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Mr Yogi

The Generation Gap

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We get a lot of threads on HPC from folk on good money who are priced out of the housing market. A couple of conversations this week have made me think about the other side of the coin.

I went for a haircut. Ken has worked in my local barber's shop for 20 years to my knowledge, maybe longer. He doesn't own it - he just works there. I guess he's in his early 50's

As he was cutting my hair he told me about some work he was having done on his house. Turns out that Mr & Mrs Ken own a very nice 4-bed house in a smart part of town, and are now having it refurbished at great expense. My impression is that they've just paid off the mortgage, so have MEWed to pay for the work. Ken's wife is an admin assistant, by the way. The house would be valued at maybe £400k.

My other encounter was with Bill, a van driver for a courier service I use. He's also in his early fifties. I've not seen him for a few years, so we had a chat. Bill told me that he had just got divorced from his wife of 20 odd years. He would not accept my commiserations. 'Life's good' he said. 'We got half a million for the house so we've been able to buy a smaller place each for cash.'

I was speechless.

What kind of crazy world is it where young professionals can't afford a 2-bed terrace a la Coronation Street, but due solely to a lucky accident of timing middle-aged barbers and van drivers are sitting on vast property fortunes.

It is inconceivable that a barber or a van driver could afford to buy even the cheapest run-down flat today, yet 25 years ago they were buying big Victorian villas like Ken's & Bob's.

A society needs barbers and van drivers just as much as it needs solicitors and accountants.

Where are they going to live?

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What kind of crazy world is it where young professionals can't afford a 2-bed terrace a la Coronation Street, but due solely to a lucky accident of timing middle-aged barbers and van drivers are sitting on vast property fortunes.

It is inconceivable that a barber or a van driver could afford to buy even the cheapest run-down flat today, yet 25 years ago they were buying big Victorian villas like Ken's & Bob's.

A society needs barbers and van drivers just as much as it needs solicitors and accountants.

Where are they going to live?

Welcome to the 21st Century. Of course, the current market shenanigans may be the start of the correction, but the derivatives market isn't going to go away. If we stay in a low inflation world meritocracy is dead - we're the New Victorians. Wealth is based on family inheritance. If it doesn't correct, what can be done to improve social conditions in a world where class returns?

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We get a lot of threads on HPC from folk on good money who are priced out of the housing market. A couple of conversations this week have made me think about the other side of the coin.

I went for a haircut. Ken has worked in my local barber's shop for 20 years to my knowledge, maybe longer. He doesn't own it - he just works there. I guess he's in his early 50's

As he was cutting my hair he told me about some work he was having done on his house. Turns out that Mr & Mrs Ken own a very nice 4-bed house in a smart part of town, and are now having it refurbished at great expense. My impression is that they've just paid off the mortgage, so have MEWed to pay for the work. Ken's wife is an admin assistant, by the way. The house would be valued at maybe £400k.

My other encounter was with Bill, a van driver for a courier service I use. He's also in his early fifties. I've not seen him for a few years, so we had a chat. Bill told me that he had just got divorced from his wife of 20 odd years. He would not accept my commiserations. 'Life's good' he said. 'We got half a million for the house so we've been able to buy a smaller place each for cash.'

I was speechless.

What kind of crazy world is it where young professionals can't afford a 2-bed terrace a la Coronation Street, but due solely to a lucky accident of timing middle-aged barbers and van drivers are sitting on vast property fortunes.

It is inconceivable that a barber or a van driver could afford to buy even the cheapest run-down flat today, yet 25 years ago they were buying big Victorian villas like Ken's & Bob's.

A society needs barbers and van drivers just as much as it needs solicitors and accountants.

Where are they going to live?

You do not have to go that far back. In the block opposite to me there is a Refuse Collection Assistant. When I was younger they were called Dustbin Men. He bought his flat only 10 years ago when they were 40K (information from land registry)

While I have been there the only people who have moved in are senior professionals which is why we are in this trouble. When a one bedroom flat costs 140K what hope does a barber have?

In fact the influx of professionals to the estate have changed the landscape of the area and the older generation in their mid 40's are now the minority. After speaking to the Dustman as we are on a project together I know he does not like this as there are no local accents anymore and I am sure he feels his home town is being taken over. He has nothing in common with the new breed. I never thought of it like this but this social change is harming everyone. Personally for me I don't mind too much as there used to be kids hanging around smoking inside the flats and kicking footballs against the cars but now these families are long gone.

