The property market is like Groundhog Day without the gags. It’s an eternal, infernal cycle where people buy piles of bricks and mortar, either to live in or to charge others for the privilege. The value of these bricks subsequently soars off into the troposphere, or plummets to the very centre of earth’s molten core. Bystanders must then either celebrate or commiserate, as the news reports bang sonorously and portentously on about this situation being either really, really bad or very, very good.
Meanwhile, tenants watch helplessly from the sidelines, wondering how this will affect their lives, hearing talk of something mythical called Capital Gains Tax which may (or may not) compel their landlord, aka the de facto owner of their immortal soul to sell up or hang onto their investment. This means they are either homeless or housed – either really. It’s all so tenuous and fanciful.
Astonishingly, the Housing Minster no longer sits on the cabinet, and something which sent the economy spiralling into disaster like a vast tornado devouring public funds, forcing thousands out onto the street as novice landlords went bankrupt, forcing the state to take steps to stem the first run on a bank in hundreds of years, is regarded as an distraction, not a vital economic, or a basic human need, namely: a safe home and security of tenure.
Sometimes I wonder if I am engaged in my own life: or am I at the mercy of a huge game of piggy-in-the-middle crossed with monopoly, with giants flipping coins and throwing rubber balls over our heads to decide where ordinary people will get to live, and for how long they can stay. I want a home, a permanent home. I do not want to live in a piggy bank, but once again, I am.
What’s bought this on? Well, commercial property is cranking up for a new boom, with mothballed sites being reactivated. Buy-let-mortgages are back on offer and soon, building will begin again.
Again. And again. Which means: speculative short term investment in shabby, toy-town new build dovecot, with the private rental sector entrusted with housing us all, and no improved regulation of letting agents, building standards and no end to the dire renting culture here in the UK, with renters hanging on the end of fraying rope, with landlords and letting agents tugging furiously at the other end.
I suppose the saturation of one or two bed flats might help us still, as landlords are desperate to rent, and anyone who bought in the recent ‘fire sales’ might not expect to crank up the rent to cover an extortionate mortgage with a gifted deposit.
Except – except… that’s all staring to happen again – soon we’ll see re-animated Inside Track staffers staggering around like zombies, promising vast inflated profits before eating neophyte investors and saving the best part (their beating heart) for last.
Have we learned from the recent past? No. We didn’t. And so it goes - around and around we spin, back on the speeding hazardous carousel again…and again.