Saturday, 24 March 2007

More delusional housing market analysis from the media

They are still at it; talking the market up. The media - both print and broadcasting - have been central to the UK bubble. Here is a typical example of the rubbish presented as series analysis. On this occasion, it is from the Times, but in practice, every media outlet is guilty.

My favourite paragraph is:

The first retreat, ...... will be from modish investors in buy-to-let (and buy-to-sit, in which owners want only capital gains and need not fill their properties with tenants). These buyers, who often compete directly with beleaguered first-time buyers, have been seduced by the prospect of capital gains and have piled in without thought for surviving the current market cycle of lessening capital appreciation and higher costs

This might bode ill for continued higher (housing) prices, but Davis maintains that significant, healthier, demand will remain. The flood of foreign buyers into the UK continues to bolster the market in London. Yet overseas capital is tentatively relocating to the more picturesque of regional areas. This foreign cash is, he says, a more stable presence in the UK market, motivated as it is mainly by the purchase of a home as a home, rather than as a creator of profit.

What does this mean? While conceding that local demand will falter, house prices will be sustained by a "flood" of foreign buyers, "tentatively relocating to the more picturesque regional areas". So be assured UK housing speculators, the Russian oil oligarchs will keep the market up, just as every young first time buyer in the country will be priced out of the market.

This thinking is so upside down. Apparently, it is the local buyer, who is motivated by a desire for profit, while the foreign buyer simply wants a place to live. Just ask one simple question, how many foreigners will the UK market need to keep prices going up beyond where they are now?

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