Friday, September 21, 2007

The housing market is in great health!

Can the UK avoid a house price crash?

'This is the silver lining to the credit crunch and the financial uncertainty. Our suspicion that interest rates have peaked has actually been strengthened.' The credit crunch provides a silver lining for borrowers? Ah ahaha ahahh ahhhah ahahhahhaaa... I cannot stop laughing... who is the [email protected] who wrote that! Yes the BoE base rate can go down but that does not mean mortgage rates will go down. Ah ah ah.... just wait November and will see the impact of the cost of bad debt on lending.... ah aha hahhahha aaahh.

Posted by confused76 @ 07:37 PM (2669 views)
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45 thoughts on “The housing market is in great health!

  • “But things will remain relatively stable so long as home owners resist the temptation to panic sell.”

    Hmmm, just like Northern Rock savers resisted the temptation to panic and withdraw their funds…

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  • A quicker link:

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/ then click on “Can the UK avoid a house price crash?”

    Confused. If the BoE rate goes down, then won’t all the tracker mortgages go down as well? Any reduction in the Bank rate would be good news for all those who have an existing tracker mortgage, especially those who are struggling at the current rate.

    I wonder if the banks are still offering tracker mortgages to new customers… and if they are, I wonder how they compare with trackers awarded a year ago.

    Didn’t A&L offer a tracker mortgage something like 3/4% above BoE rate, but had to stop offering it because it was over-subscribed?

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  • The banks have realised that they can take crazy risks.

    Only this week did the Abbey / Banco Santander offer a 125% mortgage at 6* salary.

    If the BoE has allowed NR to collapse this would not have happened.

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  • I agree David.

    Also, I have noticed estate agents have started increasing prices in my area (Northamptonshire) on new property to the market!

    I just feel like this current market cycle is never going to come to an end…..

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  • Abbey have sold their sould to the devil!!

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  • Just means a bigger tumble if prices rise now, Pound falling against the dollar and dollar falling against the euro…

    Anyways, if things get too bad I’ll just get an IVA and a council house 🙂

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  • It isn’t.

    Hopes of a house price crash culminated last weekend, THAT was the tipping point. If it had been allowed to tip that would have been the start of a crash.

    I have mentioned this point before but house prices now are so fundamentally important to the UK economy and Government that they will not be allowed to crash at any point.

    Whilst I always hoped for a crash I can now, after the Government and BoE effectively bailed out NR ever see it happening.

    IR rates will drop soon and we will have the situation a la 2005.

    The Abbey by giving 125% mortgage at 6* salary has relaised no matter how much banks fu*k up they will always be saved effectively ending any hope of a price crash.

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  • David, it is not a question of what the government will allow. No government allows a crash, it happens anyway. The last crash happened purely for economic reasons, not because anybody simply allowed it. In fact, the governments control very little. They just carry the can for what happens.

    Every bubble bursts. Excluding the war years, the UK economy has crashed every 18 years for the past 300 years. The last one started in 1989 so the rest of 2007 does not look good. It can be delayed but not stopped. They do not teach economic history in schools because it would stop the kids falling for the scams that force them to work for the system for life when they become adults.

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  • The fall out from the current situation would be horrendous. By prolonging it for a few more years the final fall out would be an economic version of Armageddon and we all better buy a shotgun. How far can it go… 8* salary, 9*,10,15 ? 200% Mortgage. Eventually it comes to a point were it is impossible to pay back the loan in a lifetime and mobility of people to places were jobs and skills are needed stops dead as people cannot afford to move and the next generation cannot afford to leave home. It would cripple the county in many other ways socially if this carries on a few more years.

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  • Any punters taking 125% mortgage at 6* salary needs a lobotomy, if you earn £23K a year that translates to £258K loan with repayments INTEREST ONLY of £1400 per month which correct me if I’m wrong is ALL YOUR TAKE HOME PAY.

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  • A&L quietly raised its tracker rate today. Most banks are currently offering a “discount” on fixed term loans. This tells us that they expect UK rates to fall (this likelyhood has been well aired, recently).

