We are a nation of.....estate agents...

London Terraces

Here's the latest from our Highly Placed Professional.

Did you whoop with joy this week when you saw that the UK unemployment number had declined to 7.7% ? I did.

And did you cross your fingers and hope that the magic 7.0% number would be reached by 2016, at which points rates will go up ? I didn't. But imagine my shock when I discovered that fully 25% of all the new jobs created during the last year were actually new additions to your and my favourite profession - estate agents!

Now we all like to bash an estate agent because they're greedy, unscrupulous, often not even that good, and above all are intent on a sale (a bit like bankers ?).

What they are selling is your home, you know where you live and bring up your family. So it's always a kind of personal and emotional process. It's also about the most expensive thing you can do in life other than buying a Ferrari, or taking Cameron Diaz on a romantic weekend to Ibiza by Lear Jet.

Anyway there are now 562,000 estate agents amongst us, a whopping 77,000 more of them than 12 months ago. Imagine a line of 77,000 estate agents. No, forget that - DON'T!

What's freaking me out, though,is the ramifications of this news nugget for the UK economy. We all know what the housing bubble did last time round. Low rates, and an almost hysterical herd instinct drove the market ever higher, while our brightest economists opined on the 'affordability of mortgage payments', which were evidently at levels not seen since Dickensian times, or was it the Romans ? The resultant and quite natural crash prompted our beloved Queen to ask ever so mildly, 'Why did no-one see this coming ?' You couldn't have made it up.

Well I see it coming - again. Rates will not stay this low forever. Foreign money will drift away once sterling strengthens, as it is already doing. And as for the poor old Brit servicing a £1 million plus mortgage in London, or more likely in downtown Birmingham at this rate - well, it'll be curtains.

Salaries are not keeping up, and soon teaser rates will run off. Caveat emptor! Never have these words been truer than today - whatever 77,000 newly minted estate agents have to say on the subject!

image: © ktylerconk

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