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.