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Having watched Real Story last night about the plight of first-time buyers in the UK, I thought it was a shame you offered only the views of an estate agent. Your website offers the balanced opinion of an independent economist who actually suggests the opposite of your so-called property expert. I would suggest that it was irresponsible for your expert to state "this house will double in value over a short period" to the young couple struggling to buy in Yorkshire. The fact is that nobody knows what will happen to the housing market. Last night's show was clearly a blatant advert for the UK estate agency industry.
The housing market in the UK is currently very uncertain and many economists are predicting that significant corrections are due over the next few years with house prices predicted to decline significantly. Your programme covered none of this and simply concentrated on encouraging potential first time buyers to take on debts. Your programme was completely one-sided, biased and highly irresponsible. I can only assume that the producer or people on the team have vested interests in trying to encourage more young people to become saddled with insurmountable debts. I am disgusted.
You didn't mention the fact that mortgage approvals have plummeted; you didn't mention the fact that it is almost certainly far cheaper to rent now than to buy (as the Economist has recently pointed out). Continuing with an unhealthy housing boom actually helps no-one.
The impression was given that now is an ideal time to get on the housing ladder. Never mind the fact that the house price to earning ratio is at one of its highest levels ever; that following a General Election interest rates are likely to rise again; that buy to let investors are getting desperate to sell properties now that prices are stagnant, returns on investment are poor and the letting market is in heavy oversupply.
Your property expert offering advice that the house she had chosen would double in value over a short period was extremely misleading and could have encouraged more young people to fall into debt and be caught in potential negative equity. Extremely irresponsible.
To suggest that somebody take on a loan of £180,000 with repayments greater than their monthly salary (via a parental guarantee) is clearly very risky advice in the current market. It is also the kind of foolish behaviour which has allowed house prices to rise to their present unsustainable levels. The show did not mention the possibility of price falls, despite the fact that many economists and market commentators are predicting such an outcome.
Is the BBC in cahoots with the government in an attempt to encourage reluctant first time buyers back into the market?
Shame on you.
It's not only the young that can't afford a first time home. I'm 43, single and stand no chance at all of buying a home as a single man on a low income in the South East. And the rental prices local to me are £700 and over for a two-bed house.
Mark Ramsey, England
The programme was totally one-sided. Suggesting to one young man that he should consider borrowing £180,000 (with his parents as guarantors) - the repayments on which would cost his total monthly wage - was scandalous. If he acts on this, I have little doubt that he will be financially ruined in the foreseeable future. Barbara Goldsmith's suggestion that a house in Yorkshire for sale at £92,000 "will double in value in a short space of time" was wrong. What happened to the economist who was advertised on your website as putting an alternative view?
Mr C Mechan,
I had to laugh or I would have cried at the comment by Richard Arundel about expecting only the high end of the property market to fall. My husband & I remember only too well buying a two-bed starter home in idyllic St. Neots, Cambs in Nov 1987. We paid £66,500, borrowing a 10% deposit from parents. We feared that if we didn't buy then we'd never be able to. We didn't really expect it to go up in price but although I read the financial press at the time I don't remember reading anything other than the conventional wisdom of "price rises will slow to the rate of inflation." What happened? Over the next two years our house fell a third in value. We watched the prices other similar houses sold for, in dismay. National annual averages statistics are meaningless. They hide peaks, troughs and regional variations.
The interest rate rises crippled us and led to a spew of cutbacks in each of our employers. We were lucky - as young professionals we put our heads down worked even longer hours and got salary increases instead of redundancy. We lived frugally and saved our way out of the negative equity in five years. Selling for £43,000, we could finally relocate nearer to better jobs and traded up at the bottom of the market to something we could start a family in. We sold it in 1987 at a 60% profit and moved to the USA where our current house shot up in price, too, but not at quite the percentages in the UK. As for me, I can look back on those hard, miserable times and think that enduring the hardship together helped us build a strong foundation for our marriage. But that's just my story!
