A reader emails me with this from yahoo news:
The number of people looking to buy a new home fell at its fastest pace for three years during July as consumers speculated that the market may have peaked, figures show.
And his comment is spot on:
It’s now newsworthy to discuss the monthly rate of change in the rate of change (i.e. second differential) for one sub-sector of the property market. I expect to see the BBC reporting regression results within months, although they will probably be in levels and put too much weight on R-squared.
Also, a few days ago the National Housing Federation released their forecast of housing prices over the next few years:
Latest news: House prices are set to rise by up to 40% in the next five years, with the average home in London pushing half a million by 2012.
The forecast was the main story Metro (London's widely read free morning newspaper) ran that day, and various other press outlets covered it as news; as my reader comments, 'it must be true then'.
Despite the weather being as whimsical as ever, property prices is the only thing Londoners seem to be talking about these days, and it shows in the press coverage.
Doesn't this all sound a bit like Rockefeller and the shoe shine boy?
Postscript: I don't really buy the Rockefeller story. It is so good that even if it had no basis whatsoever, it would still make the rounds for years. On top of this, it probably suited Rockefeller himself to have a plausible explanation for still doing so well in the midst of the depression. Ergo, this is probably an urban myth; but a good story indeed.