corbynQtimeCorbyn’s first job as Labour leader: ask Cameron why, in booming Britain, the property market has halved since 2008…and the personal debt crisis is out of control

The Maily Torygraph is in good form this morning, drivelling blather that suggests ‘house prices in major cities are on track for double digit growth this year as London sets “new highs for prices and affordability”‘. But as we know, these days if you’ve got enough money, the Smellygraph will write anything you want them to.

Property prices may be rising, but the Telegraph has missed out two rather important elements…as indeed do Dave and Little Osborne whenever they’re at the Despatch Box: first, the growth rate is slowing; and connected with this, the volume of sales has never gone anywhere near pre 2008 levels.

The BBC (which we must all hate because it is full of ghastly pinkoes) got closer to the truth when it ran this graph yesterday:

UKhouseprices28815It shows that the price growth on both major UK indices is running out of steam. UK house prices may have risen 3% over the last year, but this rate has slowed to the lowest since Summer 2013. The UK-wide rate is meaningless anyway, thanks to a massive North/South divide, and the craziness of London, the City State owned by Mayor Borisconi. In most regions where real people live, houses just aren’t selling.

Outside SE England and posh Scotland, prices are going up because of quality scarcity, not a boom. This was revealed for all to see by the HMRC’s property monitor a week ago. The real sea change occurred after the 2007/8 crisis. Neither volume nor confidence has, to be straightforward about it, ever returned….and that is, yet again, down to Looney Right policies that continue to spout neoliberal claptrap. The majority by far of Brits have falling wages, eroded benefits, and little or no job security.

Price growth is slowing because of those factors, but chiefly because the amount of quality volume just isn’t there.

The median volume of the UK property market in the years 2007-15 has halved from 160,000 sales to 80,000.

That is a fact and there’s no getting away from it: even with a slight recovery in confidence this year, the market volume remains 25-30% lower than it has traditionally been:


Conservative far Right neoliberal policies are taking us back to the Two Nations so eloquently described by Benjamin Disraeli 175 years ago. 80,000 metropolitan cosies are watching their properties go up in price: these will level off at least as we head towards what’s coming. But hidden in the data are the squeezed middle and lower orders…sitting tight and hoping for the best. And beneath them are those struggling to keep the bailiffs out.

This isn’t empty agitprop: many Britons today have no savings. Over a quarter of us have absolutely nothing put away for a rainy day, and nearly 60% have less than £1000 of savings….with the Government pushing pension dates back and back. What the Independent recently called ‘the silent crisis’ is distressingly well documented.

The unsecured debt stands at £6,454 per UK household – and this increases every month: £4bn has been added to this debt in 2015 alone….when the inflation rate is almost nil. The debt charity Money Advice Trust (MAT) said in a report yesterday that councils sent in the bailiffs to collect debts from households on 2.1 million occasions in 2014/15.

A week ago, the Financial Times noted that secured (mainly mortgage) debt is now ‘a serious concern among lenders’. Two days ago, the Prudential confirmed that there has been a 19% rise in debt problems beyond either secured or unsecured loans, relating mainly to rent arrears: such arrears across the social and private rented sector rose by an average of 28% in 2014/15.  And a staggering increase of 48% in rent-related debt in the private rented sector. (This sector contains ‘buy to let’, and the Chancellor’s way of helping with availability was to dump a near 100% tax on landlords…who are pulling out in large numbers – and so rents will rise further).

So the next time some Establishment Labour smoothie writes yet more misleading bile about Corbyn, I suggest you ask him or her why Labour did not hammer much harder on these issues last May.

Yesterday at The Slog: Universal suffrage has delivered us unto universal secrecy.


  1. From a friend who is an admission officer to an university,numbers are down and the Chinese have pulled back,perhaps all is well at the big guys.


  2. George Osborne may have made a faithful mistake, when he imposed the extra tax on the buy-to- let brigade.
    This segment of the electorate are mainly retired people attempting to stretch their retirement savings and the small time businessman trying to enhance income.
    Obviously income from savings deposits have been devastated by the low returns now available. The Govt promoted investment in this sector and have now pulled the carpet from under it.
    This will mean buy-to-let properties will flood the market and the Tory’s have shot themselves in the foot by alienating many of their core voting support. Chickens coming home to roost.


