I spent yesterday viewing houses and apartments in and around Belfast. Now that I am in a comfortable job earning a comfortable salary, I have decided I want to move out of student land and into a more residential, settled community where people leave the house in the morning at 7.30 going to a job they hate to support a family they wish they never had.
I’m also tired of waking up in a house and discovering new people sleeping on my sofa or going to fridge to discover that the milk has been set on the draining board in direct sunlight so as more beer could be put in the fridge. Although I did once remove chicken fillets from the freezer so I could squeeze a bottle of vodka in. Vodka tastes better directly from the freezer.
I knew the house price situation was bad but I was unprepared for what I met. A two-up-two-down terraced house in one of the most deprived areas of North Belfast, asking price £140,000, when I asked the seller what he was hoping to get, he replied £160,000. This is a house with no central heating, no garden, no yard, on street parking in the joyriding capital of Belfast, the house needed striped, seriously re-decorated and possible re-plastered, and he is hoping for 160K.
It’s despicable what people are looking for.
The funny thing is though, people go on about what happened why have the house prices soared? The answer is simple, peace. Northern Ireland is entering a new phase of peaceful conflict. There are no longer 400lb bombs going off around Belfast. Thankfully, it is now an isolated incident when people are murdered or shot. If you want to be rich, when there is blood on the streets, you buy property because the property price will eventually increase once stability is achieved.
Because of this peace, more and more business’ are staying in Northern Ireland, which in turn needs more workers. Who would you employ? A Northern Irish worker who wants an hour lunch, doesn’t actually want to work, will skive off whenever the boss isn’t working, takes no pride in his/her work, will take a day off because they sneezed and call it the flu, will take 3 hours to go to a dental/doctors appointment, will roll in late because the alarm didn’t go off, will take a half day because the child has a sniffle and will leave early so as to beat the traffic.
A foreign national, who wants to work, will take pride in their work, will work from 7am to whenever, will work on Saturday and Sundays, will treat you with respect, will give you a fair price, won’t try and rip you off. The most important being takes pride and enjoyment in their work. My cousin owns a painting and decorating and joinery company along the North coast and he notices a huge difference between the work and attitude of Northern Irish and foreign nationals. He pays them the same, gives them the same benefits and opportunities. When he gave them all overtime, the foreign nationals went back and said he had paid them too much because they did not understand “time and a half.”
I digress. The result of business’ staying in NI and the influx of nationals to work in the factories and industries and building work means that they need somewhere to stay and so rent houses. Scumbag buy-to-let property owners buy houses and rent them out, other people (maybe their parents have just died and they have inheritance) see this as a great idea to get an extra income buy a house to let. Hundreds of people do this and the house prices go up and then people like me who would like to buy a house to live in.. Can’t.
Another thing that I find fascinating is the term, property ladder. Meeting with estate agents they go on and on about this ladder. What is wrong with buying a house and living there? Not viewing it as a step on any ladder, just buying a house and saying, yep I’m happy with this. I’m not trying to climb any ladder, why must everyone buy a house to try and progress up some imaginary ladder?
I hope there is a property price crash and I hope all the buy-to-let scumbags loose their money. Many of them, instead of paying into a pension plan, have bought a house to let. Well I hope the prices crash, you loose your pension and end up on the streets in your old age because that is where you are putting many wannabe first time buyers like me. I have a theory why there will be a crash. I met with estate agents yesterday who dodged the question and my inquisitive nature, so I think they know something we don’t.