    The most painless route for the existing housing bubble to discharge would be for people to generally realise houses were over-priced and allow prices to gently drift down a few percent every 6 months. This lets recent purchasers down gently and brings houses into reach of FTBs, and even reasonable returns to aspiring landlords…. That way, air is gently released from the bubble.

    This won’t happen because house prices are subject to cyclical trends. They are also manipulated by Politicians and Vested Interests alike.

    Major influences are inflation (about to rocket up), Sub-Prime fraud (defaults causing credit locking) and world Interest Rates (driven down by the Fed representing the largest economy on the planet).

    The US hasn’t avoided a HPC, there just wasn’t the political will. I think that if the will exists, then crashes would be reduced in magnitude and pain…however that’s expecting a bit much from George & today’s Republican party.

    The UK can’t live its life insulated from the rest of the world. The best everyone (working in harmony) can do is mitigate some of the worst options which have been identified on this site.

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  • Unlikely to happen.

    I said a few months ago that it would only be a matter of time before salary multiples were increased. Multiples which once seemed absolutely crazy are now becoming reality.

    This boom is now likely to continue after the bail out of NR.

    If interest rates fall which they look likely to do I wouldn’t be surprised to see multiples of 8* or 9* salary by 2009.

    With interest rates falling the banks will claim that 8* or 9* salary mortgages are “affordable”

    I despair, I really fu*king sepair because this situation has now got so bad it is insane.

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  • semi-detached-from-reality says:

    David,
    you’re actually beginning to write sensible postings at last, only to spoil it with non too hidden swearing.
    C’mon mate

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  • I believe the current scenario warrants this.

    Socialism for the rich has evolved.

    If you work for a bank and make mega profits then great, but wait any sort of problem, don’t worry we will bail you out.

    If Northern Rock had been allowed to collapse or fall into major difficulty then all of the other banks would have sat up and taken notice and tried to reduce their exposure.

    Unfortunately the BoE and the Government has stepped in and has basically announced that the banks all have a get out of free card.

    Abbey is testing the waters with its 125%, 6* salary mortgage. What seem ludacrious now will very soon form part of mortgage reality in the very near future.

    The US is in the sh*t, but we are going to avoid it because the BoE is not seperate from the Government at all, its supposed independence from the Government has now been exposed as non-existant.

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  • Get a grip you lot – the situation is very different to 2005, within the next month or so the BoE will have no room to manouevre as the oil price rise pushes inflation back up to 2% and beyond. Inflation (however fiddled) will not allow an IR rescue of the housing market this time. Peakoil is in the process of killing the debt based Anglo-Saxon economic model. The oil price will steadily gain ground until such time as it induces a big enough recession to (temporarily) cut demand. Under such conditions global housing markets will expire. That is the fundamental background of our times.

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  • Alan,

    Prices don’t go down slowly. The reason is that people won’t buy now if they know they can buy it in a few months time for less money. They will wait for the prices to go down, then buy it. The sellers then have to drop their prices now to get a sale.

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    Enuii,

    6x your £23k salary is only £138k the 125% bit just means that they’ll let you buy a £115k house with it. Can you see the problem with this? Round here you can’t buy a garden shed for £115k let alone a house. The market is already at breaking point. These loans will be reigned in soon. Once we see some defaults on them everyone will realise that this is our subprime and this prop will be pulled away. As for interest rates, the reason we are hoping for them to continue up is so that people who are overborrowed feel financial pressure and are forced sellers. I know that this does not sound nice, but this the mechanism we think will trigger a crash. However there are two counters to this.

    Firstly, even at historically low interest rate levels, borrowing the maximum that you can afford to pay back is unsustainable. Over the course of the loan life events will mean that you will have good times and bad times. If you have no slack in your finances you can easily be pushed over the edge.

