is the UK property equivalent of another ludicrous idea that "giving away" laptop computers to children in Africa who have no teacher, no food, and no shelter is somehow going to improve their lives. A stunning example of techno-nerdism which is breathtaking in its naivity as well as the ultimate in reality-denial.

VacantPossession

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Apparently (as I haven'yt got chapter & verse), all new build developments over 14 units need to have a proportion of affordable housing.

Apparently also, many of these are empty.

Why is this?

Well, if what you're saying is true, maybe these were speculative ventures by builders, built during a frenzy of cheap money, and might not have really been needed?

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Anyone who lived through the war may not agree, either.

Its a question of perspective really. 'Life' changes - some things are easier, others are harder. Today, people have far more 'opportunities' than ever before, it just depends whether you can put enough effort and brain power into grasping those opportunities.

Perhaps what we are seeing is natural selection. If you are clever and wealthy enough - then you can afford to have kids. If not, then your gene's are going to die out............

Interesting theory, if somewhat harsh and fascist !!

You call one generation financially crippling the next Natural Selection?

If this was natural selection the multiple homes owned by the aging baby-boomers would be forcibly siezed by the young.

There's nothing natural about the current situation. It's a man-made system designed by one generation to protect themselves in retirement at the expense of their children and grandchildren.

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Well, if what you're saying is true, maybe these were speculative ventures by builders, built during a frenzy of cheap money, and might not have really been needed?

Sorry - I didn't make it clear - it's the proportion of affordablr homes which are empty - not the commercial ones.

The affordable homes are empty as apparently either not enough people qualify or some other reason.

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The affordable homes are empty as apparently either not enough people qualify or some other reason.

I'd put a good bet in that the 'affordable' homes the builders were legally obligated to build are poor quality shoeboxes. Possibly something to do with it...?

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Guest rigsby II

You call one generation financially crippling the next Natural Selection?

If this was natural selection the multiple homes owned by the aging baby-boomers would be forcibly siezed by the young.

There's nothing natural about the current situation. It's a man-made system designed by one generation to protect themselves in retirement at the expense of their children and grandchildren.

There I was going all dewy-eyed and feeling a lot of sympathy and empathy for todays 'young' people and their growing pains and then we get the usual immature blame-game cr*ap...

How many more times does it have to be stated on this mong-board, it's not a conspiracy FFS :angry:

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The eastern europeans who work here consider us ungrateful, winging, and lazy, most i know have multiple jobs and work 100 ->120 hours a week, they think were winging it and relaxing when we could be working our asses off (for what they consider alot of money)...

Of course this might be because our average wage is 5 times as big, or we could be lazy. One lad i know was bemussed by the other people working in the factory being so keen to leave. These economic migrants consider a job a privelidge, and are lapping it up. One girl i know tells me she sending £800 a mounth out of the country....

Life is harder, but not as hard as you think, and not as hard in other places. Interestingly all the EE i know dont want to stay in the uk as it is too expensive to settle here permanantly, they love there own countries, and believe there will be ALOT more opertunities in there own countries in future

Edited by moosetea

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Life has always been hard ......As any buddhist will tell you when one problem disappears we just worry about something else.......I'm neither young nor old but older than most of the posters in here and i can tell you that in the days when you could easily buy a hovel on a busdriver's salary eg the 70s ...everything else you wanted/needed was more expensive in real terms........over the past 30 years house prices and rents and entrance to sports events and pop concerts have risen more in price than anything else....

but things like electrical goods are a fraction of the price.......eg my dad buying his first black and white TV in 1958 for £80.....which was more than the average gross monthly salary!!!!!!!.....now it would be less than a day's salary.......Basic clothes are the same price as they were in the late 80s when we were earning half what we get now...........Similarly foodstuffs we considered luxuries a long time ago like wine, chicken and most imported foods are now everyday items

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There I was going all dewy-eyed and feeling a lot of sympathy and empathy for todays 'young' people and their growing pains and then we get the usual immature blame-game cr*ap...

How many more times does it have to be stated on this mong-board, it's not a conspiracy FFS :angry:

Rigsby that is your view, interestingly it is not a view shared by a contributor to Moneyweek. Last weeks edition contained an article on the future of UK housing.

The prediction was that a steadily declining, but significant proportion of the population with be home owners by 2020 ( about 17m ) that these people will have a continued vested interest in restricting the number of houses built in order to create a shortage that will maintain the value of their houses. These people will be strongly in favour of more immigration as the sharp decline in the birth rate means that there are simply not enough young people of UK birth to rent there surplus properties.

Conspiracy is exactly what it is. Why the ****** do you think the first objection that homeowners have to new builds in their local area is "the effect it will have on house prices"

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It's a man-made system designed by one generation to protect themselves in retirement at the expense of their children and grandchildren.

There is no conspiracy.

Anyway, todays young will inherit much (not all, I know) of this wealth.

Another point is that previously poor, modest income people have become financially secure through property ownership, so many millions have benefited from the market.

My brother was repossesed in c 1990 and penniless. The market gave him his life back as he benefited from the boom having re - bought in c1997.

I see a lot of parents helping the young on a much larger scale than previous generations through mew to help their kids get a property.

If the market crashes, the FTBs might benefit but what about thier parents in negative equity?

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Sorry - I didn't make it clear - it's the proportion of affordablr homes which are empty - not the commercial ones.

The affordable homes are empty as apparently either not enough people qualify or some other reason.

The affordable homes are empty because they are not affordable!!!

