Sunday, Nov 19, 2006

Unbelievable Article

The Sunday Times - Review: Housey housey is a mug's game

Considering who this is by this is amazing:

"Last week I found my daughter weeping in the kitchen. This isnt that unusual she is 15 but the cause of her distress wasnt boys or exams or pimples but, Mummy I dont think I will ever get on the property ladder.

"I think the sooner we realise that an Englishmans home is not his castle but his tastefully decorated, original-featured prison the happier, more interesting, less predictable, more enterprising we will be as a nation.Property isnt just theft. It is grievous bodily harm as well"

Posted by sirgoogle @ 04:08 PM (2790 views)
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1. little professor said...

Damn, you just beat me to it. I was about to post this article, I couldn't believe it when I stumbled across it. She even uses the "Property Porn" phrase...

Whatever the economic rights and wrongs of the property boom (remember 1989 and negative equity anyone?), the relentless rise in house prices in the past few years has had an appalling effect on our national character. Who hasnt endured a conversation lately which begins: Well weve only been here for three years but our house is already worth twice what we paid for it. Turns out we are sitting on a goldmine"

As a television producer I have made countless property porn programmes that have fed the national obsession. Our interest in other peoples houses has almost paid for mine. Property programmes are like the property market itself, reliable earners in terms of ratings but equally pernicious in convincing us that property is the answer to all lifes ills. Even when the hapless homeowners have completely ignored Sarah Beeny and put the wall-to-wall fish tank in the bathroom, they have still made a profit because in the recent market you seemingly just cant lose.

Television programmes like the ones I used to make have contributed to the sinister perception that you arent really a person unless you have a fixed-rate mortgage, that somehow getting a foothold on the property ladder is tantamount to ascending the stairway to heaven.

Young people are having to resort to more and more outlandish ruses to become propertied buying with friends, buying with strangers, snapping up buy-to-let properties in Bulgaria to pay the mortgage in Acton, or simply living at home until their parents are forced to take out a second mortgage to get rid of them.

Renting is now considered slightly deviant, an indicator that you are perhaps a lightweight, someone who hasnt settled down to the real business of life.

Spending more than a third of your income on accommodation does not make for a happy life. Is the holy grail of home ownership spending every evening in front of the telly with a TV dinner watching other people make their property millions?

And even if you do scrimp and save your way up the property ladder, is the smug Smeg kitchen really going to make you happier than a holiday in the Caribbean? People always react to this by saying that owning a property is security, but I would argue that all it does is secure us in the sense of tying us down.
The security that home ownership brings is really a fiction. Unless you are mortgage-free, which is becoming increasingly unlikely, the only security home ownership brings is the ability to move to a cheaper property and how many of us in our upwardly mobile aspirational society want to do that?

Nobody feels that they have got to the top of the property ladder. There will always be a bigger, better house in a more desirable postcode.

The only solution is to go on a property diet. What about selling your house and seeing how long you could afford to live at the Savoy? Or just renting somewhere and never having to worry about whether the neighbours stone cladding was bringing down the neighbourhood? Instead of spending all our disposable income on improving our properties we could spend it on holidays or paintings or vintage cars or frocks. And if we get bored with the place we are renting we can just move out and move on. Of course, when we get old and feeble the government wont be able to take the equity in our home to pay for a twilight home.

Sorry for the long extracts, but this is a must-read for hardcore HPC-ers.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 05:31PM Report Comment

2. little professor said...

Oh, it hasn't been mentioned above - the author of the article is "TV property guru Daisy Goodwin," presenter of House Doctor, Grand Designs, Other Peoples Houses, Property Ladder, Escape To The Country amongst others.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 05:37PM Report Comment

3. sirgoogle said...

Little Professor,

HPC'ers - have a read, times they are a-changing. This would seem to be a road-to-Damascus conversion of a VI.

Daisy - If you are reading this, Welcome! Please feel free to contibute.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 06:04PM Report Comment

4. bidin'matime said...