    Secondly even if rates are cut AND these are passed on to borrowers, the resultant drop in the pound will increase imported inflation. At the moment good old inflation is squeezing people’s spare cash anyway. As this continues and more people experience financial hardship there will be forced sellers. We need to focus on the fundamentals – whatever brought each of us to this website in the first place still holds true, only more so. The market will not crash in a day, houses are an illiquid asset. However the start is here. The whole bubble is based upon confidence and that is evaporating by the day. Paddy Ashdown predicted a HPC on question time last night and talk of a crash is in all of the daily newspapers. Conrast that to even six months ago and you will see how much closer we are now.

    When the last bear turns bull…………….

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  • House prices will, repeat will go down, and within the next 12 months. Because mortgage approvals are down 10 per cent from a year ago.

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  • Crash we are not close.

    Professor Anfrew Oswald predicted a crash from 2003 to 2005.

    The Government and the BoE have now shown they will never allow a crash.

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  • Ihopeitgoeswithabang says:

    The crash will come. It always was going to and always will because it is dictated by human nature that does not know when to stop.
    The only thing that this week proved is that good old Gordon and the BOE didnt want it on their watch. But they are looking after their skins first and foremost.

    Prices at their current level are not sustainable forever. Ok so half the population is safe from debt but what about the other struggling half?
    Oh i so want this to crash on Flash Gordons watch.

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  • A quick trip to the Abbey site reveals some facts

    max of 5x salary if you’re on £60k+, max of 4x if you’re on £25k – 6x is still a fantasy, I’d be surprised if there are still any 5x on offer by 2008
    If you go for the 125% mortage, ie borrowing £125k, your 2 yr tracker rate is 6.99%, 2 yr fixed from 7.45%, so at least £728/month, interest only

    How much does a £125k house cost to rent? There’s a refurbished 2bed semi just outside Winchester asking £700/month rental, and no end of 2 bed flats in the city for £750, but you’d only be able to buy a studio for £125k

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  • I do not believe this government are capable of steering the UK successfully through the economic waters we are now in. Liebour have benefitted beyond measure from the benign economic climate over the past 10 years and I think probably even they are now believing they have it cracked.

    But look what’s happened in the past week – as soon as the pressure is turned up they blow it. NR was HISTORIC! It’s all died down now and it sort of looks like they’ve got away with it but these things have a nasty habit of coming back and biting you. Plus who knows what other nasty surprises are ticking away in the UK mortgage market.

    If the US haven’t been able to avoid the result of years of cheap credit there’s no way Liebour can do it either, especially in an economy that is almost totally dependent on people spending money they do not have.

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  • David

    What makes house prices go up and go down?

    I was in Basingstoke the other week and here were 13 for sale boards and 2 sold, 2 years ago there would have been 13 sold and 2 for sale.

    As for crash at the moment i say no but certainly a correction and stall, what would make a crash its simple a change in the uk economics, is that likely? well its 10 years overdue.

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  • Hmmm, it’s all very interesting. The goverment has indicated they’re going to do all they can to keep this house of cards standing for a little while longer.
    I expect they’ll only allow building for some of the extra homes the country really needs there by keeping supply below demand. That with the huge inward migration of recent years has made the uk housing market more like that of some crowded Asian countries where house prices have traditionally been around 7-8 times annual salary.
    The goverment will keep banks alive that should have been left to die as “zombies”, this will increase the tax burden and weaken the pound causing further price inflation due to more expensive imports. This will be ok for a little while longer but eventually the inflation will make it too expensive for people, they’ll stop spending and economy will recede over a number of years. I think we’re turning Japanese, I really think so.

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  • I just finished watching a programme I recorded on CNBC from Monday night about the credit crunch. Present was some European head honcho from Moodies, Journalist for the NY FT and head honcho for NACA (look it up).

    Anyway, the man from NACA was a bit like the nutter who was screaming for the FED to open the discount window a few weeks ago. He represents the interests of millions of US homeowners facing foreclosure and along with the BOA (I think) has raised $1 billion to assist in moving US borrowers to “affordable” mortgages. He said that even with the money the FED will supply and the assistance they have proposed this WILL NOT SCRATCH THE SURFACE. Over the next 2 years 2 million + will lose their homes in the US. Reducing the IR rate will not effect these people as their terms will rise against their original borrowings, some looking at up to 1.5% rises every 6 months (I don’t know how many resets are built in). This will create a recession in the US, how will this effect the “Global Economy”?

