UK property ‘news' of late has seemed, to me at least, to be a little lacklustre on the ‘news' front. Most stories being a confirmation of house prices going down from another lender, survey or what have you. But there have been some interesting tales dotted around...
We all know the story on the house prices, but today we learnt the full extent of unsold stock on estate agent books. The average number of unsold properties per surveyor is 85, a number that hasn't been reached since Febraury 1999, and it's a 40% jump since September of last year.
It might seem like the perfect time to get on the housing ladder, but as it has become harder to get a mortgage the young and eager are unable to help the market out. In fact, the average age of first time buyers hasn't really changed over 2006 and 2007, despite changes in the market. 33.5 years of age remains the stable average age of first time buyers, which is (perhaps bizarrely) six years later than the average age that women have thier first child.
It's also become apparent this week that people in England don't even need to pay for houses any more! It seems all you have to do to get a house for free is not pay your mortgage for 15 years and bobs your uncle, you're technically a squatter and the powers that be clear your debt. At least it worked out that nicely for Djabar Babai from Stockport, who only ever paid £40 towards the mortage of his £200,000 property. It's worth having a read of the full story over at The Daily Mail, if not just for the heated debated going on in the comments section. There's also a picture which shows that, for a man with no money to pay his mortgage, he drove a pretty nice car.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders are quick to mention that this case falls under the ‘do not try this at home' category and we shouldn't expect a ruling like this to be happening again. But it's always reassuring to know that somebody, somewhere managed to screw the system.