Friday, 25 July 2014

Sluggish, bloated, uncomfortable?

UK house prices between 1975 and 2006 adjusted for inflation.
David Boyle's description of the UK economy as 'Constipated with [household] debt' appealed to me, because it sounded like a particularly apt description of a nation stuffed with an accumulated blockage of personal debt so huge that clearing it out is going to be a very painful and extremely messy process:
Creating debt is the way that banks create most of our money in circulation.  It is controversial, archaic and definitely not fit for purpose.  In fact, 60 per cent of the money in circulation started life as mortgages.

It is a sobering thought that, without the house price boom, we would have so little money that life would grind slowly to a halt.
Although I'd quibble with 'controversial' when the default description of rising property values is a "healthy" market, and house prices that aren't heading skywards like a homesick angel are usually described as either "flat" or "stagnating."

Boyle hints that he may go on to blog about proposals for reform, but you have to be pessimistic about the prospects for rational reform of a feeding frenzy driven by the sort of conceited, unteachable numpties who imagine that buying a house that's gone up in value by more or less the same ridiculous amount as all the other equivalent properties on the market is a sign of genius which confers unlimited bragging rights:
Another signal of an overheating property market is the drone of the dinner party bores who fail to realise that they are talking not about a smart investment that has done well for them, but about their homes - and that therefore they would have to pay the same premium to live somewhere else comparable.