    They also discussed the liquidity crunch and the consensus was, even with the billions being put in by the CB’s and the possible drops in global IR’s that the credit market will be closed for 6 – 12 months.

    We ‘aint seen nothing yet!!!

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  • 198 properties added onto the market on friday, in bristol alone.

    I think it might already be here….

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  • There will be no nasty surprises that can’t be managed if the Government basically promises to bail out all lenders with lots of cash. Also to stop a repeat the Government is proposing to guarantee £100k with 100% backing.

    If the Government is provided to give this level of support a crash in UK hosuing will not occur.

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  • The government cannot keep on inflating the economy by lending to the banks (with money materialized out of nowhere), they either have to take that money back partially destroying the expansion of the money supply that it created or leave it there causing inflation-either way the economy will suffer through increased inflation or hyper inflation-one is a slow death the other is a heart attack. At the the end of the day, you cannot avoid the inevitable which is a asset price readjustment because there has been been no paradigal shift in house prices. The Weimar Republic is a classic example of the effect of printing money, even the Third Reich, which used inflating practises was in the end doomed-Hitler avoided the bust by taking Germany to war, thereby destroying the assets that had been created (so they had to be re-created), and refilling his coffers from conquered countries. Anyway the BoE can guarantee all they want-in the end the guarantee will be worth nothing if the world is not willing to accept sterling. Barter Economy anyone?

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  • “There will be no nasty surprises that can’t be managed if the Government basically promises to bail out all lenders with lots of cash. Also to stop a repeat the Government is proposing to guarantee £100k with 100% backing.

    If the Government is provided to give this level of support a crash in UK hosuing will not occur.”

    If the BoE continue with the bail out by giving out lots of loans the net result is an increased money supply which leads to increased inflation, which leads to higher interest rates. This is s very short term fix, unless they can come up with something else the banks will be back to where there were previously-the only long term solution is to destroy the bad debts but this also destroys their asset base which in turn lowers their borrowing power thus decreasing their lending power QED. The readjustment is delayed, the problem hasnt been solved, its just been allowed to grow and its bite will be much worse next time.

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  • Crash Bandicoot is right.

    You can not beat the markets forever. Government intervention usually fails in the long run. It failed when previous Governments tried to prop up inefficient industries and loss-making manufacturing. It will fail again.

    UK house prices are not currently declining. However, they are effected by a number of factors, including availability of money, supply-demand, perception of investor, and Government policies. Money availability is now questionable. Mortgages may soon become more expensive and there might be a rise in unemployment. This means more people will suffer poor money availability, especially those who are indebted. Should prices stagnate, or even fall a little, the perception of investors will change. Investors will move their money to more efficient investment vehicles. This includes the BTL Brigade, or rather, those BTL who are intelligent to realise all good things come to an end and are able to sell their properties. Current high house prices will then be maintained by the supply-demand arguement (which does have SOME effect) and by Government policies. It will be interesting to see which will prove the stronger: The downward pressure caused by poor money availability and perception of investors; or the upward pressure caused by supply-demand and Government policies.

    Remember: Debt-free savers only one recession away from owing that dream nest!

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  • In defence of currency

    The UK Bond Market will now suffer horrendously. This was an unbelievably bad decision and one which must have to do only with party politics ahead of a snap election.

    The GBP will devalue even faster than the USD.

    Did you note the devaluation of the USD over the last few days.

    In order to prevent this, one has to put up interest rates.

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  • Keep hoping Dave, but over the last few weeks the world has changed. The die is now cast for the UK housing market. Time for a reality check.

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  • dohousescrashinthewoods says:

    David, you’re not listening. Yes the government wil do everything in their power to prevent a crash. No they are not that powerful.
    Have you ever tried to run up a wall? With a lot of effort, you can go a long way, but the forces of nature hold the trump card.

    As Swamp says, perpetuating this boom is cripling the nation, but I believe Gordon is that short sighted and will keep going. I also believe he has backed us into such a corner now that every option leads downhill. The markets aren’t fooled.

