Hur­ray, it’s a re­ces­sion — let the bad times roll

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

OVER THE past seven years or so I have be­come quite a big fan of my lo­cal pa­per. In fact, read­ing it has be­come an es­sen­tial part of my week­end morn­ing rou­tine — along with scream­ing at the chil­dren not to jump from the cof­fee ta­ble on to the sofa, re­triev­ing halfeaten jam sand­wiches from be­hind cush­ions and emp­ty­ing the potty.

My de­vo­tion to the En­field Ad­ver­tiser has noth­ing to do with the qual­ity of the jour­nal­ism, though if you en­joy a good story about re­cy­cling-bin thefts and li­brary re­lo­ca­tion sub-com­mit­tee meet­ings, then I can thor­oughly rec­om­mend it.

No, the rea­son I study the pa­per is to scan the prop­erty pages to work out how much my house has risen in value in the pre­vi­ous seven days. It has been a par­tic­u­larly grat­i­fy­ing process. The house has so far earned me a quar­ter of a mil­lion pounds while I have been busy re­cov­er­ing socks from inside the DVD player.

Un­for­tu­nately it looks like my house, hav­ing earned all that money for me, is go­ing to lose it again. It’s not that it is a spenda­holic or has got into bad com­pany — it’s a pretty solid sort of a prop­erty, even if it does come from slightly the wrong side of the tracks.

The prob­lem is the credit crunch. This is not a new thing for me — my credit was crunched some un­em­ploy­ment and thou­sands of re­pos­ses­sions. But re­ces­sions don’t have to be bad news. In fact, the last two slumps have co­in­cided with par­tic­u­larly good times in my life. I re­mem­ber the great re­ces­sion of the 1980s with par­tic­u­lar fond­ness. I was a stu­dent at Leeds Univer­sity with­out a great deal of money — but then nor did any­one else, so prices at Mor­risons were at rock bot­tom and beer was cheap. Plus, stu­dents could sign on in the sum­mer in those days, so we didn’t have to get vacation jobs — and see­ing as no one else had a job ei­ther I didn’t even need to feel bad about laz­ing in front of the telly watch­ing the cricket the whole sum­mer.

The next re­ces­sion was just as much fun. All my friends were un­en­cum­bered with mort­gages and rents were low. Plus, all of a sud­den, you could af­ford to buy a prop­erty wher­ever you wanted. A young col­league bought a flat in St John’s Wood and a friend pur­chased a rather nice place with a roof ter­race in Is­ling­ton. I thought long and hard about buy­ing a two-bed­room place in Crouch End be­fore de­cid­ing that the area would never amount to any­thing. So I headed off to Is­rael for a cou­ple of years in­stead.

By the time I came back, we were back in an eco­nomic boom — the good times were over. Now it looks like they could be com­ing back. So tighten your belts ev­ery­one, let’s en­joy the ride.

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