Sunday, October 28, 2007

Kirstie Allsopp and the Tories

Last week came the news that the Tories had appointed Kirstie Allsopp of Location, Location, Location fame as their "Housing Tsar". According to the Guardian, she is to

head a review of home buying, working alongside shadow housing minister Grant Shapps, to come up with ideas which could regenerate the housing market and make it easier for first-time buyers to get a foot on the housing ladder.

Unfortunately, Kirstie Allsopp is very unpopular with first-time buyers, especially those who hang around at Housepricecrash, where she is something of a hate figure.

The spat started in 2004, when Allsopp stated that HousePriceCrash was set up with the intention of "creating panic" and that it's activities were "immoral" and would be "illegal" in the stock market. HousePriceCrash responded with a press release, where they asserted their rights of free speech, said that they were an information tool and that there are similar perfectly legal sites and boards discussing the likelihood of shares falling, and drew attention to Allsopp's conflicts of interest.

The spat has grown from there, with the forum members nicknaming her "Krusty", and starting threads with titles such as Phil and Krusty being Thick Again (posted yesterday and which dealt with Channel 4 being forced to apologise for Allsopp's error in claiming that one fifth of Stoke-on-Trent families were homesless, when that city has a total of just thirteen registered homeless families).

The HousePriceCrash people are a bit gloomy, but they are also right that relentless cheerleading from people like Allsopp is not good for the property market. The more prudent Sarah Beeny who emphasises that prices don't always go up, is more respected.

The interesting thing is that for most of this decade, the HousePriceCrash lot have blamed the government amongst others for the housing bubble (despite the govt's attempts to damp down speculation by increasing transaction costs like stamp duty on properties over 250k). These people should therefore be fertile pickings for Tories. But Cameron has shown how out-of-touch he is by appointing their hate figure to his team.

Allsopp's aims to make property transactions cheaper and quicker are of dubious help to the property market. As every market watcher knows, if you reduce transaction costs you increase churn and speculation and as a consequence, boost prices. It's bad enough that people trade houses as though they were stocks, - imagine what it would be like if transaction costs (designed to slow the process down and impress on people that housing is a long-term decision) were removed. People like Allsopp would be buying one week and selling another, in an orgy of speculation. Given her conflicts of interest, perhaps that's her aim.


Unknown said...

Your analysis has reached new depths, or your comedy has reached new heights - always difficult to tell with you.

Anonymous said...

' - imagine what it would be like if transaction costs (designed to slow the process down and impress on people that housing is a long-term decision) were removed'

I see the New Labour spin is to describe a tax now as 'a transaction cost'with the only function of keeping prices down and nothing to do with raising revenue!

It's a laugh a minute,shame nobody believes the spin!


snowflake5 said...

Two negative comments from Tories on this piece! Must have hit a nerve!

Unknown said...

It says so much that you assume everyone who disagrees with you (or really, really appreciates your comedy depending on whether you are real or an elaborate spoof) is a Tory.

MsDemmie said...

How rich - three houses Allsopp - never mind the remove all fences Allsopp and charge people £2000/£3000 a week for use of her home Allsop.

Personal experience of her in action in the neighborhood just lost the Tories some votes.