Here in the UK, today’s news has been chock-a-block with houses, houses, houses. We’re all potty about owning our own homes, due to (a) this being a small island with finite space upon which to build, and (b) the simple fact that over the past decade, house prices have soared out of reach for many of those who aren’t already on the property ladder.
As the credit crunch has started to bite, house prices have started to plummet. There are still lots of people tearing their hair out, but for different reasons now. Today our government announced that stamp duty would be axed for a year on all homes selling at £175,00 (about $330,000) or less. These are the lowest-priced homes – the first-time buyer places. Stamp duty is a unpopular tax that all homebuyers must pay the Treasury upon purchase. For lower-priced homes, it’s 1% of the purchase price. (Heck, our free healthcare has to come from somewhere!) The people who were complaining that the Government wasn’t doing enough to help first-time buyers are now complaining that the Government is encouraging first-time buyers to invest in a plummeting housing market. Sigh. Everyone’s gone a bit bananas.
The statisticians have gone a little crazy too. They are drawing up doom-laden graphs such as the one on this page, showing that the average house price has plummeted by 10.5% over the past year. Where I live, however, the prices have gone up by 2.5% during the same period. What gives?
Meanwhile, sitting on my bottom in my own modest dwelling, I’m dribbling – yet again – over my dream home. Here it is:
Isn’t it just divine? I can just picture the Thriftymobile parked out the front (cough). Look at those timbers, that thatched roof, that nice stripy lawn… It even has a stream running through the back garden. The house is located in a village a few miles from here, and went on the market a few weeks ago. It’s on for £750,00 (about $1,400,000). The brochure is here.
I’m such a saddo: unless I win the Lottery it isn’t going to be mine. But every week I get a tinge of pleasure when I open the property pages and it’s still there, unsnapped up. Oh yes: the local paper’s weekly property supplement is my Razzle.