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House price sympathy failure

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Jul. 11th, 2008 | 08:58 pm

I'm sure that there are some properly tragic stories regarding house prices falling, despite what sneery communists such as myself think about it being a good thing, but I have to say that it seems like the media, if anything, are taking the piss out of the issue with the examples they pick.

Take this one in the Mail for instance. The woman concerned's husband died - okay, yes, that's not good, that part is sympathetic. She did however have a six-bedroom house, which was sold to buy a smaller one costing four hundred grand, the difference being spent on kitchens and decor work and so on. Now, eight years later, she's running out of money apparently and wants to sell this house and move somewhere else.

The rest of the article is about her terrible terrible trials trying to make a profit on the sale of her current property. Her financial problems seem to be pretty much down to only earning 1500 a month in her part time job but having three children in private schools, spending six grand a year on petrol, that sort of thing. She will have to sell her BMW now! Saints preserve us, it's like the Great Depression.

I'm just really not sure where I am supposed to be sympathetic here. As a matter of social justice, someone with three kids should be able to educate them properly, and everyone should be able to feed and house themselves and their family, fine. But that isn't the point of the article, the point is the awful injustice that house prices have gone down so much that she's now not able to make a huge profit on selling a house to stave off her living beyond her means for a bit longer, and might have to deal with things like everybody else has to.

It's not mentioned that perhaps having a two-tier education system might be a basic problem, and that a system of proper comprehensive education might help. This is the Mail after all. It's not mentioned that actually, somebody who still has half a million pounds of assets is doing quite a bit better than a lot of widows who have to look after kids. And, you know, eight years, fifteen hundred quid a month, three kids public school BMW what are you thinking?

All the stories in the press seem to be like this or worse (usually "buy-to-let speculator gets burnt" - oh dear) and you know, I do try, I'm not a nasty person, but I just... can't... stretch... far... enough... to... care.

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Comments {10}

RATELS!!!!

(no subject)

from: mordantcarnival
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
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Daily Fail = full of whiny rich people. Film at 11.

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fridgemagnet

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
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They're all at it though, the Times, the Guardian, the Indie... it's almost as if they were all written by and for aspirational neo-liberal materialists.

Oh, wait.

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Monument

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from: marnanel
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
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Daily Mail: "WORLDWIDE PEOPLE'S REVOLUTION GUILLOTINES THE RICH IN PARLIAMENT SQUARE. HOW WILL THIS AFFECT HOUSE PRICES?"

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Teresa

(no subject)

from: bravencrazy
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
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You should see the stories in the American papers and real estate blogs, like this gem about a woman in Pennsylvania who bought a house she clearly couldn't afford (not because of the price, but because of all the repairs it needed), and now blames the mortgage company for "push marketing" that, she claims, forced her into taking out loans she admits she could not understand.

Now, I'm no fan of Countywide Home Loans. They're arguably the biggest crooks out there, poised to be the next Enron. But the bottom line is that no one held a gun to this idiot's head and FORCED her to take out all those loans. She could have said NO and lived within her means.

When we bought our house in 2006, the mortgage broker tried to talk us into an option ARM loan that would have ended up exploding in our faces. But we did something really novel...We told him NO and insisted on a fixed-rate. If he hadn't been willing to sell us a fixed, we'd have gone to another broker. They're a dime a dozen.

And there's nothing communist about realizing that housing prices falling is a good thing. It IS a good thing. Housing prices rose above the levels where buyers could afford them...at least without taking out crazy Banana Republic loans. Now that all of those loans have gone bad, banks have stopped making them, and housing prices are falling. They will continue to fall until they reach a level that is affordable to most buyers once again. This means that people who were priced out of the market during the bubble will be able to purchase homes in the next few years.

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The Princess of Id

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from: danaseilhan
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
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Yep, yep, and yep. Except it's Countrywide.

I got caught with my pants down with a mortgage years before this blowup started. It was because my husband got in trouble with the Army, got reduced to E-1, and went to Fort Knox for about a year. (Their minimum security prison is there. Or whatever their equivalent is.) The trouble was that we bought instead of renting, not that someone granted us a mortgage; I never once thought about blaming the bank.

But this class of people, and I mean the ones like Fridge mentions, not your example--this class of people are the ones who can't stand for anything to get in the way of their Visible Status Symbol lives. They're the ones who bitch about taxes punishing the rich, they're the ones who bitch about welfare being unfair because nobody is giving THEM free food and medical care, by gosh darn. The fact that both the food and the medical care are substandard because all that bitching leads to funding cuts from vote-hungry politicians completely escapes them. So does the fact that our current tax system barely scratches the surface of the real wealth in this country. Nope, these yahoos want every extra penny of income they can get to keep buying expensive crap. It seems to completely escape their notice that they'd have plenty of money for buying crap if they'd... quit buying crap. Odd, that.

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The Princess of Id

(no subject)

from: danaseilhan
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and I was lucky with my mortgage--my name was not on the particular document necessary for them to stick me with the foreclosure. My husband's, however, was. Which suited me just fine, between his turning himself into a felon and the way he'd helped me run up my credit card but wasn't going to help me pay it off. Sometimes Fate smiles on you even as she's administering a rather large clue-by-four to the back of your head.

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The Princess of Id

(no subject)

from: danaseilhan
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
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A comprehensive one-tier educational system can be overrated. Just ask us. *puke*

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Pallas

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from: pallasathene8
date: Jul. 11th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
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Heh heh heh.

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lilyvalley

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from: lilyvalley
date: Jul. 12th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
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Well-off people losing some of their discretionary spending money is more dreadful/shocking/horrifying than low-wage workers losing their grocery money. Because...see...this means it could happen to anyone! Even *gasp* people who drive BMWs and send their kids to private school! Horrors!

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(no subject)

from: ext_91743
date: Aug. 1st, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
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That read just like something out of a Catherine Tate sketch. Poor things. I would recommend that the lady in question reads 'Sense and Sensibility', and starts trying to pimp her daughters out to the nearest available rich, ageing colonel with a sad story of heartbreak and a thing about girls half his age. And make sure the older one marries a vicar - they'll be poor but happy, and at least they'll get a nice rectory for free where they can raise and slaughter their own pigs and chickens. She'll like that - Very Hugh F-W.

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