The younger generation of junior professionals or non professionals are now forced to either take on huge mortgages or remain at home with their parents. I know this is true as I have junior warehousemen living at home with their parents but at the same time their older counterparts at the same age had 3 bed semi's and a couple of children. It is no wonder when the younger warehousemen say 'life is not fair' I have to agree with them. 10 years ago my flat would have been seen as entry level for this type of person but not anymore. This is probably why we are always being courted by EA's to move up the ladder. I refuse to take on large levels of debt and I do not need to anymore as the flats are quiet now the BTl ers have had their cheques book out.

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You do not have to go that far back. In the block opposite to me there is a Refuse Collection Assistant. When I was younger they were called Dustbin Men. He bought his flat only 10 years ago when they were 40K (information from land registry)

Same with a mate of mine - he lives a few doors up from a bloke we knew at school. He didn't bother and became a bin man, and got a nice new-ish 3-bed semi for £45k.

4 years later, when my mate had finished his degree and got a good paying professional job, he had to pay £100k.

Moral: Why bother?

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We get a lot of threads on HPC from folk on good money who are priced out of the housing market. A couple of conversations this week have made me think about the other side of the coin.

I went for a haircut. Ken has worked in my local barber's shop for 20 years to my knowledge, maybe longer. He doesn't own it - he just works there. I guess he's in his early 50's

As he was cutting my hair he told me about some work he was having done on his house. Turns out that Mr & Mrs Ken own a very nice 4-bed house in a smart part of town, and are now having it refurbished at great expense. My impression is that they've just paid off the mortgage, so have MEWed to pay for the work. Ken's wife is an admin assistant, by the way. The house would be valued at maybe £400k.

My other encounter was with Bill, a van driver for a courier service I use. He's also in his early fifties. I've not seen him for a few years, so we had a chat. Bill told me that he had just got divorced from his wife of 20 odd years. He would not accept my commiserations. 'Life's good' he said. 'We got half a million for the house so we've been able to buy a smaller place each for cash.'

I was speechless.

What kind of crazy world is it where young professionals can't afford a 2-bed terrace a la Coronation Street, but due solely to a lucky accident of timing middle-aged barbers and van drivers are sitting on vast property fortunes.

It is inconceivable that a barber or a van driver could afford to buy even the cheapest run-down flat today, yet 25 years ago they were buying big Victorian villas like Ken's & Bob's.

A society needs barbers and van drivers just as much as it needs solicitors and accountants.

Where are they going to live?

Yes, a barbers house should not be worth £400K, the very same property should be worth around £80K. The big VI's (Banks and mega rich wheelers and dealers) have stacked the deck in their favour and £400K houses for barbers is one of the turds theyve left on the pavement. As for 25 years ago maybe, but 20 years ago Im not sure, this was when we first started to look for a place to buy, however couldnt afford it, was working in London and prices were still 8 -10 times my wages, maybe different in other parts of the country. Since then the best opportunity ever was the mid 90's and I know a lot of 35-40 year olds who did very well out of the expanding job market, dropping interest rates etc etc. (on paper at least). what this does tell us is that every so often there are very good buying oportunities and just like with the job market its pure luck as to when you were born and finnished education etc. Unfortunatly for many its just a very long waiting game.

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I don't think it is just a generational thing.My cousin aged 46 has a good job paying 50K plus but lives in negative equity.My best friend aged 44 whose wife doesn't work and has two nearly grown up kids and supplements his income from child tax credit (as he is a scale 2 clerk in local government) owns outright a 400K executive detached.It is all about priorities,he was a stasher when he was youing my cousin was profligate.My own equity is far in excess of my lifetime earnings,currently investment income is four times my earned income,it's just the path you decide to take.

I concede that it was a sinch to accumulate equity for those over forty because Eddie Geoge had the printing press on overdrive between 2001-2004,he printed me nearly £170,000 during that time alone.It seems the chickens may now be coming home to roost.

Edited by crashmonitor

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-Eddie Geoge had the printing press on overdrive between 2001-2004,he printed me nearly £170,000 during that time alone.

good way of putting it.

now all we need is someone to hold true the promise stated on each of those pounds and to WORK hard like never before to pay them off for someone.

then they will simply...print some more....

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I don't think it is just a generational thing.My cousin aged 46 has a good job paying 50K plus but lives in negative equity.My best friend aged 44 whose wife doesn't work and has two nearly grown up kids and supplements his income from child tax credit (as he is a scale 2 clerk in local government) owns outright a 400K executive detached.It is all about priorities,he was a stasher when he was youing my cousin was profligate.My own equity is far in excess of my lifetime earnings,currently investment income is four times my earned income,it's just the path you decide to take.

