Families are facing the worst mortgage squeeze for 15 years, with home loans consuming the biggest portion of household incomes since 1992. This is sparking fears the housing market is heading towards a full-blown slump. The news came hours after the governor of the central bank gave his strongest indication yet that interest rates may rise again. There are growing signs the housing market has reached a turning point after a decade of blistering growth. The number of new mortgages being advanced has dropped suddenly, while price increases have started to stall. Well, yes, it could be Spain but it’s actually the UK. As far as I’m aware, Spain has never experienced a housing-market crash. If so, this may explain the widespread view it couldn’t possibly happen here. Time will tell, as I keep saying.
I didn’t want to spoil a rare positive paragraph yesterday by contrasting the amazingly thoughtful behaviour of Spaniards in a crowd – even the drunk ones – with the individuals who force you off the pavement. This is but one of the confusing aspects of a different culture. In this case, understandable via my ‘personal radar’ theory. After all, it’s hard not to be aware of the presence of others when hemmed in on all sides. Sadly, my theory provides no explanation for the behaviour today of the woman who started to keep the door open for me but let it go in my face when she realised I was all of 2 metres away. But at least she thought about it.
But to return to positive mode – After I emerged from Sunday’s crowd of football fans, I found someone had put a second watch on my other arm. Honest. So, at the very least, life here is better than in Albania.
Reading the latest edition of Private Eye yesterday, I wondered whether Spain had a similar satirical magazine. A friend has cited El Jueves but, as this is said to major on graphic and politically incorrect humour, I wonder whether it isn’t more like Viz. Comments welcome but, meanwhile, for an excellent example of Spanish satire, pop over to The Big Chorizo for Matthew Bennett’s translation of a new design for a new national coat-of-arms.
Finally, my thanks to both Matthew and to Lenox Napier for their comments yesterday. Lenox is editor of The Entertainer on Line. Both this and The Big Chorizo should be added to your Google Reader. If you don’t know what this is, now’s your chance to find out how to save yourself a lot of clicking.