I live in Brighton in Sussex. I have a wife and a kid. Come down here and find a two-bed place for £120,000. You would not get a parking space for that.
I was expecting to see two contrasting views on the property market - instead I saw a vested interest talking up the market. What happens if she is wrong and now is not a good time for first- time buyers to get on the ladder? Don't you think it was dangerous giving such a one-sided view - especially with lots of young first-time buyers out there currently unsure what to do? What happened to the economist?
Before I tell you how I feel I would like you to know that I am only 15 years-old, going on16. I am currently in my last year at school and I am deeply concerned. Even though I am a young person, I hope you will respect the importance of this message as you would if were written by an adult. I watched your programme "Real Story" where you tried to help young adults get onto the property ladder. Well, it worries me that property prices have doubled in the last couple of years and it seriously worries me that in just a couple of years when I would like to buy a house that property prices could quadruple. Something must be done about it! It is unfair. I see articles in the newspapers all the time about increases in taxes and basically the price you have to pay to live in the UK. Maybe, you could interview or listen to the opinions of people my age because I am sure that I am not the only 15-16 year-old in britain who worries about this. Thankyou for your time.
I have just watched the latest Real Story about first- time buyers in the UK. The story is so close to my own situation I felt I needed to get in touch. I am 25 years-old and living in rented accomodation right now with my 23 year- old fiance. We recently went to see a mortgage advisor to find out exactly where we stand. The meeting was nerve-racking to say the least, due to the extortionate prices we are looking at to get that first step on the ladder. We are both in full time work and have a reasonable salary coming in, but we are only eligible for £90,000. I don't know if you've noticed house prices in the south recently but we would be lucky to get something with one bedroom, and that
doesn't include a parking space or maybe a small balcony to call our garden! We are left with having to try and share a house with other people as we don't really have an option to move in with any parents and save properly for a home of our own. The rental prices have also rocketed which leaves us in a bit of a rut. How does a young couple with their future on their minds get that first home, get married and start their life together? We are looking into renting with some friends, but I was house sharing when I was 18-22 and to be quite honest I want that space to call my own and maybe start a family. We have also considered buying abroad, but as your programme quite rightly pointed out this is not exactly a safe idea and it is wiser to try and buy here first. But where? I would like to keep my job and not have to think about up rooting and starting it all again. I'm glad you have made a programme on this subject. My fiance and I just cannot afford to live our lives and that's not supposed to happen until you are tied down with a mortgage and kids!
East Sussex, England
The government's Keyworker Housing Project has been around a few years now, and yet I still don't know of anyone who has got a home that way. I've been in the NHS for 18 years, over half that time in London, and I've seen the nurses' homes being sold off, and nurses moved out of the few existing flats to make way for the nurses from abroad who are the government's short-sighted solution to recruitment and retention. I first applied for keyworker housing in 2000, and am still waiting. I live in a canal boat, as do many other NHS workers in London.
I have just finished watching this evening's Real Story about first-time buyers. My partner and myself are in a similar position to the couple who had a budget of £90,000. No-one in their right mind would buy a bedsit for £87,000. How dare the estate agent say that first time buyers are just too picky? In Cornwall, we can't afford to buy a house in an area we don't want to live in, let alone one we do. The last thing first-time buyers need are people like her telling the world ridiculous things like that. I just can't tell you how angry I am.
Sir, the main reason that first- time buyers can't get on the property ladder is that spivs buy up all the affordable housing for buy to let!
Although the rest of the programme was informative and highlighted the problems of first-time buyers and the risks of buying abroad, Ms Goldsmith's sheer smugness and advice, such as buying in a less desirable area which may be totally inappropriate for people's work etc., left me with an extremely bitter taste in my mouth.
The reason poorer people cannot get onto the property ladder is because property developers are buying up the affordable houses, slapping on a bit of paint and making vast profits. The BBC has encourged this greed with the property developer shows. I am selling my house at a very fair price and would rather burn it down then sell to property delopers. They are the scum of modern society.
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