Saturday, June 13, 2009

The housing market: qualifying my comments

Like many others, I'm in the habit of talking about "the housing market" in general terms. Surely this is no more helpful than talking about the average person's health, or the average temperature and climate of the Earth. In reality, there's a host of niches and scenarios - it's a sort of ecological system.

The London-based retiree looking for a bungalow in the South or South-West; the cereal packet family-of-four headed by a breadwinner; the pair of teachers deciding whether one can afford to go part-time; the buy-to-renter who sold out in time; the one who didn't; the rich guy dashing off a cheque for a Park Lane house to add to his international collection; the divorcee who bought out her ex-husband's share of the family home because she just can't let go; the car worker who's just lost his job; the Last Of England emigrant; the oldie looking for a sheltered housing apartment.

Houses sold by estate agent, by private treaty, by auction; houses sold, repossessed, swapped, abandoned, divided, combined, left as legacies, sold for care costs, seized by the law, occupied by squatters; flats, terraced houses, semis, detached dwellings. Brick and mortar, cruck, stone, straw bale, genuine and mock Tudor, eco.

Houses in central London, the London boroughs, the Home Counties, the provinces, Wales, Scotland and South-West; houses in thriving, decaying and recovering cities; in towns, villages, hamlets, lonely moors, islands; even a house on a pair of rocks on Newquay's beach.

How can one generalise meaningfully?


Paddington said...

If we can somehow change people to think of stability, and a house as a home, rather than an investment, things should be a little better.

hatfield girl said...

It's the only thing you don't have to pay tax on. The only easily understood thing, anyway. Change the tax system and housing would stop being used as a casino. Well not so much, anyway. Rentiers are not called rentiers for nothing.

Are you leaving for the sea, S? You mentioned you were looking at houses.

Sackerson said...

Aiming for the Sparkling River, as it is known in Welsh.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"the buy-to-renter who sold out in time"?

Don't you mean "the sell-to-renter who sold out in time"?

@ Hatfield Girl, exactly - cut taxes on income and replace them with taxes on property values, that will sort it all out.

Sackerson said...

Hi Mark

I should have said "buy to rent"-er. Thanks for calling by.