LP - I've watched most of the progs you list, but never heard of Daisy Goodwin - House Doctor was Ann Maurice, Grand Designs was Kevin McLeod, Property Ladder was Sarah Beeny - dont know the others.

Still, if she's got some influence, it's all good stuff.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 09:04PM Report Comment

5. nearly30 said...

I think she is a commissioning editor - something related to TalkBack TV - which is actually a lot better - if the 'big-wig' behind the scenes thinks 'porperty porn' is a major issue then that speaks volumes!! More so that Sarah Beeny, Kirsty Allsop and various other vacuous individuals that offer their advice.

By the way - I like Kevin McLeod - his prog is more about the aesthetic of buildings - he's just the right blend of cynical when he meets 'that' couple who overspends by 200K on a stupid 500K barn conversion in rural Essex.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 10:16PM Report Comment

6. This comment has been removed as it was found to be in breach of our Blog Policies.


7. Hyrax said...

I think I will frame this article. Biting the hand that fed you for ten years..reminds me of Jeremy Clarkson complaining about all the boy racers around his Oxfod(?) village making it too dangerous for his daughter to go out cycling.
Things must be bad! West Dorset is shot because of the Londoners watching River Cottage and Daisy Godwn ruined Somerset housing for ordinary folk. Suffer the next generation or is it crocodile tears!?

Monday, November 20, 2006 12:27AM Report Comment

8. tyrellcorporation said...

LOL... that reminds me. I recent adition to a street near us has been a 'Grand Design' style building. This couple bought a detached house in a nice part of Exeter, knocked it down and then spent over 300k building a wooden cube. Total cost including the original house, architects fees, etc must have been in excess of 700k!!! The question is WHY? IMHO they could have built a fantastic glass extension on the back of the original house for about 50k saving themselves about 350k... Having that 'statement' building to live in is total lunacy. They are currently driving around in a knackered Polo so I can only assume they're now either totally skint or massively in debt... Duh?!?

Property Porn... As a side note I've always been intrigued how these housey programs were financed and by what organisations...would be an interesting documentary.

Monday, November 20, 2006 08:59AM Report Comment

9. The Capitalist said...

What's interesting is the comments posted under this piece - most accept we are in a bubble and most talk of a recession caused by the bubble bursting. Great stuff - the tide is turning!

Messge to Mortgage Slaves

I rent (I'm 39), I have cash, gold and a euro fund returning over 30% and I feel sorry for you. Bubbly anyone?

Monday, November 20, 2006 09:38AM Report Comment

10. denzil said...

How stunningly refreshing. The way the average Brit has subscribed to debt and HPI in order to nurture Gordon's so-called economic miracle genuinely gives me sadness.

Monday, November 20, 2006 10:33AM Report Comment

11. geed said...

I'm all for a renting at the mo. It used to bother me that i couldnt rip up the garden and put in a veggie patch or dream of improving the the bathroom..blah, blah. My time will come, but it is hard sometimes when i think of the "innocent" reasons of why i would like to own my own home and compare myself to those who live in a property only for the capital gains.

As a slight aside; I currently live in Australia and have just filled in my tax return. As a result of my thoroughly enjoyable - but sensible - lifestyle which has allowed me to put away quite a bit of cash in the banks, I have just realised that my 6.0% interest has been smashed down to 3.0% as a result of income tax. I have ISA's in the UK but there appears to be no such thiong here in OZ. So I am a fool. How stupid am I putting all the money I save by renting in a high interest bank account only for the government to tax the interest during the year and then take another chunk out when the interest is added to my income.

We are all encouraged to take out debt and encouraged not to save. It is a disheartening situation whereby the irrational and the unfounded watch their debt reduce due to inflation and the prudent watch their savings disolve for the very same reason.

I'm with you Denzil, it is indeed sad.

Monday, November 20, 2006 11:14AM Report Comment

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