The UK’s Mortgage Squeeze

From the Times of London:

As Caroline Flint, the Housing Minister, strode along Downing Street this week, she put on show private Cabinet papers that predicted a property price fall of 5 to 10 per cent this year.

Miscalculation or conspiracy? Will Ms Flint’s slouchy handbag become as famous as the sharper-edged style of accessory favoured by Margaret Thatcher?

Whichever theory you subscribe to, you will be concerned by the simplistic assessment of the current housing market conditions that emerges from the papers. The credit crunch has raised the cost of borrowing for housing associations, the bodies that operate the shared equity schemes on which so much hope is now placed. Yet the Government still thinks it can turn back time.

The vast majority are staying put, declining to panic and are not overwhelmed by their debts: the latest figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) show few distressed sellers. RICS’s estate agent members bemoan the mortgage famine but do not appear to see government intervention as the solution to this or any other of the market’s woes. This may be because they have witnessed the problems caused by home information packs (Hips), which were promoted by the Government as a panacea for all the travails of buying and selling homes and also as means of promulgating a deep green sensibility among fossil-fuel profligate owner-occupiers.

A sizeable stamp-duty concession for first-time buyers would be one measure that could cause homebuyers to overlook Hips and other dubious ventures. Maybe the papers outlining this are hiding somewhere in Ms Flint’s handbag.


The final chapter in the tale of a repossession is usually played out in an auction room. A survey from Moore Blatch, a firm of solicitors, indicates that 34 per cent of repossessions result from the breakdown of relationships. Properties that do not sell are not always failing to find a buyer as bargain-hunters are closing deals in private once the auction is over

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (, he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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