This is the kind of chart that puts estate agents out of business. Housing transactions in the second quarter of this year were down 39 percent compared to the same period last year. That adds up to a lot of idle people in those high street agencies.
This chart also points to an interesting difference between the recent bubble and the one back in the late 1980s. Transactions volumes were much higher in the 1980s.This suggests, as the Americans might say "a lot more people had skin in the game" back then.
It confirms one thing I have always suspected about our recent bubble. There were insiders and and outsiders. Those on the inside - property owners - were a comparatively small group. Their access to housing equity allowed them into the playground, where they acted out their get-rich-quick fantasies with buy to let.
When the market was on the way up, it offered enormous profit opportunities to home owners. Outsiders, for example, young workers and renters, sat on the sidelines as their aspirations of home ownership were crushed by this stampede of greed. Now that prices are collapsing, the outsiders are still on the sidelines, watching as those same home owners are taking huge losses.
On final observation; housing transactions are still higher than back in 1995. Does this mean that transactions still have further to fall? Or does it mean that the credit crunch has merely taken the top off an unsustainable credit-driven speculative bubble. Or could it be both?