Could the 18-year property cycle really predict the next house price crash?

Jun 04, 06:01 PM
Another week, another house price index stating record growth.

This time it was the turn of Nationwide, which said prices had risen 10.9 per cent in the year to April, reaching a new high of £242,832 - up by £23,930 compared with 12 months earlier.

Most experts say this is down to people's changing lifestyles during the pandemic and the incentive provided by the Government's stamp duty holiday. But are there other forces at play?

Fred Harrison, a British author and economic commentator, successfully predicted the previous two property crashes years before they occurred - and his 18-year property cycle theory says that house prices should continue to boom before crashing in 2026.

His theory is based on analysis of 300 years of data, and suggests that the underlying force behind rising prices in the property market is the finite supply of land.

This, he says, combines with greed and speculation to turbo-charge sentiment and send prices spiralling before a bubble bursts.

Given that early predictions of a house price crash during the pandemic were wildly inaccurate, does his model provide a better idea of what might really happen?

On this week's podcast, Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Helen Crane also look at the other factors shaping the housing market, including tantalisingly cheap mortgages with two-year fixed rates as low as 0.99 per cent.

But aside from these headline-grabbing rates, the typical mortgage has actually become slightly more expensive in the last year - so why are experts saying locking in for five years is still a good idea?

One group that isn't so happy about this year's house price increases is first-time buyers - especially those who took out Help to Buy loans a few years ago and are now paying back inflated sums into the Government coffers based on their homes' increased values.

Helen discusses whether they should hold off paying back the loans in the face of spiralling interest - and whether today's first-time buyers should still consider using Help to Buy at what is widely tipped to be the top of the market.

Do you want an 'essential', comfortable or luxurious retirement? New research explains how much you will need to put away to get the lifestyle you want in your later years

Away from housing, we talk about the latest research telling us how much we need for a decent retirement - depending on whether we want an 'essential', comfortable or more luxurious time of it in our older years.

Tanya explains how much people should be putting away, and how that changes if you are single rather than part of a couple.

We also discuss controversial comments made by Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), who said most people don't need to worry too much about saving into their pension until they are in their 50s.

Is it really wise for younger people to push pensions down their list of financial priorities?

Finally, we answer a question from a reader who took £20,000 out of their pension pot to deal with Covid cashflow issues - but is now worried that their tax-free annual allowance has taken a hit.