June 3, 2014

Property: here we go again

Posted in Celtic Tiger · 47 comments ·
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Last week, there was lots of talk about individual politicians but, in truth, these people – although mostly well-intentioned – don’t actually matter in terms of the economy. All the main Irish parties believe in the same economic orthodoxy, so in a sense they are irrelevant. Remember, it was economic orthodoxy that got us into this mess, so it’s hardly the most likely route out of the crisis.

A politician’s fate is controlled by the economy, rather than the other way around. If they chose an economic vision and were prepared to do something about it, then things would be different, but they don’t have such a vision.

Amazingly, Irish politicians and the civil service have manoeuvred themselves into a position where the acid test for success or failure is whether the budget deficit goes up or down.

However, the budget deficit is an accounting residual – it has very little to do with economics. It is a figure that falls out of national accounting models. It is the end point, not the starting point.

As such, it tells you very little about what is going on. This figure’s irrelevance is made all the more compromising by the fact that the other target that political spin-doctors crow about is the bond yield. But the bond yield is only a momentary value judgment made by the same infallible financial markets that lent billions to Anglo, didn’t see the crisis coming and can’t price risk.

So what’s going on? Why do people vote for Sinn Féin if there is a recovery, and if there is a recovery, do you feel it? Or is this yet another chimera, driven by yet another entirely manufactured housing boom?

What I have decided to do this week is bring you four up-to-date separate charts, which tell us not so much what is going on in the Irish economy, but why it is happening.

In addition, these charts may explain why people voted the way they did last weekend.

Chart 1 tells us what is going on in the real economy. It reveals that, while inflation is falling, wages are falling even faster than prices, and this means that people’s purchasing power is actually falling, not rising.

Chart 1 1 June

The key figure to look at here is the real wage – the red bars on the graph. This is your wages minus the rate of inflation. The numbers show that, even though unemployment has fallen in the past two years, so too have real wages.

This is why you feel poorer, not richer, despite the fact that everyone says there is a recovery in place. For the economy to feel prosperous, real wages have to be positive – they are now negative, and have been since 2011.

Without real wage growth, there can be very little prospect of sustained demand. Without sustained demand, there won’t be a sustained fall in unemployment. We can see this development in Chart 2, which not only shows us the rate of unemployment but the amount of people drawing the dole.

Irish Unemployment Rate + Persons on Live Reg (Change)

What we know from the latest figures, published last week by the CSO, is that employment growth has stalled.

In the period from January to April, the number of people in work rose by just 1,700 or 0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter, compared with a 10,600 gain in the fourth quarter of last year.

The lack of jobs and demand means that the rate of inflation has continued to fall. You can see this in Chart 3, which shows you the rate of change in general prices on the one hand, and house prices on the other.

Irish CPI vs House Prices

This is very worrying, because it shows us that prices in general are heading downwards, but house prices are heading skyward.

Why is this a problem? It’s a problem because your wages are linked to general prices, so as wages keep moving downwards, house prices move upwards. We know from Chart 1 that real wages are falling, but house prices are soaring.

This means houses are getting more and more expensive, but the only way the average person can afford a house is to borrow and borrow as much as possible, because wages and incomes are not keeping up with house prices. We’ve been here before. Don’t you remember the madness?

You may now be starting to get the picture.

Let’s look at the final chart.

Consumer Conf + House Prices

Chart 4 shows the impact of house prices on consumer sentiment. We can see that as house prices started to rise, so too did consumer confidence and this shows the phenomenal impact that housing wealth has on how people feel about the future. You can see that as house prices fell, consumer confidence fell in tandem. At some stage, one drove the other. Then in 2012, house prices started to move forward gently, so too did consumer confidence.

In the past few months as the property frenzy has taken hold again, consumer confidence has skyrocketed too.

But what else is driving this confidence?

Job growth is slowing down, so it’s not jobs. Real wages are actually negative and inflation – the price at which Irish small business can sell its products – is falling.

What is driving Irish confidence is the housing market. So here we go again. Seven years after a housing boom almost destroyed the country, we are at it again and there are enough people who benefit from the positive wealth effect of a mini-housing boom to keep the whole thing going.

This is not a sustainable economic model. We are heading back to the place where we Irish people buy and sell Ireland to one another with other people’s money and call it a recovery.

