Written by rosalind renshaw

Housing transactions are due to drop to just 840,000 this year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders predicts. One third will be cash transactions.

Its new forecast lowers its earlier prediction of 860,000.

The figure of 840,000 compares with 901,000 residential property transactions in 2008, 859,000 in 2009 and 886,000 last year.

The CML believes that transactions will pick up next year to 900,000. It believes mortgage financed sales will climb back up to around 50,000 a month.

It has not changed this year’s forecast of 40,000 repossessions but is predicting that next year’s repossessions will rise to 45,000.

The CML said: “Our forecasts assume hesitant economic growth for the rest of 2011 as the pace of fiscal tightening intensifies and households suffer an ongoing contraction in real incomes, but a moderately more positive backdrop as we go into next year.”

It did, however, point to growth in buy-to-let activity, with the market boosted by strong rental demand.

It also said that the ‘soft’ housing market away from London and the south-east would continue.  

It added: “The aftermath of the global financial crisis continues to have a pronounced impact on mortgage and housing markets.

“This year and next, lenders need to refinance large amounts of existing wholesale borrowing and repay much of the funding advanced through official support schemes.”

It warned: “The underlying position remains challenging. Under such conditions, lenders will continue to have only a modest risk appetite, and this will limit lending at high loan-to-value ratios. Lenders’ caution is understandable in the uncertain economic environment.

“It is also being reinforced by the higher capital requirements that low-deposit loans entail and conservative lending practices that are being entrenched by the supervision of the Financial Services Authority and the uncertain outcome of its ongoing mortgage market review.”


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    (Chris - what's your take on the extra bush they added to obscure the neighbour's window?)

    Rant, it could have been a mistake while trying to clone the grass, but it's probably deliberate!

    If someone wanted to view this property and discoverd that there is no bush there to offer privacy, the buyer could plant something there themselves, but I feel that there could be a case for compensation from the agent to either pay for a bush or wasting their time in transportation costs to that viewing, but the chances of anything more than slapped wrists from the Ombudsman, that's all.

    You see the agent doesn't need to photograph the garden and quite often a buyer will not buy a property because the garden is too overlooked, so a viewing is normally essential anyway.

    I think it would have been worse had the agent touched out the window altogether by dragging the bricks across it, which indicates a property wall with no windows overlooking this garden! Then this would be on a whole new level and some form of prosecution or fine should be levied and someone should probably lose their job!

    Has anyone actually rang the agent in question to inform them that they are the subject of a big discussion or two?

    • 06 June 2011 02:36 AM
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    Had a little look at your link. To be honest, there are some unsavory characters that post on there, but that's not the point.

    What this agent has done is out of order and such 'fraudulent' activity is simply not acceptable. I hope this has been reported..?

    My beef with this thread though is that many of the posters are suggesting that ALL/MOST agents are up to these tricks. That is absolutely bonkers, isn't it.

    Anyone with half a brain cell knows that these are the actions of one agent. Yes, others may be pulling the same strings, but the vast, VAST majority are operating honestly and with dignity, but battling against unfair branding and labelling, created by the small number of incompetent agents.

    Same as MPs. Any rational person knows that only some took the p*** - Not ALL of them.

    That's this country for you though, they love a good moan and over-hyped situation/story.

    • 05 June 2011 22:14 PM
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    Chris - what's your take on the extra bush they added to obscure the neighbour's window?

    • 05 June 2011 21:57 PM
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    While it is a bit sad that this agent felt the need to change the colour of the grass and also get caught, I don't think that this is against any rules/ laws.

    I am pretty sure that you are not allowed to change anything significant regarding the property which would mislead someone. I.e. Remove a green mark from the side of the property where an overflow pipe has been leaking, remove a garden wall or a power station/ wind turbine in the distance.

    I've touched out an other agents for-sale board at the side of a property in the past and pretty sure there is nothing wrong with this. Changing the grass colour will probably not get the agent into any trouble, but the fact that he has uploaded the before & after photos does show a level of stupidity.

