Recession? I’m really looking forward to it
ISAW A story on the news last night about how for the first time in years there had been a marginal drop in house prices. But why, I wondered was this story being delivered in the grave tone reserved for the death of the Queen Mother or the discovery of foot and mouth disease in the entire national flock?
Surely, people should be jumping for joy. After all, millions are unable to afford a house. The price of a fourbedroomed detached house in 1992 wouldn’t buy a top-floor flat in a high-rise council block overlooking a landfill site on the outskirts of Grimsby today.
These days, most people have a property which is worth several times what they paid for it and their children are finding it virtually impossible to get a foot on the housing ladder.
So what is everyone scared of? As far as I can make out, the very worst that can happen is that the slight correction in housing prices turns into a major housing slump, triggering off a huge rise in repossessions, a massive increase in unemployment and ultimately global recession.
I’m not so sure that would be such a bad thing. I have plenty of equity in my house so unless prices were to plunge 400 per cent I could still sell for a profit. I might even get the opportunity to move to the slightly fancier end of Palmers Green. Sure, some innocent family will be kicked on to the streets by the bailiffs to accommodate me, but, hey, it’s a harsh world out there.
Of course, I wouldn’t want to be one of those queueing up at the Job Centre. But journalism is usually one of the few growth areas in a recession. People want to read about how bad things are getting. Then there are all those green-shoots-of-recovery pieces when everyone is really depressed. And if all else fails, what people really crave is a little escapism in the manner of a silly column to read after Shabbat dinner.
And anyway, speaking as someone who remembers the last great recession in the early ’90s, it wasn’t so bad anyway. I might have had holes in my Levi 501s and a leak in my Doc Martens but, believe me, life were grand in them days.
For instance, I remember wandering down to Crouch End, in North London, in 1992 to see about buying a flat. Estate agents were hovering outside their offices attempting to lure me in with the prospect of a ridiculously cheap properties. The area was bound to come up they said. Next time, I will believe them.
Some things were the same of course. England were a year away from not qualifying for the World Cup, the country was being governed rather shakily by someone who had recently taken over from a long-term Prime Minister and the Chancellor had, erm, grey hair.
I’m looking forward to Black Wednesday mark two. With a bit of luck I will manoeuvre myself on to the trading floor and be the next George Soros. Meanwhile, as house prices hit the floor I will be on hand to hoover up all those repossessed mansions so as to turn myself into a hugely wealthy landlord.
And if all the factories close down, carbon emissions will drop, everyone will stop worrying about global warming and there might even be something more interesting to watch on the news.
Anyway, better go. I’ve got to find a rave to go to tomorrow night.