Sunday 29 September 2013

"Quick! Pour more accelerant on the fire!"

Via Ennui at HPC.

It must be clear to everybody that the Conservatives' re-election hopes are largely pinned on stoking a nice house price bubble before 2015 to create the "feel good factor" which has been key to winning more or less every UK General Election for the past few decades.

But oh no, what's this?

The August data from Land Registry's House Price Index shows an annual price increase of 1.3% which takes the average property value in England and Wales to £164,654. The monthly change from July to August shows an increase of 0.1%...

The region in England and Wales which experienced the greatest increase in its average property value over the last 12 months is London with a movement of 7.1% and the North West experienced the greatest monthly rise with a movement of 1.3%. The region with the greatest annual price fall is the North East with a decrease of 2.2%. Wales saw the most significant monthly price fall with a decrease of 2.1%.

So their votes might be looking pretty safe in London/South East for the time being, but it's ebbing away elsewhere.

But fear not, help is at hand:

Polling since Mr Miliband’s speech last Tuesday suggests that his policies are popular with voters, who have seen their energy bills rise sharply, while average wages have stalled. Mr Cameron believes that too many young professionals are being priced out of the property market because they cannot raise enough money for a deposit.

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme will be brought forward from January 2014 to next week.

Under the three-year scheme, the Government will provide up to £12 billion of “guarantees” to encourage mortgage lenders to offer more loans worth 95 per cent of the price of a property. The government guarantees are needed to reassure banks and building societies because of the risk that mortgage holders with such high loan-to-value deals will default.

The scheme is expected to enable banks to release £130 billion of loans for buyers of properties worth up to £600,000 who could not raise a larger mortgage deposit on their own. A smaller government loan scheme for people buying newly built properties began in April.

To cut a long story, the very same people can't afford to scrape together a decent deposit on an over-priced house are being expected to be able to repay a mortgage on a house where the price has been pumped up by yet another fifteen per cent or so?

Friday 20 September 2013

Friday meet-up

Same time, same place.

i.e. this evening (20 September) from about 5.20 pm onwards at The Brewmaster pub near Leicester Square Tube station.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Reader's Letter Of The Day

From today's Evening Standard:

SOMETHING missing from the Lib Dems' case for higher property taxes is a comparison between London and other global cities.

New York City does not have a cap as there is with Band H and as a result some property owners willingly pay bills of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Forty three per cent ofhte city's revenue comes from property taxes.

Similar arrangements exist in Hong Kong and Singapore.

High taxes on labour and business are far more damaging to Londoners than those on property. The challenge is to sell any new tax as a replacement rather than a new one. Stamp Duty is an ideal candidate to scrap.

Joe Momberg, N3.

Monday 16 September 2013

"Clegg and Alexander reject Cable's warning over Help to Buy"

From The Guardian:

Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander have dismissed a call by their Liberal Democrat colleague Vince Cable to restrict the second phase of the government's Help to Buy mortgage scheme to areas of the country with depressed property prices.

In a sign of tensions over the economic policy at senior levels of the party, Clegg and his close ally Alexander rejected Cable's warnings that Britain was facing a dangerous housing bubble.

Does not compute.

The justification for Help To Buy was that houses are too expensive and so first time buyers have to be "helped". The very existence of the scheme is the government's tacit admission that house prices are in a bubble.

If prices were "affordable" by whatever measure, then there'd be no need for such schemes. So Cable's idea about restricting it to "areas of the country with depressed property prices" is even more stupid than Clegg and Alexander's state of denial - because people don't need help to buy a cheap house.

The only way that any of this makes sense is if "Help To Buy" is in fact "Help To Sell", then it makes perfect sense from the point of view of a Home-Owner-Ist government trying to win a general election from a majority Home-Owner-Ist electorate.

H/t Alan at HPC.