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:

2UKhousevol28815

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.