    Simon, agents have been inflating asking prices to win instructions for many decades and I dare say letting agents do it with rental prices too. At the end of the day, that agent will lose out when they can't sell it, so it is to a large extent and victimless crime. Unlike plumbers and other builders that change perfectly good parts and sit around watching the clock tick by in order to charge clients for work that wasn't done or wasn't needed.
    There are plenty of other trades & industries that need taking into hand, way before the estate agents and their over-valuing. A buyer doesn't have to buy an overpriced property do they?

    • 05 June 2011 19:05 PM
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    I don't think we need to go back to 110% mortgages again for transaction numbers to start driving house prices up again and the reason I think that is because new build properties have virtually stopped way below what this country needs. The true supply is smaller than you think.

    • 05 June 2011 18:32 PM
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    You said: "Lenders are being overly risk adverse"

    Not so. Lenders are now taking risk into account. In the mad days between about 1998 and 2007 they did not factor ANY RISK into their lending. If you could breathe and lie, you got a mortgage.

    As a result they are now unable (still) to mark to market their various debt instruments (MBSs, CDOs etc.) If they did mark them to market they would be bankrupt and bank runs would be with us.

    Ask the people who queued outside Northern Rock to withdraw their savings whether, in their opinion, Northern Rock was risk averse enough (Sorry, I can't write 'risk adverse').

    Personally, as someone who has money saved in the bank, I am VERY keen for that bank to be careful who it lends MY money to and on what terms. I am very risk averse when it comes to my savings and banks should be too.

    • 05 June 2011 15:19 PM
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    Rant and Rave you surely not saying estate agents are dishonest enough to photo shop the grass to make it look greener than it is.

    What next Estate agents inflating asking prices to get the vendors business?

    • 05 June 2011 15:06 PM
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    Land reg, are the only accurate price gauge, you cant go buy mortgage sites, you are right that the goverment and banks have stopped houses being reposessed, by extending the morgages, but the number of people getting into deeper mortgage debt at the lowest mortgage rates at interest only in many cases ! even Lloyds are looking so exposed that they have had a down grade, when interest rates rise, the problem is just going to come back,

    • 05 June 2011 10:36 AM
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    With transaction levels running lower, it seems some EAs have been using the time to brush up on their graphic design skills.

    The pictures have now been pulled from Rightmove, but poster number 13 on the linked thread saved them for posterity.

    • 05 June 2011 08:35 AM
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    Chris - what's your definition of the housing market functioning normally again? Could you give us transaction numbers for example? To see 2007 prices return in the near future, that will require the return of 110% mortgages, major numbers of self-certification loans etc. Sorry, but I just don't see that happening at all, let alone soon.

    There is also a heck of a lot of pent-up supply out there, people waiting for 2007 prices to return, accidental landlords etc. Round me, a quick Rightmove search suggests supply is currently running at the highest levels for two years and increasing month on month.

    If your BTL profits are not dependent upon house price inflation in the near to medium term and you're making a yield of 5% or more, then it probably is a good investment. I don't think that others who are jumping into BTL right now have as much experience and knowledge on how to get it right as you do though.

    • 05 June 2011 08:28 AM
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    Even if you are correct and prices are 16% lower since the peak of 2007, it is only around the average amount it would rise each year during the boom years. Anyone that bought a house from 2005 to 2007 have lost money! (Only a two year period after all) This is technically a paper loss though & not a real loss unless they need to sell and do not buy afterwards.

    As it happens, since the peak, London is around 5.5% lower and the rest of the country is around 10.5% lower.
    Have a play with this calculator and it will give you a flavour of what house prices have been doing:

    Still small beer when you consider that house prices were rising by 14% year on year during the boom.

    During the last crash on the late 80's, banks repossessed houses and undercut the second hand market to sell them quickly, but this became a race to the bottom as home owners cut their prices to compete with the flood of cheap repos. This time around, banks are not placing every repo onto the market and are mothballing many properties, plus they are not undercutting the second hand market for the repos they want sold. They have learned their lesson after the last crash and are keeping prices high to sell the repos at better prices. They are also doing public notices on every property they sell, pretty much, allowing other buyers to see the current sale price and offer them the chance to put in a stronger offer, again netting a better sale price.

    On this subject, I want to share an important fact with other fellow agents dealing with public notices. If your buyer's offer is made public through a public notice of any kind and someone else bids over their offer, the initial buyer must be allowed to know the value of the bid that has beaten their's! This is a legal requirement, but then all subsequent offer amounts after this must be kept private.

