Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rising house prices - is it good?

If you read what the papers say, you'll be forgiven for thinking that a rising trend in house prices is a good thing to have. The impression one gets is that it is a sign that the economy is improving; that it is something we should all be happy about. Perhaps the writers have something to gain from an increase in house prices, but I believe as a whole the general population stands to lose.

An increase in house prices is a form of inflation. We all need an inflation in house prices as much as we need an inflation in petrol price, in grocery bills, and in utility bills. When house price increases, the homeowner does not really gain anything until he sells his house (at which point it will cost him more when he buys the next house). However, every single one of his children will have to pay the increased prices when they buy their own houses in the future. So, how can house price inflation be a good thing? Yet the newspapers always report this in a positive manner, as if this is a great thing to have for the economy.

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