As prices rise in certain areas, the people who live and already own houses in these areas feel richer. They feel able to spend. Maybe they draw down savings that they squirrelled away and consumer confidence takes off.

But they are the already rich in the main. Also crucially, the rise in house prices does help those in negative equity, but unfortunately where house prices are rising are not the areas which are suffering from negative equity.

As houses prices rise in selected areas, and large parts of south Dublin become to Ireland what Knightsbridge and Chelsea are to Britain, the rest get left behind and feel that they are not included in this so-called boom.

The media hypes the thing up, because the papers and radio stations make money out of the property advertising, and this further reinforces the “us and them” division.

Is it surprising, in this context, why people reject mainstream politics?

If wages were rising and houses were affordable, there would be an entirely different political narrative playing out. But this is not the case.

As long as mainstream politicians and parties are happy to preside over such a lopsided economy, which in turn results in a divided society, radical politics will become mainstream . . . and mainstream politics will become redundant.

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  1. Pat Flannery

    It took so long to log onto your site I have forgotten what it was I was going to say.

    People in glass houses etc. etc.

    Fix your site first then advise how to fix the country.

  2. carpetcrawler

    Sinn Fein it is so !

    • stevedublin

      Shur, what could possibly go wrong!

      • Father Bartholomew Foolemall

        can’t do any worse than whats gone before.

        • Colin

          ah listen here now father, don’t be saying that now father, sure you know that them germans in the early 30s thought that their government was awful altogether, and didn’t they start voting for people who called themselves nationalist-socialist, had a leader who gave lots of speeches, had facial hair, involved himself in people disappearing, regularly ignored the advice of his own clergymen, organised ethnic cleansing along borders, spent time in prison and blamed the financial markets and the british for most of the country’s problems?

          do you know how all that ended father? twas terrible altogether father, we can’t have it again.

  3. atchman

    Having a good job in Dublin no longer cuts it. Can we blame the politicians – absolutely.

  4. DarraghD

    I think graph #4 is accidentally a copy of graph #3. Great article though, as someone running a small biz in our still bamboozled economy, price deflation is still a big problem for us, and sadly it is hard to see a proper recovery ever emerging, where wage growth is happening and people are not still absolutely shítting themselves in relation to their spending.

    We certainly do lack a vision in this country. The idea that we might have an economy where private housing is affordable, at the highest political level, there seems to be this notion, “who do you think you are wanting to buy a house in the capital?”, it’s like you are being audacious or even outrageous, if you aspire owning your own home in Dublin without being able to pay for it in cash! We have learnt absolutely nothing I have to say, and the problem is one of certainly vision. You could argue as well that we have such low expectations of our those whom we elect to political office, that we lack vision ourselves as voters. We does it take an upcoming crisis in homelessness to initiate a debate on why there are no affordable homes in Dublin in the private rental market? It’s like as if the notion here on the part of the government, is that if you are not working in a 70K a year or upwards job in Google or some similarly corporate la la land land, who can afford the 1,400 Euro a month for a 2 bedroom apartment in Dublin, then you are only a mug who should stay at home and live with your mammy. This genuinely appears to be the working logic at the moment.

  5. SMOKEY

    Anyone have any info on the grant scheme for house extensions in the last budget?
    Never heard another thing about it. I figured it would only drive up the value of the house and Revenue could then look for more property tax.
    Why let them know about any extensions if that is the case?
    As for the boom in Dublin, they get what they deserve, I was under the impression that prices had actually landed at about 10% above what they should be and were still too high.
    Looks like they want to pay more property tax up there. Good for them, I am glad to be an “outsider” in this case. eejits

  6. CorkRob

    David, Spot on again with the analysis , but I would disagree with one statistic – the CPI negative growth in 2014.

    I have been tracking a general basket of food in both Tesco & Dunnes over the last 2 years and have seen the same audacious price rises each year in the Jan/Mar period.
    I’m not talking 1% – 2% but wholesale jumps in basic foods of 15% – 33%.

    This is not done with just price increases but also in tandem with ever shrinking product unit size. If you doubt this take a close look at the individual size of say, a Weetabix, that now costs €8.81 in Dunnes for 72 and was €6.06 in 2012 – In time, if the product size follows it’s current trajectory, you’ll be able to put the 72 box in your pocket.

    This is similar to Cadbury’s chocolate bars, Sharwoods Mango Chutney & Sharwoods Curry Powder (which had a huge price rise and size decrease this spring) and many other ordinary foods.