    Back to the subject of house prices/ transactions, I bought two buy-to-let properties in 2007 and in 2008 wished that I hadn't, but now I'm glad I did. Sure they are both worth about 10% less, but it is now so hard to buy property, with larger deposits needed, bigger application fees and the need to do an affordibility study on my own financial circumstances (In case I have no tenants paying my mortgage), which never was the case back then, the chances are today I couldn't buy these properties. While the paper value has dropped, the yields are over 6% per year and no savings in the bank can get anywhere near this.

    I love it when the HPC gang laugh and tell me that my properties are now worth 10% less, but I respond by saying that I'm still glad I bought when I could.
    When the housing market starts functioning properly again, pent-up demand will rocket prices back up to 2007 levels anyway and I've lost nothing should I decide to sell.

    • 05 June 2011 01:21 AM
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    If you add up the rises and falls on the land registrys stats since 2007 we are at least 16% down from peak,maybe more if you could take london out of the national picture, the london market is a different world now, well until the end of the olympics anyway.

    • 04 June 2011 16:04 PM
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    I thought this was an Estate Agent website -what does it matter whether house prices rise or fall. If you are earning then you are getting it right if you are not then the market has changed and you need to change too.

    I'm upsizing I had no problem raising finance (50% of value, 4 times income) and sold my current property quickly, having picked an agent that advised me to go 20k below market( what do I care I'm 200k up on origonal purchase price!! not to mention I knocked 50k off the place I'm buying)

    Many of the comments I'm reading would be more appropriate on a home owners forum where they have a vested interest in their high prices.

    • 04 June 2011 12:51 PM
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    Backspin, the hate and anger is borne out of frustration. When you consider the way the housing market has been manipulated and propped up by the various vested interests to become out of reach of well paid people, let alone mere mortals, then its understandable.

    • 04 June 2011 10:47 AM
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    Isn’t it funny how the commentators from the side lines are so knowledgeable about the mortgage market based on an experience a 'mate' had. Read the article. Lenders are being overly risk adverse. Not only that but the perception of the public is that banks are not lending. Right or wrong, while the public has this view things will not move.
    I suspect the argument that mortgages are fine is simply a vehicle to land the blame in the laps of agents. Which to be honest is just getting boring now especially form the likes of Peter Hendry who at the end of the day believes you can sell property from a cupboard under the stairs whilst still wearing your slippers.

    • 04 June 2011 10:26 AM
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    Paul Smith

    I'd rather be wrong and happy, than be full of hate but right ONCE !

    • 04 June 2011 09:42 AM
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    From where Im standing prices have bounced and are now 5% lower from peak. Which makes affordability even worse when you factor in large deposits. No doubt they will slowly drop down again, but the waiting game will be long and hard, life will pass you by.

    Where one door closed another opens, stay positive and prepare for rough times ahead.

    • 04 June 2011 09:31 AM
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    "I wouldn't bite the bait from inbreda, he/she is from HPC and have been wrong for so long they have turned bitter and twisted.. Hence the post by inbreda".

    Backspin - they only need to be right once and eventually they will be!

    • 04 June 2011 09:31 AM
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    But i thought prices had fallen some 16- 20% allready ? any more ie 10% plus will help out first time buyers, London has kept the mom figures up with 5% YOY, china looks like the the super power nation like you say.

    • 04 June 2011 08:48 AM
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    honest john,

    Think you misunderstood, I never said prices are going to rise. The HPC mob have not seen huge drops and now have been off the ladder for so long they are full of hate towards anyone within the housing market giving various reasons from the absurd to childish rants. Now that huge deposits are required and inflation is taking off, even if prices dropped 10-15% they still would have been better off buying years ago.

    The tone of inbreda comment was one of hate for his fellow citizens, who could honestly wish someone to lose their job in times of need ? The world isn't up sh*t creek, the western world is.

