Britain has many problems, but the least explicable for me is the national obsession with house prices. The linked article is, when you think about it, really rather disgusting. Shelter is a basic human need, yet according to the Daily Telegraph the "best performing towns" are those in which shelter is being priced beyond peoples' reach at the rate of 24% and 22% a year.
When I asked my bank manager for a mortgage to buy my present humble base in Britain, he laughed at me. "We would lend you 8 times that" he told me. I remarked that, if he did, I would have no life. He said that, if that were so, most Britons with mortgages have no life. With that, I have to agree.
I simply don't understand why our quality of life is better if the price of apples or petrol falls, but worse if the same happens to houses. If my house (now paid for) were to fall in price, it would do me no harm. Similar houses would be available for what it would fetch. In fact my family would be better off. My children would have a better chance of a decent home without being driven by the need to service massive debts. They would have more cash available from their earnings for real investment. If they wanted to take the risks involved in starting their own businesses they could do it without being burdened by housing debt.
I am waiting for the penny to drop. Now that the value of ordinary houses puts people above the inheritance tax threshhold, surely they will realise that borrowing huge amounts of money to buy such houses (and paying back many times more than that, when interest is counted) is simply another way of giving money to the Government? My modest modern mid-terrace is perfectly comfortable and full of art, beautiful furniture and gadgets. There is a beautiful car in the tiny single garage (which I have to fold back the mirrors to slot in with millimetres to spare). My family have enjoyed holidays in fascinating places and we drink fine wine and eat superb food. My wife and I are making sensible provision for our old age. All of these things give more pleasure and more security (for all that - apart from the art and the pension fund- they are consumables) than sweating and straining to fill government coffers with 45% of the value of something that merely keeps the rain off our heads.
Grow up Britain! That house that is your pride and joy is the merely the shackle on the end of a chain that leads to the Treasury. Divide it into modest flats and sell the spare one(s) off. Buy art, fine wines or a Ferrari. Get yourselves a Patek Philippe or a Breguet. Travel the world or give it all to charity if you like. Whatever you do, for goodness sake, live a little before it's too late.