Well, what do you know, Euroausterity champions? During the first ten months since Chancellor George Osborne put in place his Help to Buy scheme, which is a fancy slogan for an easy government credit line to patrons, more than 14,820 homes have been purchased, and some 4,600 new homes have been reserved. Ta-da, ladies and gentlemen over there at the miserly board of the European Central Bank, and so long to the Eurozone economies whose crunched liquidity has them tied to a precarious, edgy life –even if it is not the only reason.
The data comes from a research carried out by the largest stock market listed estate agent in the UK, Countrywide. The corporation says one in five homes built since last April have ended sold through the programme, a figure that shots up to more than 50% in northern England where the housing sector had fallen into a deeper recession than elsewhere. In London, a resilient spot, one in ten homes have seen contracts exchanged following the heavy but comforting hand of the state.
“It is working,” were the laconic words of Countrywide CEO Grenville Turner. He is on the money, of course: analysts at Markit, the finance and economic information firm, note that the construction purchasing managers’ index has reached 62.5 points, that is confidently above the 50 point mark that signals growth, and the highest level since 2007.
Perhaps more interestingly, sentiment among home buyers has improved as to push demand to a maximum since 2008, with 20% more inquiries registered last year than the previous twelve months.
What’s not to like? James Carrick, an economist at Legal & General Investment Management will tell you: such package of prop-up measures, combined with low interest rates and a healthy influx of foreign capital still scared of the Euro-mess “may take us only to two to three more years of benign economy”. But not much longer.
“Our worry,” denounces Carrick, “is that the Bank of England would overestimate the weaknesses of the British economy while the government is busy engineering a pre-election boom.” Short-termism is the evil, in London as in Brussels, it seems. The expert claims that what is needed is an update of wages, an increase of productivity and better levels of income throughout the country.
Here, here, we respond. We could have added throughout the continent, too.
In other news
A fine book has recently been published, “Language! 500 years of the vulgar tongue” by erudite Jonathan Green, to delight us all lovers of the English language with, for instance, the 1,740 rude ways in which to refer to, let’s say, making love. The opposite appears to be more urgent, unfortunately.
With The Times on Saturday matching the face of UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage to a pile of meat at a kebab corner shop, the British intelligentsia must mull much better arguments to stop the rot of fanatic Euroscepticism polluting their politics and dragging everyone else behind in a desperate hunt for fringe votes.