    • 04 June 2011 08:35 AM
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    Prices have come down since 2007 and they are still on a downward tradjectory ! how are they wrong about that ? you may beleive what you like ie prices are going to rocket, they may but not for many years, but that is what got us into this mess 10 years ago just after the .com crash, many saw house prices as the next big thing rudding there hands ! and what a bubble it was, how can people buy if they can not afford to buy with a good wage, nurses and police earn 25 - 35k and they cant buy ? price will keep falling untill mortgages can buy an average house again, this fall in prices was just stalled buy the bank of england and brown, it was all they could do to stop a full blown crash, the USA is looking at a great Depression, the euro is failing, Japan has been set back years, the hole world is up sxxx creak with out a paddle and a bloody great hole in the bottom of the boat !

    • 03 June 2011 21:17 PM
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    Hi Backspin.........your right!

    • 03 June 2011 19:23 PM
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    I wouldn't bite the bait from inbreda, he/she is from HPC and have been wrong for so long they have turned bitter and twisted.. Hence the post by inbreda.

    • 03 June 2011 18:23 PM
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    CML - Predict and assume in this story so lets worry about it..........or not worry about it and then debate it at the point in which we can measure how accurate their prediction and assumption was!

    @Inbreda.....there will be some EA's who may lose their jobs, as a result of a market crashing a home too, possibly even a family because of hardship........

    I geniunly hope you dont lose a job, I dont know you nor after your posting do I care too, but mocking at the thought of someone losing a job! Imagine the day you need an estate agent be it to sell, buy or rent a house for you, will you walk in and repeat your comment before asking for help and advice and out of interest would you share you employment type please?

    • 03 June 2011 18:10 PM
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    Mike, its the weekend. The sun is out, its beautiful. I'm off to enjoy it now. I reckon you should give it a go with a nice lager.

    Have a good one all.

    • 03 June 2011 17:54 PM
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    You said:
    "So there’s no problem with mortgages eh?
    When was the last time you submitted an application to a lender? What additional information did they ask for? was it easy to place? How many BDM's did you have to speak to before you found a suitable product? "

    A friend of mine who, like me, is self employed applied for a mortgage recently. And yes, he had to jump through some hoops. 3 years audited accounts - audited by a Chartered Accountant were required. He does not use a chartered accountant so he had to provide 3 years worth of tax returns and self assessment statements. And bank statements. And a lot of mortgage lenders would not touch him because he is getting on a bit and does not want to repay the mortgage until he is past 65 and his vehicle for repayment is pretty much 'downsizing'. He had a devil of a job getting a mortgage.

    And QUITE RIGHT TOO. It's a serious business lending other people's money to people - which is, of course, what banks do. They lend the money savers deposit to other people - they better make damn sure that every time they lend they position themselves such that if the worse comes to the worse and the borrower defaults - the can, in simple terms, recover the money and give it back to the saver.

    So, matey boy, who got a good verbal kicking for suggesting that there is nothing wrong with the mortgage market is absolutely correct.

    Or do you think the truly insane lending practices of the Northern Rock 125% days were sensible.

    I do think estate agents are just sitting there waiting for the mortgage market to return to 'normal' - meaning back to unsustainable lending which leads to bank runs and bank bail outs.

    A decent deposit, stable employment, reasonable employment prospects and not too onerous salary multiples are surely a pre-requisite for a stable housing market based on sustainable lending.

    Or do you want to see systemic bank failure? According to many experts, this is still very much on the cards.

    • 03 June 2011 17:25 PM
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    ** I, too, need a lesson (not listen!) my typos! **

    • 03 June 2011 16:11 PM
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    Why do so many 'potential buyers' have hate towards estate agents, but still want to use one?

    If you dislike agents so badly, why would you WANT to consider using one? Continue your house search elsewhere if "agents" are doing the damage - no brainer, surely?

    SOME properties are over-priced. What's the issue to you, though? You're not going to buy it, the agent won't sell it, so you skip by. However, many other properties are not over-priced, so try and focus on that. Quite hard to focus while wanting your cake and eating it at the same time.

    A good agent won't be talked into over-pricing, so there's a clue right away. However, those that do give in to vendor demand are not affecting you - you'd never agree a price with 'that' kind of vendor anyway. But either way, if you are selling anything privately, YOU determine the price. If Mr and Mrs Jones want to list for £30k over the suggested price, that is entirely their decision - no skin of your nose.

    Look at car prices, arguably the second biggest purchase people will make. The price for the same vehicle of the same spec will vary dont sit back and think "Im not buying a car now", you actually focus you attention on the dealers selling at a fair price.