    I am almost prepared to believe Gordon would turn the country into some nightmarish communist state where financial freedom is illegal and a corrupt government squanders the peoples’ wealth to protect their selfish interests, all the while insisting they are following high ideals.

    Hang on a minute..

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  • I’m confused, I thought that we were already seeing signs of stricter lending by the banks?? – and hasn’t the last week demonstrated that the BoE is not in control, neither is the Gvt, it’s way bigger than little UK ltd. Surely this is just the beginning – as more householders in US default on their loans, won’t this continue to send shockwaves through the world banking system…or am I missing something? This is not an isolated contained event.

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  • I’m not worried. Keep watching.

    Pumping money into the money markets only removes the uncertainty temporarily because the underlying cause does not go away – and every time the “independent” Bank of England intervenes to do it, its very expensive and they damage their own credibility as independent. Therefore the real question in the future will be “Why did the Bank of England cave in to political pressure to bail out the ailing, sharp-practising banks?”

    This boom won’t be crippling the nation much longer – in fact, house prices are declining according tot he Land Registry figures for August and London is being hit particularly badly – -2.3% or an average of £4,500 loss in one month.

    Gordon Brown will need a snap election to save his pallid greasy skin, because he will be the one in the direct firing line when the history annals are written.

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  • Points to watch for the future:

    1. Inflation regarding our imports. Rising commodity prices is an easy one to spot: Platinum, Silver, Copper and of course oil. These will be an easy guide to the way inflation will rise.

    2. Reposesions in the UK; anecdotal evidence that reposessions are up significantly for the current quarter will not be available till November. Remember that people need to spend at least 6 months “in pain” before reposession takes place, so the numbers you will see reflects difficulties first understood back in January !

    3. US IRs could fall further, prompting a race to the bottom. The US press is a good indicator, I read a couple of articles suggesting US IRs to drop once more. This will put the pound (and Euro) in an adverse currency situation. The Spanish and French are already contemplating the adverse impact of 1 Euro = $1.45 in the near future. If the UK doesn’t drop IRs then we may be left with £1 = $2.10 very quickly. Dropping UK IRs will shaft the BoE ideas of containing inflation.

    4. New powers to manage powerful UK banking interests. This could go either way – the current “get out of jail free card” for irresponsible bankers has already been posted above.

    If I were GB, I’d slip an election in fast!

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  • brightonrentfodder says:

    Gordon Brown one day will be known as Crash Gordon, its as inevitable as the close down of the glut of EA’s on our highstreets. Also they’re already talking about the culling of thousands of jobs in London Finance. There has been a lot of criticism of the BOE’s actions around the world so sterling will continue to get devalued. Inflation is definately on its way, and the BOE don’t have the b*ll*cks to contain it.

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  • Guys
    I read a lot of interesting comments, but you cannot escape the simple truth: when cost of capital goes up asset prices go down. Call it a slowdown, call it a crash…

    Cost of bad debt is what has caused the US financial crisis in the first place. Not true that if the BoE lowers rates mortgages follow. Old trackers may, but new mortgage offering becomes more expensive. You guys know that today the LIBOR is 1% more expensive than the base rate. That is the cost of borrowing for a AAA institution. Then you have to add a premium for the borrower risk. Yesterday that premium was near zero. Now the premium in the UK is still low but that is changing. The bail-out of NR has not really changed things too much. NR can borrow from BoE practically at LIBOR. Which means that NR will also offer savings rates close to BoE + 1%
    Mmmm…. with govt guarantee on savings that means more people to save money in the bank rather than buying a stupid BtLs…

    Then on the 125% mortgage. Not a problem as long as it is fairly priced. And maybe Abbey asks for 10% interests, in which case I do not see why that should be reckless lending.