    This is where political inaction hits ordinary people hardest – paying ever increasing amounts on your weekly shop and getting less each month for your money.

    We try and support RoI businesses by buying Irish produce (from the 26 counties) only to find products labelled “Irish” with a picture of one producer from Charleville on the front of the packet, while 99% of the time there is a UK stamp on the EC source on the back of the packet – deliberate mislabelling to con the Irish consumer.

    The overall problem is a lack of new ideas from any political party – properly costed and analysed ideas that meet economic scrutiny – not just “Tax the rich” & “Pay for nothing” !

    We badly need a new political party, not a rehash of disaffected politicians from existing parties re-emerging under a new name, but business people with experience and creativity – surely there are now enough of them out there, left high and dry by the last 7 years.

    Forget the AAA, Socialists, SF and PBP – we need people who KNOW HOW TO run businesses – not the bunch of Teachers and Solicitors we currently have.

    Start point 1 – put a punitive Stamp Duty on any houses not owner occupied by buyers – say 50% – that would cool the rising madness and allow 1st time buyers a chance to get on the ladder. If that worries anyone about reducing rented house supply for social housing, offer a rebate of the extra 44?% over 20 years, if the property is signed over to the local authority at predetermined fixed rates for Social Housing.

    We need to make a start somewhere.

    • Irishgeezah

      Dismissing up to 40% of the electorate at a whim is what got this country into the mess we find ourselves in and is one of the fundamental mistakes perennially made by the mainstream parties in Irish politics.
      As long as vested interests & lobbyists have unequivocal access to government ministers and the civil service at large, nothing will change.
      Do we need to change the way politicians work in Ireland? Yes we do but running a country and managing it’s finances is not akin to running a business. Businesses are all about bottom line, there’s no regard for social consequences. Services, already suffering from massive cuts in funding, would cease under any business model.
      What we need is some kinda people’s charter, where the good of the public is put ahead of all other. Will this happen? No, because the power brokers are conservative at heart and have little interest in bettering the lives of the Irish public.

    • Gearoid O Dubhain

      Well done on tracking food prices and your comments re container sizes being manipulated..this is nothing more than making idiots of the consumer. I used to be biased towards buying Irish and not shopping in the discounters such as Aldi but I think Irish industry and retailers feel no loyalty towards their customers so I no longer feel any loyalty towards them.

    • dontdoit

      I agree that a new political party is needed and that is the real start point. Both political and economic change is needed.

      The current government’s policy of de-democratisation with the its wipe out of local government needs to be reversed. Local government should be given the power to manage its own affairs and to set its own taxes. The top down system with those inside the pale thinking that only they have the prescription is a big part of our problem. In that regard a real constitutional convention is needed with elected representatives thereto.

      The national government might best be served by a strong directly elected executive with a single bodied legislature that compromises on each issue rather than one grand compromise on who goes into government. 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 of the Legislature could be elected every 2 or 3 years guaranteeing that there is a continuing connection between those passing laws and those on the receiving end.

      A government thus sent up could integrate minority ideas that spring up from the guaranteed minority representation that the proportional representative voting system gives us.

      As far a economics is concerned this country needs to go into the equivalent of bankruptcy court ie. out of the Euro and give all the bondholders a decapitation (rather than a haircut) and push the restart button. This country will not generate enough income to service its debt and prosper. The EU and US economic hitmen need to be dealt with. However this won’t happen if the people continue to elect lapdog governments.

      People like David and the public figures who spoke out about the need for a new political party prior to the last general election need to spear front the effort for new politics. They don’t need to run for office but they do need to lend their names to give the effort visibility, legitimacy and fundraising capability. I for one would be happy to step in and do some work on the ground if a serious grouping got together.

      • cooldude

        Have you looked at Direct Democracy. They want to halt the payment of the odious bank debt. This is the only way out of this mess. If it wasn’t for the interest on this odious debt we would have a surplus right now. No more lapdog politicians for me.

        • Neo

          +1 Cooldude

          Ben Gilroy and Tom Darcy are two brave men,fighting a very important battle!

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwS5fVbM1E4

          A Banking Enquiry is what’s needed to discover The Truth.Then when the Facts are revealed, we ,as a worst case scenario,can look for a sharing-the-debt burden arrangement,coz we can’t shoulder it alone and Grow!

