The market was working alright, but the banks are failing us....

Newspaper columnists who use their column to whinge about their own personal circumstances do slightly annoy me, but, even I, if I had a newspaper column would be using my experience of the last few days in the property market to whinge.

On Friday, a perfectly good property chain, where all the buyers and vendors had (finally) agreed a price, that they could all afford, and everyone was excited about moving up and on to new homes where they would find more space for their books/children/lives (delete where appropriate), fell apart.

It fell apart because the mortgage company surveyor re- or devalued my property by £50,000. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because he couldn't find anything comparable to have gone for that price in recent months. My feeling of the property market on that road is that nothing has gone for the last few months - every flat (comparable to mine) has come on and then quickly been taken off the market as they struggle to find buyers - all very strange for one of the most popular roads in the area that used to be littered to mailings from estate agents in the good old days.

So, say goodbye to the old axiom about the value of a house being what someone is prepared to pay for it!

Nowadays, not only do you have to find someone prepared to buy your house, but you have to make sure someone else has just done the same thing for the same prices before you - so really you need to find two buyers.

And if that's the case, I really don't understand how you are supposed to get an upturn in the market if you can only be valued at what the last house sold for or less.

Of course, it's no one's fault - not mine, not my buyer, not even the surveyor - who to be fair enough has to give some sort of evidence for his decision. In fact, from what I can gather the surveyor is as sorry about the whole thing as we are - well, nearly as sorry.

Of course, it would be easier if the banks were giving mortgages that didn't require a 25% deposit. A £50k reduction in our deposit means a £200k reduction in the mortgage we can take out - no matter that that mortgage is well below the standard income multiplier of 3 to 3.5! In one fell swoop they have made it pointless for us to move. And stopped 4 house sales going through. It's not just happening to me, the same thing happened to an old school friend of mine on Thursday.

So instead of being pioneers in the property market, we have decided to stick with this lovely flat that we live in, stick with our lifetime tracker mortgage rate of with a spread of just 1% (with no floor!!), instead of the 2.99% we would get for our new mortgage and get my partner's stuff out of storage, put a whole pile of other stuff on eBay to make room for it and buy some more bookshelves!!

We'll dig in and wait for the market to get more liquid - it was getting pretty hard to find a 3 or 4 bedroom house anyway - although the beautiful pick stucco Georgian number in Camberwell that we were going to move into probably won't be around when we next attempt to enter the market, but I feel sure that there'll be others!

But make no mistake - this is not about the market failing - we'd worked with the market and all agreed a deal - this is about the banks and their reluctance to lend, even though they have only survived with a big bailout from us, the taxpayer.

The problem is, they now all know they're invincible, that whatever they do, whatever mess they get into, they'll not suffer any of the downside of capitalism, only the good.


Left Lib said...
15 Jul 2009, 21:42:00

But surely it is because of the market that the banks are not lending...

Dominic Graham de Montrose said...
4 Aug 2009, 13:58:00

You say "Nowadays, not only do you have to find someone prepared to buy your house, but you have to make sure someone else has just done the same thing for the same prices before you - so really you need to find two buyers."

Unless I'm much mistaken you aren't selling your house, and therefore haven't found any buyers. That's why your mortgage provider looks for comparable purchases in order to value it.

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