Forget Covid-19 and Brexit. The question to which most people in the UK would want an uncertain answer is what will happen to house prices in 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many British people to look for the first time at their homes in a new light: as a place to live, rather than simply an investment.
The lockdown has served as a time of reflection on their home’s advantages and disadvantages and perhaps a reassessment of priorities.
While all eyes are on Italy, the world’s second-largest economy is showing signs of trouble. China, this curious mix of communism and capitalism, is running out of steam – and ideas. Unless the Chinese government finds new ways to stimulate its economy, it might find itself facing the world’s biggest revolution.
A statement from Halifax shares the “good” news: home prices paid by first-time buyers are the highest ever.
In the first half of this year, first-time buyers paid on average £207,693 for a home, the highest price on record. This is 4% higher than a year ago, and 50% higher than five years ago.
One of the main complaints of some of the “Leave” voters was that Britain is a “small island” and it is “full up.” Immigration “puts pressure” on local services such as hospitals and schools, but, most importantly, on local housing.
Even Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary, said immigration was putting pressure on the housing sector.
Intriguingly, however, it seems the kind of foreigner whom the UK government welcomes is the foreigner who buys homes but never lives in them – the foreign investor.
Many people hope that the UK Prime Minister’s rhetoric calling for a fairer society means she will address what is by far the biggest inequality in today’s Britain: the housing crisis. But a recent speech, in which she outlined her plan for Brexit, seems to indicate that she is unwilling to really tackle the issue.
The announcement by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Autumn Statement that letting agency fees charged on tenants will be banned has been met with cries of outrage from estate agents.
Their rage is in part justified. Lately, they have been asked to do much more administrative tasks than simply running credit referencing checks. They are also supposed to check immigration papers as well, to ensure that prospective tenants have the right to be in the country in the first place.
Perhaps in no other European country is the obsession with homeownership so entrenched as in Britain. The ambition to “get on the property ladder” underpins almost every young person’s dreams, pushing young people to make sacrifices to save for a deposit and then take on a big mortgage just to be able to say they own, rather than rent, their home.
But do they, in fact, own it? Increasingly, property ownership is becoming an illusion that makes people part with cash they can ill afford to spend.
In a recent speech, British Prime Minister David Cameron again slammed corruption and those who tolerate it, and called for global political leaders to talk more about the “cancer of corruption” and how to combat it.
By Antonia Oprita
Well, the (partial) results are in and the Conservatives have won one of the most uncertain elections in the UK.