  3. This is a further example of government clamping down on enterprising ideas in their greedy rush for revenues. No one is allowed to innovate before being scrutinised, knobbled and handicapped.The so called right wing are accelerating our demise towards the gulag state where the indigenous population is ignored and the foreign immigrants are the unskilled serfs doing the governments bidding at ever senior positions, resulting in a spiral decline of national ability and wealth. Meanwhile the top heavy elites increase in size, viz House of Lords creating a further drag on any forward momentum.


  4. Speaking as someone who is trying to sell & buy. There is a real shortage of good quality homes on the market; people are just not moving. Second we’ve had several offers from people who then find they can’t get their planned mortgage because of the new strict lending criteria and the banks valuing down houses out of caution. Classic not-joined-up thinking from government. They seem to be doing everything to screw up the market.


  5. I think the main issue is that people seem to be under the illusion that George Osborne knows anything about economics, when you see him speak on TV he comes across as arrogant, ill informed and ideologically driven, if he understood then he would act differently.

    This man is so puppet like the strings often seem to be visible.


  6. BTL will flood the market. Good, the sooner some sense comes the better! Why should BTLs get the interest deduction subsidy when the home owner doesn’t?

    Look at the case of the brothers Ali and Mohammed, who each buy an identical semi in Hounslow, and rent it to each and get a tax deduction while Joe the plumber, next door, who owns his property but has a mortgage, gets nothing. No level playing field there.

    The sooner the deuctability of interest is removed from corporations too the better. Would remove the skew over equity.


  7. The hope for our children and grandchildren is that they may one day be able to afford to buy a home of their own without signing up to a lifetime of debt because of the ridiculous price of housing.
    The sooner this bubble bursts the better it will be for the vast majority of the UK population.
    Imagine a world where the cost of putting a roof over your head didn’t consume half of your monthly salary. You’d be able to spend your wages out in the real world, buying real things, contributing to the economy instead of just lining the pockets of another BTL landlord and paying their interest only mortgage.


  8. Sadly this view is probably more pragmatic. You have basically two possible trajectories for offspring 1) Try and set them up as the fittest rats in the race – ie in alignment with the ‘accepted’ system, good schooling, good degree from a good university in a marketable subject, then hopefully a job that pays enough to have a reasonable standard of living. OR 2) Teach your offspring to regard the current system as a hegemonic disease that sucks the life out of everything/everybody and learn to live outside of it with the skills to survive a systemic collapse and emerge fit and strong in the aftermath.

    This is a question of mindset – you could conceivably integrate both approaches but it would be a full time job, NO school in the state or private sector could cover the amount of material you’d need to assimilate.


  9. JW . another good article . Could you explain what you mean by neo conservative far-right policies . The one grip I’d have about the blog is that markets ( be they global or local) haven’t been anything near liberal since probably before the term neo-con existed . We have had lots of talk of fixing and rigging of markets ..surely this is the antithesis of ‘ liberal’ or even conservative policies ? We blame neo-liberal policies when we are in fact witnessing corporatism ..
    And if you think the UK housing market is struggling check out some towns in France ..eg Rouen .


  10. ‘liberal’ means essentially that government and regulatory bodies leave markets and corporations alone – so that free market economics can become the self regulating mechanism that will find inherent balance between supply, demand and prices.

    If you want more context I recommend you go to thoughtmaybe.com and watch ‘The Trap’ by Adam Curtis (all 3 parts)…


  11. Chilling and very hard to refute, Stockman tells it how it is. Those few who have accustomed themselves to treading the red carpet would do well to remember the significance of the hemorrhagic colour and how it has been achieved.


  12. The UK economy like Australia, Canada and the US are what I call soufflé economies that are propped up by non value add financial transactions that inflate GDP. Rentier zombie economies living on a constant stream of debt. Debt stops and the lights go off.


  13. BTL is a business . Business gets tax relief on interest. Why should this business be different. You get tax relief on pensions .Why . What’s the difference. BTL is for many a pension. The changes don’t affect the rich who have no mortgage. It affects the middle class as usual. I doubt there will be a flood of properties. Rents will rise to compensate as the underlying shortage of property has not been addressed and an increasing migrant population will keep demand high. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if Osborne back tracks on this one


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