House Prices

Friday 18th February, 2005
In the UK, although I'm sure this applies worldwide, house prices are soaring. Even a starter home now is getting ridiculously priced and property pricing has gone up many times faster than general inflation.

- Some people blame interest rates, low interest rates allow people to borrow more and pay more for houses. This increases prices.

- Some people blame employment - as people get more and better jobs they can spend more on house. House prices increase.

- Some people blame the government - after all, they're to blame for everything...apparently.

Personally (and don't shoot me for this straight away, hear me out) I blame women! Not just any women, but modern women. Please note this is all observation and not criticism.

Back in the days when our parents were starting off down the road to families and marriage there was one breadwinner in the household, the husband or father. Women traditionally stayed at home and were housewives, looking after the house and kids.

With one income in the household, high interest rates and 2.4 children disposable income was very low and people just couldn't afford expensive housing. Vast developments of ordinary priced detached and semi-detached housing were built to satisfy this demand.

Then society changed -  women went back to work, left their kids with childminders and started getting paid a fairer wage for their jobs. Suddenly the traditional households had two incomes almost double the spending power. Suddenly, just by going back to work, women (who, let's face it, love the property pages more than guys) could have that home of their dreams and a maid to clean it.

It's now pretty much the norm for a family to have both parents working and, unsurprisingly, house prices have been pushed up as a result. High income single professionals have been pushed down into the lower priced housing, treading on the toes of first time buyers and leaving those at the bottom of the market with nothing to buy.

To put this into perspective, I started my first job on an IT Helpdesk around 8years ago earning £14k. My disposable income wasn't great but, after a year in this job and still only earning around £15k I managed to purchase my first home at the age of 21. £58,000 it cost for a one-bedroom maisonette, with a small front garden and a garage. Not cheap, but the mortgage I needed to purchase it was affordable with an outlay of around £400/month.

Now, 8years down the line, that property is now worth around £140,000, to a first time buyer a mortgage of over £1,000 a month and a likely £7,000 deposit required. And what does a Helpdesk analyst in my areas earn now...£16.5k. What the hell are these guys supposed to do? Graduates and school leavers are getting that first job, earning what was a decent wage and they're not even going to smell a house for years to come, dependant on their parents home. The mortgage on a first-time buyer's property is more than their entire monthly take home.

Now, I'm not against society change and equal rights for women etc. but I just don't see a solution here whichever angle of politics I look at. Women who want a family are having to return to work whether they want to or not just to afford a family home. Those who don't have any skills or who don't want to leave their children with someone else are making a living as child-minders. The government is now handing out benefits for child-minding to those who choose to go back to work.

Is it just me, or is the future a bit bleak?

Comments/Trackbacks [6]