And, anyone who could afford them is canny enough to know that spending £105k to buy 67% share (+ £50pcm rent + service charge) of a pokey 2 bed flat on the edge of a council estate is not really good econimcs.

In order to afford this a single person would have to be on about £30K a year to buy that flat based on income multiple of 3-3.5. I would be surprised if there were any couples earning this between them in the immediate area around these flats. Yet they target people within a very specific post code around the development.

Funnily enough - one of the criteria for being accepted for this scheme is that you can not afford to buy on the open market. That makes a bit of a joke of the scheme because if you earned anough to buy one of their shared ownership properties you earn enough to buy on the open market!!!

There is a lot of confusion about 'affordable homes' and many developers have jumped on the bandwagon. The proper affordable home scheme set up by the government targets key workers and is only available in certain geographic areas.

Most of the affordable homes advertised by developers are nothing more than an opprtunity to buy a percentage of the property at the market rate and pay full rent on the rest of the percentage. It isn't cheaper - it just means they can sell houses to people who can't afford to buy them and keep the full asking price of houses artificially high.

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There I was going all dewy-eyed and feeling a lot of sympathy and empathy for todays 'young' people and their growing pains and then we get the usual immature blame-game cr*ap...

What has the blame game got to do with HPI?

You're going off at a tangent again Risby

How many more times does it have to be stated on this mong-board, it's not a conspiracy FFS :angry:

So, what is it then?

It started as a result of the BoE dropping interest rates and suddenly vendors realised that buyers could borrow more, so they ramped up the asking prices. Then spin has taken over.

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There I was going all dewy-eyed and feeling a lot of sympathy and empathy for todays 'young' people and their growing pains and then we get the usual immature blame-game cr*ap...

How many more times does it have to be stated on this mong-board, it's not a conspiracy FFS :angry:

I'm not looking for sympathy, a helping hand, a state hand-out, or any other kind of charity from the older generations.

I would appreciate it if you'd stop buying-up all the affordable housing that *should* be bought by young people and young families though.

How can we compete financially with middle-aged boomers sitting on £100,000's of equity when it comes to buying a flat/house - generally speaking we can't!

Forgive me if I'd rather start a family instead of funding your pension.

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The affordable homes are empty because they are not affordable!!!

And, anyone who could afford them is canny enough to know that spending £105k to buy 67% share (+ £50pcm rent + service charge) of a pokey 2 bed flat on the edge of a council estate is not really good econimcs.

In order to afford this a single person would have to be on about £30K a year to buy that flat based on income multiple of 3-3.5. I would be surprised if there were any couples earning this between them in the immediate area around these flats. Yet they target people within a very specific post code around the development.

Funnily enough - one of the criteria for being accepted for this scheme is that you can not afford to buy on the open market. That makes a bit of a joke of the scheme because if you earned anough to buy one of their shared ownership properties you earn enough to buy on the open market!!!

There is a lot of confusion about 'affordable homes' and many developers have jumped on the bandwagon. The proper affordable home scheme set up by the government targets key workers and is only available in certain geographic areas.

Most of the affordable homes advertised by developers are nothing more than an opprtunity to buy a percentage of the property at the market rate and pay full rent on the rest of the percentage. It isn't cheaper - it just means they can sell houses to people who can't afford to buy them and keep the full asking price of houses artificially high.

I am talking about London.

Apparently (I'm using apparently as it is what I have been told) ALL new developments MUST have a proportion of affordable housing - 30-50% [i think that this is Ken Livingstone's policy.]

Theyare not all on council estates - there is one which has just received planning round here which is on prime residential.

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The eastern europeans who work here consider us ungrateful, winging, and lazy, most i know have multiple jobs and work 100 ->120 hours a week, they think were winging it and relaxing when we could be working our asses off (for what they consider alot of money)...

Of course this might be because our average wage is 5 times as big, or we could be lazy. One lad i know was bemussed by the other people working in the factory being so keen to leave. These economic migrants consider a job a privelidge, and are lapping it up. One girl i know tells me she sending £800 a mounth out of the country....

Life is harder, but not as hard as you think, and not as hard in other places. Interestingly all the EE i know dont want to stay in the uk as it is too expensive to settle here permanantly, they love there own countries, and believe there will be ALOT more opertunities in there own countries in future

Where I live there are a lot of well off commuters and a lot unfilled jobs in restaurants,shops, hotels and nursing homes and not enough English people willing to do this kind of work....My town is theresfore a magnet for the huddled masses of the EAst...

I know many East Europeans and for some reason the number of them from Lithuania is out of all proportion to that country's population......as it represents only about 4 or 5% of the 77 milion people in the accession states......As you say incomes here are about 5 times the Czech. Polish and Hungarian levels but 10 times those of the Baltic States..including Lithuania.....Most of them are working long hours and clearing about £300 a week....most of which they send home.........

The main reason we let them in was to boost tax revenues and economic growth but it is far from clear whether lower income people in this country or any other gain from an large influx of cheap labour......Of the existing EU states only Ireland ,Sweden and Britain let them in str8 away........

The wage differential between the US and mexico is similar yet the US with its 300m population will never give Mexico's 100m people the right to work in the US...........however much NAFTA ties these 2 countries and Canada together economically....

Edited by Michael

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If the market crashes, the FTBs might benefit but what about thier parents in negative equity?

My parents have paid up...-ve equity won't affect them in any way....in fact they'll benefit from NE as the people who support them (nurses, police, fire service, public transport, shop workers et al) will be able to purchase a place to live in, and might stay in their chosen profession instead of buggering off abroad.

Edited by Ritters

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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