Polly Toynbee has a good piece up at CiF today, arguing that our economy’s been too long dependent on property values:
The nation is still deeply dependent on house prices rising for ever. We still live in a bubble economy, with no way to live except by reinflating it. The state itself has been mainlining on the house-price drug, as addicted as the happy home-owners.
As Kammo pointed out – although I can’t find the exact article – it is ridiculous to assume that falling house prices are in and of themselves a bad thing. In fact it can be good because falling prices allow young people to get on the ladder. During the boom years I was hard pressed to find acquaintances who could afford to rent, let alone buy. And the buy-to-let scum will be hammered and that is good.
Another pertinent question is: why is everyone in this country so obsessed with buying a home? Much of our news and cultural output is devoted to it in some way. I was talking to a student from Germany the other night, and she said that her country doesn’t share the British home-ownership neuroses. Apparently, people just rent most of their lives, and buy when they retire.
I think that’s a better way than our total identification with a single property – the idea of paying half my salary to a mortgage company for twenty years, and being tied to a specific place for decades, gives me the horrors. As Kerouac said, the one and only function is to move.
(Thanks to Hackademic for the image)