          As our host puts it – ” we must change the way we do business”.

          Spot on!

    • michaelcoughlan

      “price rises each year in the Jan/Mar period.
      I’m not talking 1% – 2% but wholesale jumps in basic foods of 15% – 33%.

      This is not done with just price increases but also in tandem with ever shrinking product unit size”

      FIELD EVIDENCE McWilliams. I am so sick and tired of the shit I am being told that inflation is non existent or negative. I though David you put this nonsense on inflation to bed in a previous article!

      • cooldude

        Seems to be a global phenomenon Michael. According to Official stats US food prices are rising at 22% per annum. The rate is at least the same here and probably globally since food is now traded globally. David doesn’t seem to like this FACT as it interferes with his demonization of deflation and his solution of printing more money. Increasing the money supply has NEVER been known to deliver economic progress to the 99%. It does however create artificial booms which benefit the 1% like it is doing now.

        http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/05/24/U-S-Food-Inflation-Running-at-22

        • Neo

          “Increasing the money supply has NEVER been known to deliver economic progress to the 99%.”

          True,but that’s hardly surprising when all that ‘money’ is purposefully pumped into the speculative world markets only,and then naturally,we get artificial booms and as you said it’s the 1% that benefit,but not by increasing the money supply,or happenstance,but by wilful [mis]direction,away from the Real economy.

        • michaelcoughlan

          I don’t know whether McWilliams is ignorant of the inflation issue, misdirected by official stats or being willful.

          The conclusion we came to previously is that we have Bi Faltion. Increases in prices in certain items and deflation in prices in other areas.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biflation

          Michael.

  7. It explains why my usual yogurt carton is not full any more and my crisps are only in the bottom of the bag .

    It seems if they can seal it …they can bag it too .

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi,

      Less beans and more sauce in the tin. Next time you buy washing powder see how far down from the top of the box the powder is. Ditto baby formula and dishwasher tablets.

  8. Its time to insist that the Mega Supermarkets publish all Irish Sales Revenue and Profitability

  9. SMOKEY

    They work on roughly a 38% margain as far as I can tell. Figure it out.

  10. [...] the only economic measurement that seems to matter to elected Irish politicians – is “an accounting residual“. It is not the economy, it is the cups in the sink, the bottles on the counter and the bin [...]

  11. michaelcoughlan

    Hi,

    There are two aspects to this article that need to be considered to create context. They are; Author and content.

    First of all the narrative coming from the author indicates a maturity in understanding of how the real politick of a society blends into economic realities which is refreshing as some of the articles of yesteryear were hopelessly naive in this regard. There is also the fact that your conclusion ends definitively on this occasion with a clear statement as to how you think your analysis will affect the economy and politics of the situation. This is also refreshing as many of your articles end without nailing your colours to the mast leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions.

    Secondly; Content. Your analysis on inflation is flawed because you are relying on official figures to construct your hypothesis. In an unmerciful shithole like Ireland this is hopelessly naive. REAL INFALTION IS BETWEEN 5% to 10% as identified by you when you posted your article about the time you met your mate on public transport and he was bitching about the rise in price of his monthly ticket. From this point on I will use bullets points to highlight as I see it inaccuracies (doesn’t mean I’m right) in the article.

    • “All the main Irish parties believe in the same economic orthodoxy” Really? What they believe in is keeping the financial terrorists in Europe sweet to keep the European money transfers coming in Ireland’s direction. Like Cuba, if Ireland has to extinguish the whole private sector to ensure the gravy train from a bigger player (in Ireland’s case Europe) then so long as Europe keeps the gravy train rolling then THAT’S WHAT THE IRIRSH POLITICANS WILL DO. THEY DON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT ECONONOMIC POLICIES STANDARD OR NOT.

    • “Remember, it was economic orthodoxy that got us into this mess” Really? What got us into this mess was Bertie’s lieutenants on the board of the financial regulator stopped Mr. Neary from doing his job and kept the money spigots open. Bertie was able to tighten his grip on power because he cleaned up on votes during the artificial boom.