I concede that it was a sinch to accumulate equity for those over forty because Eddie Geoge had the printing press on overdrive between 2001-2004,he printed me nearly £170,000 during that time alone.It seems the chickens may now be coming home to roost.

To a point I agree but not totally I work with warehousemen earning approx 19K and one has a degree. Even if this chap saves at 30% of his net say 5K then prices are moving faster than he can manage to save. So for the every day person in contemporary society they are priced out. This is no surprise I am sure.

I think that distinction between the profligate and the stasher is no longer relevant. I think you were lucky you bought at the right time and have continued to gain from this initial purchase.

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It's long been the case that it's taken couples to be able to buy in many places.

I bought my first house when I was 40. It was a blip in my income when I actually was earning BIG money (not big to most of you lot, but massive to me). For 6 months I squirrelled away every penny. That gave me my deposit. Raised the mortgage on the back of a 6 month contract. Unfortunately the next 6 months' money was ploughed into double glazing, central heating, essential house fixes.

Then nothing. No work.

Managed to cling on by eating beans for the next 5 years.

Sold and banked the cash 2 months ago.

So, due to one tiny, tiny pocket of mortgageability after 20+ years of wanting to own my own home but not earning enough/being single .... I had my chance, grabbed it - and managed to get out alive.

Now I've enough cash to buy a small 2-bed house. No more mortgage or risk taking for me.

It's easy to use sweeping statements to say people will never get on the ladder, but if you are determined and a couple and not wanting to be in THE most fashionable road ever in a perfect house to start with, it is much more achievable than most people make out.

I've got friends who say they can't afford a house - yet I have managed to find them houses in precisely the road they want to live in, that they can "afford". They hadn't ever actually looked. They just believed the media. And they'd never actually found out how much mortgage they could get.

They just assumed they couldn't and moaned for the last 3 years that they couldn't.

There are times and situations in many people's lives when it is possible to get a house.

Nobody EVER really has "the house they really want". Even the people in your dream house would want something different/bigger/better/posher/elsewhere.

Look (and wait) for opportunities and take the blinkers off.

Not that today's looking like a good day to find you can buy a house :)

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We get a lot of threads on HPC from folk on good money who are priced out of the housing market. A couple of conversations this week have made me think about the other side of the coin.

I went for a haircut. Ken has worked in my local barber's shop for 20 years to my knowledge, maybe longer. He doesn't own it - he just works there. I guess he's in his early 50's

As he was cutting my hair he told me about some work he was having done on his house. Turns out that Mr & Mrs Ken own a very nice 4-bed house in a smart part of town, and are now having it refurbished at great expense. My impression is that they've just paid off the mortgage, so have MEWed to pay for the work. Ken's wife is an admin assistant, by the way. The house would be valued at maybe £400k.

My other encounter was with Bill, a van driver for a courier service I use. He's also in his early fifties. I've not seen him for a few years, so we had a chat. Bill told me that he had just got divorced from his wife of 20 odd years. He would not accept my commiserations. 'Life's good' he said. 'We got half a million for the house so we've been able to buy a smaller place each for cash.'

I was speechless.

What kind of crazy world is it where young professionals can't afford a 2-bed terrace a la Coronation Street, but due solely to a lucky accident of timing middle-aged barbers and van drivers are sitting on vast property fortunes.

It is inconceivable that a barber or a van driver could afford to buy even the cheapest run-down flat today, yet 25 years ago they were buying big Victorian villas like Ken's & Bob's.

A society needs barbers and van drivers just as much as it needs solicitors and accountants.

Where are they going to live?

Does anyone really care ?

As long as we all manage to keep our houses I dont see it as a problem. There are loads of starving people in the world, its not really an issue that a Barber or a Solicitor cannot buy a house. So long as they can get a roof by renting it will be fine.

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Actually, barbers are probably well off.

I had a friend a number of years ago who was a hairdresser. Employed.

She'd get her wages, tips + a portion based on turnover. She was taking home more than I was and I was a PA back then.

As a barber/hairdresser you can easily earn extra money easily evenings/weekends cutting people's hair. You can start your business easily (mobile service or rent-a-chair).

And, if you want to be naughty, there's all the cash in hand opportunities as many customers pay by cash.

And.... the original barber in this story. You don't actually know if he's always been one - or what his wife always did - or how he got his money/chance. You are just judging him on a snapshot in his life.

Maybe he had a council house at some past point - and benefitted from selling it, while his wife was earning good money and he was raking it in ..... and they upgraded at the right time too.

Or maybe he won the pools.

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