Well, I just got back from the UK after a quick trip to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. Following my sister's death this year I wanted to be there for my mom. Trudy came with me and Jeremy our son who was in the Marines till June. It was a wonderful time visiting my neice who had twins just before my sister died and my nephew as well. We also got in one day to do some sightseeing as well.
We watched the news whilst we were over there, it was liking watching the news here, prices for real estate are expected to drop by 25% in the next 18 months, banks are collapsing with depositors money being lost. Many of the same loan products used here found their way into the UK market as well and 100% mortgages were common. Not anymore as owners are evicted and house prices fall renting becomes an option for many if they can find a tenant to ride out the storm.
The system for buying and selling in the UK is very different to the States with long chains of buyers and sellers being created, if there is a problem at the lower end of the chain it is felt throughout and deals can fall apart at the last moment as money stops flowing up the chain. Sellers and buyers love homes not involved in chains. I have not saeen these problems in Pennsylvania but maybe elsewhere this can be a problem.
There is no MLS and each real state company owns the listing, it usually is not shared between agencies, there is no buyers agency although some American companies are trying to introduce it. The agent represents the seller and can offer you the listings they have, not those that belong to other agencies meaning to find a home you have to visit several agencies to make sure you know about everything. Very different to the States.