    • A politician’s fate is controlled by the economy? Really? A politician’s fate is controlled by the establishment for example; Eamon Gimmiemore is being lined up for a 250k job in Europe for shafting his own electoral base to suit the agenda of the people handing him his 250k job. Hence the moniker; Gimmmmmieeeeeeeee Mooooooooooooorrrrrrrreeeeeee!
    • “Amazingly, Irish politicians and the civil service have maneuvered themselves into a position where the acid test for success or failure is whether the budget deficit goes up or down” Why are you amazed? As the deficit goes down there is a better chance the European banks will get their loans repaid. The politicians an civil service depend for their salaries on the European transfers and will be DELIGHTED to see so many people emigrate as its means less money to be spent on social welfare and more certainty that the banks will be repaid ensuring their jobs are secure.

    • The REAL reason people feel poorer is because of increased taxes, SOARING Inflation, and pay cuts have reduced their PURCHASING POWER which is a far more important consideration than a wage level itself and not for any other reason. Remember wage levels only apply to those with an INCOME .

    • Jobs growth is a nonsense indicator. If the total national income as an aggregate is failing even thought more people are working for smaller wages then rising “employment” levels are a reflection of how TOTALLY FUCKED a society is. Example; There were many SLAVE LABOURERS employed building all manner of buildings by the Nazis during the war. The Nazi’s worked them to death to save the cost of transporting them back to Germany. Imagine if Michael O’Leary could shoot the thousands of Latvian and Lithuanian teenagers at the end of their contracts, contracts which are designed to be terminated before their rights kick in? He could save himself the cost of flying them back to their respective countries.

    • Consumer sentiment is what’s driving the Dublin economy. House prices are being driven mad by cash rich buyers who can buy and hold. House prices are not driving consumer sentiment.

    Hope this helps David.

    Regards,

    Michael.

    • michaelcoughlan

      “Jobs growth is a nonsense indicator”

      Example. Aer Lingus rank and file staffs say 1000 of them go on strike to secure their pay and working conditions. Michael O’Leary kicks off that they are not pilots and should be f*cked over. Let’s just say he gets his way and they are reduced to min wage zero hour contract workers on part time positions.

      So previously you had 1000 works now you have 2000 (part time) workers doing the same work on 20hr contracts. The cun*s in the Fail Eireann wax lyrical about “Jobs growth” O’Leary has an orgasm and another 1000 families have their purchasing power reduced with the enormous damage to the families themselves not to mention local economies all over the place due to the reduction in the velocity of capital.

      Meanwhile cu*t O’Leary puts the extra profit into a commodities ETF which drives up the price of food for the same families whose purchasing power has been reduced.

      Totally twisted isn’t it?

  12. [...] full article at source:[embed]http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2014/06/03/property-here-we-go-again[/embed] [...]

  13. Roche

    The true value of an asset is what people are willing to pay for it. Unfortuantely Irish consumers are being all too easily manipulated again. I have lived abroad for 10 years and watching the income disparity, continued corruption, forced emmigration, and economic delusion is both frustrating and sad. Without competence & accountability in government Ireland is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    Sweeping statements:

    Ireland has a housing shortage yet it’s full of ghost estates.
    Ireland has record levels of homeless despite NAMA asset ghost estates.
    Ireland rewards you to turn down work in favor of social welfare.
    Ireland punishes job creators with no social welfare safety net.
    Ireland suffers from escalating drugs & violence yet Gardai are cutback.
    Ireland has holds no politicians accountable for proven corruption.
    Ireland does not eduacate students on personal finance and economics.
    Ireland has a political system of teachers and dynasties, not experience.
    Ireland has a national media that is afraid to tackle the establishment.

    Rant.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi,

      Value and price are different things. They are also different things to different people.

      respectfully,

      Michael.

  14. In the first paragraph you describe politicians who have been in the media recently as been ‘mostly well intentioned’

    I totally disagree.

    I think that most of the politicians in both the current government and main ‘opposition’ are Anti Worker and serve only themselves and their corporate and banking masters who have developed a corrupt system to legalize bribes in such away that they are not breaking any legal law, instead they pay them grossly over fattened wages and pensions.

    These politicians and the corporate media which defend them disgust me as do most journalists.

  15. I should add that the remainder of the article is both informing and accurate.

  16. Deco

    On TV3 one evening, they were asling Ming about his canvassing. He outlined how he had met people across 15 counties who were in business and who were struggling.

    And he suggested that this was a better measure of the economy than any of the nonsense from the ESRI. He stated that the ESRI should go and meet the people and they might learn something about the economy. Ming is 100% correct.

