Saturday, 29 March 2008

The express must be joking

I used to get angry with newspaper headlines pumping up the housing market. Articles that twisted the data were a particularly target for my anger.

More recently, I just got bored with the media commenting on the market. Besides, since August last year, every piece of economic data indicated that the show was over; prices are coming down. This is not a matter of conjecture or debate; it is a matter of empirical observation.

Today, the Express carried a headline - House Prices still on the rise. The paper was quoting the latest Nationwide housing data.

The latest figures from Britain’s largest building society show that they have soared by 47 per cent since 2003. The average value of a home has increased by 1.1 per cent in the year to the end of March, with the price of a typical house now £179,110 – which is £2,027 more than the same time last year.

These statements are all true; the 12-month increase is about 1.1 percent and since 2003, prices have increased 43 percent. However, prices have been fallen dramatically since October, and the Express chose not to report that much more compelling fact. The chart below shows exactly what is going on:

(click on the chart for a sharper image)

I don't blame the Express for producing this rubbish. It is only responding to demand, and Express readers desperately want to hear that the housing market is still ok. In fact, I think the journalist who wrote this piece - David Pilditch - is having a laugh at the expense of his readers. He gave a clue when he wrote:

Last night experts insisted the findings showed that fears of a major housing market crash are unfounded.

In the past, the temptation to pour scorn on such delusions would be too much. Now, I am more inclined to wink back and say, "of course, what ever you say".

The whole sentiment behind the bubble has dissipated. Even the Daily Express know this. prices are coming down, and the only thing left to do is sit back and enjoy the show.


Panos Konstantinidis said...

Prices are coming down. Do not listen to what the mainstream newspapers say.

House prices continue to fall in UK
Falling house prices become a reality

Anonymous said...


I just saw that front page this evening. I commented to my wife that this was precisely the lie that the bought-and-paid-for cut-n-paste mob are going to use (I was using your recent post with the month on month trend chart as the example of where I'd picked up the idea).

So yes, very funny that you warn of it and before the week is out the Express is playing ball.


traderboy said...

glad it's not just me marvelling at the newspapers...i practically burst out laughing when i saw that headline in the newsagent (disclaimer...have never and will never buy the Daily Express!).

they are either stupid, liers or so long buy-to-let they need to do all they can to hold it up!

Anonymous said...

The Daily Express is the last bastion of xenophobic Little Englanders. It is kept alive by advertisements for laxatives and stair lifts. The rag cannot afford to alienate its readership by telling them the property boom was a big lie.

Alice Cook said...


You are taking the Express far too seriously. The headline was a wry joke made at the expense of the BTL brigade.

People may take comfort from Express headlines, but just try to sell your house today, and reality will give you a hard smack in the face.

The UK housing bubble - it is so 2006.