If there is one thing a new political party on the scene in Northern Ireland would need to be, it is economically literate. There is still no evidence of such a grouping.
It was reported last week that it would take at least another decade for house prices to reach 2007 levels again.
This is bad news, but not for the reason the media were hinting at. Quite the reverse – house prices should never reach 2007 levels again – at least not in real terms.
Have we learned nothing? Insane house prices enabled insane borrowing (against the supposed “house value” which turned out to be grossly inflated) which enabled insane spending which created insane debt – which left the country bust.
Already, the UK-wide media are slow to acknowledge that we cannot “spend” our way out of debt – either as a country on bureaucracy or as individuals in shops. The last thing we now need is house prices back to the nutty levels they were at to enable yet more unsustainable spending through unsustainable borrowing.
Even if politicians could do something directly about house prices (a laughable suggestion made on Good Morning Ulster last Friday), they would be keeping them at reasonable levels – frankly, not far above where they currently are. That way, people would have some chance at getting on the housing ladder; while at the same time people would not be able to borrow against a sum twice the real value of their property.
Meanwhile, we need to get back the basics – we do not have the right to drive German cars home to sit on Swedish furniture to watch American TV on Japanese sets while drinking French wine or Italian coffee and phubbing on our Chinese-made Korean-branded smartphone without ourselves trading something in return. Real exports are what will lead to real economic recovery – not unsustainable retail, and certainly not inflated “house prices”.