    What Ming is saying is reflected in the article above, and also in the blog commentary from Constantin Gurdgiev. The statistics that are being measured have less and less influence to ordinary people’s lives. In fact due to the structure of the Irish economy, the ESRI statistics really have bugger all relevance to participants in the economy.

    Effectively, the ESRI is now a propaganda unit, a bit like the national broadcasting quango – which also specialises in telling us how things are (when we do not need the expense of having our intelligence insulted).

    The “growth” in the Irish economy is a statistical achievement, heavily loaded with such factors as transfer pricing, comparative tax rates, R&D credits, depreciation rates, and patent costing.

    The actual condition of the employees in the firms that operate, and in the small business owners is completely disconnected with the official commentary from the ESRI.

    So let’s do the decent thing – let’s privatize the ESRI. Can a buyer be found ? Because they have no relevance to the public interest anymore. And maybe other jokers like RTE might also follow. At least it would help bring down the national cost base, and reduce the cost of living for people who are driven off their wits end withe nonsense from quangos and other daft elements from the oversized, largesse loaded, institutional state.

  17. Deco

    Until we tackle the issue of housing density in Suburban Dublin, and the manner in which it drives up property prices, this saga will just get repeated, again and again.

    And still NOBODY is prepared to talk about the issue in public.

  18. Bamboo

    I am glad to hear that the ESRI is now taken with a grain of salt. It is about time we realize that the ESRI doesn’t have sufficient data to make a good story. Daft.ie is another joke that we should be aware of.

  19. So this morning I read this.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/technology/value-of-ireland-s-digital-economy-set-to-soar-1.1820769

    Which appears to be entirely underpinned by the following statement:
    The growth of the sector will be fuelled by a rise in consumer spending, which accounts for about 60 per cent of the overall 2020 value estimate.

    Which one is left to assume will, in turn, be fuelled by the froth of a property boom. Encouraging businesses to conduct more transactions online doesn’t necessarily increase people willingness to increase their spending. Your right David, the propaganda war has started it seems.

  20. Ah the Government. It can fix everything. If only there was a regulation.
    the trouble is the government is not doing its job.
    Why if only we had the right government everything would be fine.
    this government is too small we need a bigger one.

    When o when are the dependent minds going to free themselves of government control?

    Has it not crossed your feeble brains that governments are the causes of the problem and not the solution. On course not. Here is a country ruled by a foreign government for 800 years that could not wait to throw it all away and be swallowed in the EU with the ECB and the ECM.

    Next will be a demand for a one world government.

    Poverty, grinding poverty will be the result.

    Time to throw out government, restore self reliance and replace dependency.

  21. EugeneN

    At the present rate of growth Dublin’s property will be back to boom time levels in 2 years, and twice as expensive in 5, then four times as expensive in 8.

    Thats the nature of super exponential growth. And 25%-30% is exponential.

    The “soft landing” people are hoping that mortgage lending will increase, as supply increases ( as of course it will if there is a buck to be made, and the construction sector is responding even now). However retail mortgage rates are high by the standards of the boom – already the average 340K house in Dublin can only be bought outright by somebody, or a couple, with about 100K in earnings. The cost of servicing that is about the same as a house bought for 500K in the boom.

    Thats the average price. Thats not the average wage.

    So affordability is back to where it was. And if you remember what happened: it wasn’t just lehmans ( although that spooked people), it wasn’t the credit crunch ( that came later) it was a first time buyers strike, after a slowdown, which accelerated… and the rest is history.

    At the moment the limited supply is being hoovered up by cash ( nearly all local cash, too, despite what the Estate Agents will try and convince you). And houses are unaffordable by ordinary people again. Now if the prices are to continue to rise one of two things have to happen.

    1) Cash buyers have to pony up 25% increases every year on increasing supply. Which is at its lowest now. Or…
    2) Prices rise towards the boom levels, the banks start to lend at boom time levels to people who are looking for mostly 90%+ mortgages. Therefore retail interest rates have to fall. However if prices rise banks will have the opportunity to repossess the hopeless cases – remember that we have the highest level of arrears in history. Once people are out of negative equity that becomes a no brainer, as they are saved from their debt and can start again.

    2) is clearly a non-runner. It has it’s own brake mechanism.

    1) would require massive cash injections. if supply doubled ( which would mean tiny increases in and prices rose by 30%) cash needs to pony up increases of about 160%.

    In any case there can be no soft landing here, no more than there could be in 2008.

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