    I think a lot of you have a listen or two to be learnt from Rant n Rave.

    "It's always somebody else's fault".

    • 03 June 2011 16:10 PM
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    Estate agent Armageddon? I don't think so. Blog link:

    • 03 June 2011 16:00 PM
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    Forget Sales, it's all about Lettings for the foreseeable future. The only problem, certainly in this area, is supply..

    • 03 June 2011 14:27 PM
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    Whats the plan then for EA's ?

    Less deals = less meals.

    Once people wake up to the reality that their houses are way overpriced (denial) then I think you'll jobs will be safe.

    • 03 June 2011 14:12 PM
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    There are a few flaws in your post.

    It doesn't matter what an agent markets a property at. If it is overpriced it WILL NOT SELL. If it sells then it was a good call by the agent on behalf of the vendor.

    Estate agents do not 'value', surveyors value, they may overvalue or undervalue or be spot on but only surveyors VALUE.

    As with any investment property value can go up or down according to market conditions.

    When prices rose through the roof many EAs had properties going to final bids and people with 125% mortgages, two cars and a holiday in the Maldives were happy to wildly out bid other interested parties. EAs are not responsible for the reckless spending, lending or borrowing of other people.

    The quickest way to bring prices down is not to buy but people are still buying.

    EAs must take their client's instruction at an agreed price or walk away from the instruction, which we sometimes do when we feel it is absolutely miles off reality.

    Sensible spending and sensible lending is the key to a successful property market.

    No-one wants the peaks and troughs, a steady market is the ideal but today's 'I want it NOW' culture doesn't help.

    • 03 June 2011 13:39 PM
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    Estate agents do overvalue property markedly at the moment.

    Rightmove acknowledge it as a major contributor of unsold stock in the May report.

    The reason is that there are 2 auctions in the sale of property.
    To secure the marketing rights to the property. Vendors choose the highest valuation and competition is fierce. So we are seeing 15 - 20% added onto realistic sale levels.
    Then it goes to market.

    For instance one house marketed by Winkworth (where I live) has just hit the market at 850k. At the height of the market in 2007, next door was sold for 595k.

    This is not untypical.

    • 03 June 2011 13:17 PM
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    There is an article on The Wall Street Journal saying that British houses are on a slippery slope.

    U.K. Housing Sits on Aspic, Not Firmer Foundations

    • 03 June 2011 12:58 PM
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    SBC, you are quite correct, +20%.

    Mr Hendry, I apologise for the undervaluing of your home there, lets say £79,950.

    You can even sell it yourself on your fancy website.

    • 03 June 2011 12:38 PM
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    HD, you forgot to factor-in a 20% deposit into your calcs.

    • 03 June 2011 12:31 PM
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    Mr Hendry, RR, Mr Spammer.

    On your blog A while ago, Wardy kindly gave you a mathmetical estimate of your home of around£135-£140k.

    Now you could lead the forefront to start brining prices down in your area.

    Average salary in Nottingham £18,900 x 3.5 salary giving you a new value of your home at £66150.

    Would you sell your home for this figure?

    As you are the one that is suggesting prices are too high.

    • 03 June 2011 12:20 PM
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    khards, absolutely. I think Magic is the one who needs to get real.

    As they say "he/she just doesn't get it"

    Taken to the logical conclusion, buyers "cash" can sit in inflation proof investments for as long as we like. Without sales, his/her business scales down and eventually gets boarded up and taken over by pound land.

    That's the very real reality. If Magic chooses to ignore this, then they deserve what's coming. Simply engaging in child like Punch & Judy "discussions" indicates to me a lot of EAs on here will sadly fold due to stubborn stupidity.

    • 03 June 2011 11:58 AM
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    12 months is not a reasonable time frame!

    • 03 June 2011 11:35 AM
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    How can you expect an Estate Agent (whose role is to advance the best interest of their clients) to honestly say, "With the current market demand, I think your property could achieve £300,000; however, to help stabilise the market, it's best if you ask £250,000... Are you OK with that?"

    Why are so many marketed houses unsold within a reasonable time frame (12 months) if they are really worth what they are currently marked for?

    • 03 June 2011 11:17 AM
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    I can believe it. I fully expect to see tubleweed roling through our office in the coming months. Things are completely dead.

