Property Blues

Property in Sedgefield has flat lined. There hasn’t been the worst case scenario crash, nor has there been any sign of a recovery. I’ve been checking out the on-line listings, and many of the houses that were listed when we sold our last house 3 years ago, are still for sale.

Coastal property has been particularly hard hit by the downturn, people hanging on by their fingernails to their primary property are no longer even considering a holiday home. There aren’t many great properties for sale in town; anyone who doesn’t need to sell is sitting tight. Those that do want to sell are under pressure.

This house, just a few metres up the road from us, has been listed since last year. It came on the market at 2.9 million, the price was dropped to 2.5 million over the summer, and it’s now down to 2.2 million.

I’m very, very thankful that we don’t need to sell into this, and hope we can hang on long enough to see an upturn if we do need to exit down the line. At the moment we could rent our house for about 30% less than what we are paying on our bond. Of course that 70% is not going to a landlord, but paying off an asset (hopefully). Some consolation – as is being able to wake up every morning in a house I love.

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8 Responses to “Property Blues”


  1. 1 shoreacres August 13, 2010 at 3:59 am

    There’s nervousness all around, isn’t there? I’ve reached a few of my own conclusions about what our government is doing to our economy, and the effects are going to ripple around. Obama’s taken over General Motors, Health care and the student loan program, and now they’re bailing out teachers’ pensions and forgiving mortages of people who are underwater – if those folks are in the states suffering the most, economically. Those just happen to be states with Democratic leadership and lots of Obama voters. Funny how that works.

    In any event, things could be worse. You could be in the US. Never in my life did I think I’d utter those words, but right now – it’s a fact. It’s going to be very interesting to see what our elections bring.

    In the meantime – you don’t need to sell into it. Enjoy your home and enjoy life. It’s going to take a bit of time for some of this to shake out, anyway, and sometimes things to get better rather than worse!

  2. 2 Jeannine August 13, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Politicians make the most ardent optimist cynical, just a fact.

    I read the NY Times and WSJ most days, and it really isn’t good now in the States. They’re trumpeting about the complete disappearance of the American middle class, and while there is some exaggeration, it seems fundamentally true.

    Company results coming out now are pretty darned good, they’re making money hand over fist – for the rich. Businesses are seeing that they are getting by just fine with fewer workers after all those retrenchments, and have no intention of re-hiring. They can work fewer employees to death and pay them less. What a win!

    You’re lucky you got out years ago and love what you do. It seems those American who have jobs can also forget about a good retirement, dying at your desk isn’t far fetched. What a mess!

    All that said, the Americans are a clever and resourceful people who have been through tough times before and triumphed. Not many people would bet against you guys doing it again.

  3. 3 Raine August 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Same here J, in the UK properties are just not selling as quick as what they used to. No doubt about it, the credit crisis has taken its toll on everyone. Now should be the time to buy, while property prices are low, and then to sell when the market picks up, but I don’t think people have faith or the money to do that anymore.

    I would buy this house simply because of the stunning view! It’s about the right size for my family and has built-in cupboards. Great price! Nowadays though, even for that amount people want luxury – and I can spot several off-putting features about this house.

    Here, folk want walk-in wardrobes, like in America – not cupboards … and en-suite bathrooms, home cinema/games rooms, pools, jacuzzis, fancy kitchens, and real wood or stone floors.

    People here will judge a house on its carpets, and unless they have just been laid and look fit for the queen’s dainty toes, people usually want them out. Plush furnishings, well made beds, great artwork, state of the art tv … will all make or break a sale. Here, it’s got to look like a featured residence in an interior design magazine and befitting for the rich and famous.

    Melamine is o-u-t, besides in this house it looks really dated, like some 1970s reject from the local diy retailer. Now its granite, highly polished worktops, built-in stainless steel, high tech appliances with designer names such as Miele or Schrieber – cookers or ranges, not stoves.

    No-one here will be interested in the washing line either, except perhaps the maid, even if it is an advantage to have one already installed.

    But what would really be the killer for this house, especially in the Uk, is the asbestos roof … downright lethal J, they have to call in MIB-men fully kitted from head-to-toe in white coveralls to safely remove and dispose of it should it get damaged. Costly.

  4. 4 Jeannine August 18, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Hi Raine! Great comment with lots of interesting info – thanks!

    Melamine is awful, I have it too and would love to replace it, but the cost of upgrading a kitchen is insane, so I have made do with painting it all white and replacing the plastic handles with aluminium ones.

    I would love to have Smeg appliances but that amounts to mortgage payments for a year. So good old existing Defy will do. I would have thought the mindset in the UK would have changed a bit with the recession, making do with what you have rather than taking on debt for an Aga. Probably will change, just from necessity.

    Here properties are all about the view and location. Buyers forgive a lot of flaws if they can wake up and see the sea. Well, they used to, now it seems buyers are thin on the ground.

    As you say though, maybe now is the time for bold moves. Buying now could be the best bet – why wait for the next boom?!

  5. 5 oh August 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    There are houses in a life that are worth holding on to, regardless. It sounds you own such a one. The house affects character; the family’s character affects the house. It’s a wonderful symbiosis when it happens.
    And I’ve just glanced at the cupcakes two entries ago (having been amok in the stupid corporate world for two weeks and have fallen behind in ALL reading) and couldn’t look longer at that gorgeous chocolate cupcake and really should eat some healthy breakfast…but then read the entry on Gavin’s shopping in Viet Nam and I’m terribly intrigued by your “shop” and can only imagine the wonder of opening the boxes he brings back from the East.
    Do tell more! This is all quite beyond my midwest view. Although I AM going to go for a ride in the country today with all the car windows open!

    • 6 Jeannine August 24, 2010 at 6:15 am

      LOL! You make me laugh oh, I hope the open window car ride was all it could be!
      I’ve also been bogged down in drone stuff, with no time to blog. Gavin is back now, and the shipment will leave Vietnam within a week or so. All went well and hopefully, soon, our treasures will arrive.
      Can’t wait!

  6. 7 shoreacres August 25, 2010 at 2:39 am

    That car ride of oh’s is a midwestern America tradition. When I was a kid, that was what we did on Sunday afternoon, if we hadn’t gone to grandma’s. Sometimes, we’d go out in the evening during the week.

    We’d head out, drive around the corn fields, look at the crops, comment on their size, make sure all the barns still were standing, and then drive back into town to the A&W rootbeer stand where we’d get a rootbeer float and, occasionally, a pork tenderloin sandwich, the meat pounded so thin it was twice the size of the bun.

    Pure heaven.

  7. 8 oh August 25, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Yes, that’s it, the quintessential car ride, as “Shore” describes it, above! except A&Ws are few and far between these days so we “settle” for Sheridan’s frozen custard before returning home feeling absolutely fortified.
    As for the corn, the second planting is all in (harvested) and only the feed corn is left standing. And the orchards are reaking with magnificent peaches!


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