    Regards the price difference of trackers versus fixed rate mortgages, banks simply price according to the market rates. They do not take bets whether interest rates will go up or down, that assumption is already factored into the market rates (e.g. into the 5-year swap rates, and into the government bond term structure). From a financial point of view, a borrower’s choice of a fixed rate product versus a variable rate one is totally equivalent, since prices are market based. Fixed rate products contain a slight “insurance” premium against rate fluctuations, but that s it. I laugh when financial pundits on papers advice not to take fixed rate products “because interests will go down”. It is nonsense. Another nonsense is not to match the length of the ‘fixed rate’ with the maturity of the loan (eg I borrow for 25 years but rates are fixed only for 5 years)… but then if house prices can only go up i can remortgage, can’t I? Good luck, dear punter!

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  • Alan

    Another indicator to watch is the exchange rate with the Euro. The Euro is becomming stronger against the pound – and this may also prompt a snap decision for the UK to join the Eurozone to avoid comming into the Euro at a later point at an unacceptable exchange rate..

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  • The government was clearly trying to avert financial disaster with Northern Rock but I think it’s a bit of a jump to say that they took that action to prevent a house price crash. A bank run is such a serious event that I think the government had to step in. Don’t get me wrong I think irresponsible lenders should be punished, but a major banking crisis would be bad for everyone. I’d be delighted if there was a HPC (having just sold to rent in early September) but that wouldn’t be good if it took the whole financial system down. We don’t want mass unemployment, just a correction in house prices.

    What should happen now is the NR directors should be made an example of and the FSA step in to stop places like Abbey offering ridiculous mortgages. I can’t believe the regulators have allowed such loans in the first place. The bank is having to clear up the FSA’s mess imo.

    Even with the action taken on NR I still think a HPC is going to happen and very soon. I believe we are in stage 1 of a crash. The most significant figures at the moment are the mortgage figures, new mortgage lending (excluding remortgages) has dropped sharply. This will slow the market down enormously and I would have thought by Christmas it will have slowed to a near standstill. At that time the bankers’ bonuses will be coming in and I would expect they’ll be down by quite a bit. Recruitment freezes and limited redundancies will be happening across the City. AFTER this has happened I expect prices will plateau for a while (like a few months) then start to drop, then snowball into a major crash. All of these events take a long time to feed through to house prices as they are sticky downwards because sellers are always very reluctant to drop prices even when their house isn’t selling. As I understand it in the HPC of the early 90s activity just slowed to a halt first, sellers couldn’t sell but didn’t drop their prices initially, then after a while all the prices nosedived. Patience is the key here I think.

    Incidentally I was at Cheltenham and Gloucester yesterday and the guy serving me told me he’d been made redundant due to a program of redundancies there, apparently their lending has dried up…

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  • Anyone on here work in a bank? Recruitment freezes happening yet? People worried about their bonuses? Or is everything still ok at the moment.

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  • planning4acrash says:

    sirgoogle, YES, I am convinced that our use of CPI is another stab at getting us in synch with the Euro. Maybe it will be put forward as the saviour to our crisis very soon?

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  • You happy few,
    Enough no more tis not so sweet as it was before .
    What we want now is not poturing or scoring points .
    We need to know what to do.
    IEther to accept or decline ……INFLATION ……OR ……CONTRACTION
    Let us m0ve on and put our combined minds to the future as it is now and with a disastrous opposition accept that CRASH GORDON is
    frozen to the controls and we are really on board.
    My own conclusion is that we are in a madhouse and I must leave (and i cant even say thank youfor the fish.)

    HELP…

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  • David good to see you losing the plot as always during a blog, two points to make… i) If bread, petrol, imports, plastics, meat, every damn commodity you can think of is in a global super cycle; things cost more… In other words people’s outgoings are increasing much faster than wages. ii) You don’t get a mortgage from the Bank of England, Fed Reserve or any other central bank, you do get it from a high street (or similar) bank and these are the guys that are not lending and re-pricing risk.

    Basically money is harder to come by and peoples cost of living is moving higher quickly. The central banks are just covering their ar*e’s for when the real turds hit the fan.

    Oh and another point I work for a company that is owned by a US private equity group, we are now officially up for sale to anyone who has got a spare ‘tenner’… Believe me unemployment is just about to move as fast as Gordon Browns finger on the trigger of the election gun!

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