    But it is sunny so I'm going fishing. Ta ta.

    • 03 June 2011 10:58 AM
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    @ Realising Reality

    How can you expect an Estate Agent (whose role is to advance the best interest of their clients) to honestly say, "With the current market demand, I think your property could achieve £300,000; however, to help stabilise the market, it's best if you ask £250,000... Are you OK with that?"

    I don't think so... Get real and Realise Reality!

    All the best.

    • 03 June 2011 10:58 AM
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    RR, i see your now spamming on all posts. I shall copy my reply for the readers of this thread.

    Yet again your blinkered and unknowledable view of how the market, estate agency and mortgages actually works precedes you.
    So there’s no problem with mortgages eh?
    When was the last time you submitted an application to a lender? What additional information did they ask for? was it easy to place? How many BDM's did you have to speak to before you found a suitable product?
    You’re talking out of your behind yet again.
    On the subject of 'sue the agent' You’re quite right.
    I would like to see people being sued for running scraper websites, people marketing property without being a member of a redress scheme and I would like to see the property misdiscription act in forced on rouge websites.

    • 03 June 2011 10:48 AM
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    Can you all explain why you think realisingreality's comments are all nonsense. There seems to be a lot of common sense in there including: "If prices were 'allowed' to moderate, first-time buyers could get started with buying a property WITHOUT needing special treatment on loans. The market could simply re-establish from there."

    I'd be greatful to hear your views on this.


    • 03 June 2011 10:42 AM
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    If Realising Reality's post is such nonsense it should be pretty easy for all of you to pick it apart, oh.... but you can't be bothered? What, none of you? "Denial" springs to mind.

    • 03 June 2011 10:41 AM
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    "Added by Will Hicks on 2011-06-03 10:19:46

    Estate agent today; McDonalds next month."

    I am not sure estate agents can work at mcdonalds. For one, they're not used to hard work, and besides you need more ability to work at McD's. I'm afraid they are going to have to accept unemployment. On the plus side it might turn peoples hatred of EAs to pity. That's an improvement of sorts.

    • 03 June 2011 10:40 AM
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    Oh God, he's back. I like responding to debate, but when it's as utterly ridiculous as this, it's a waste of time and almost lowers you to that level.

    Rude, arrogant and bitter today; no friends ever.

    • 03 June 2011 10:30 AM
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    Estate agent today; McDonalds next month.

    • 03 June 2011 10:19 AM
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    @ Realising Reality...agree with Ray....there is nothing in your rant remotely "real" but carry on and keep taking your medication

    • 03 June 2011 10:12 AM
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    @Realising Reality

    Complete (almost) nonsense!
    Before you ask, I will not improve your knnowledge by expanding further.

    • 03 June 2011 09:44 AM
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    Some say these figures reflect the general stagnation of the market, which has been due to severe rationing of mortgage funds by lenders, and fears of higher unemployment among would-be buyers.

    I say NO, the general stagnation of the market is NOT due to severe rationing of mortgage funds. It's due to asking prices being unacceptably high, mostly it's the prices being suggested by agents desperately trying to win increasingly scarce instructions from sellers!

    Mortgage availability is fine. You can borrow up to 3.5 times a principal wage earner's salary and up to 75% of the purchase price, over 25 years (provided you have a reasonable deposit saved up). There is therefore absolutely nothing wrong with mortgage availability, at a responsible level of borrowing.

    What's the problem?

    There isn't one, provided you make sure the house price is commensurate with everything else - including earnings and sensible mortgage borrowing on these.

    If UNrestricted credit is allowed to developers and purchasers, once again, another calamity will materialise in the shape of over-priced houses and suddenly then - no demand. Do we really want such a negligent attitude to ruin our favourite 'market'? NO! NO! NO!

    Where are the responsible ones?

    Sue the estate agents, I say, for over-valuing houses at market appraisal time - seriously.

    In their headlong rush to win marketing instructions, they forgot to advise their clients diligently about real values, attainable within the 'client's' timeframe for selling.

    If prices were 'allowed' to moderate, first-time buyers could get started with buying a property WITHOUT needing special treatment on loans. The market could simply re-establish from there. Simply-done.

    • 03 June 2011 09:27 AM