Party Lines

Daisy Waugh eavesdrops on the chattering classes

It’s not really that important to us. Unlike for a lot of people.

Nor us. Because it’s a home first and foremost, isn’t it? Not an investment. Not a personal pension scheme. It’s a home. A place to cook Sunday lunch, play ball games, raise the kids .

People tend to forget that.

Everyone got so greedy.

Worse than greedy. They were obsessed! You’d go out to dinner and all anyone talked about was house values. It was obscene. You know, when there are so many lovely things to talk about, and all anyone had to say was “Number 25 just sold for 1.3”. I think it’s great what’s happening now. Might put some sense of proportion back. Don’t you agree?

And the prices people were paying… When you think how much a Chinaman probably earns in an entire month.

Never mind the Chinamen. What about the nurses? And the teachers? The people who – what do they call them? – essential workers, or something.

Core … Contributors. Core contributors?

Fireman and people . Fire personnel, or whatever we’re supposed to say nowadays.

Right. And Tube drivers.

No, not them. They’re a nightmare. I mean the core people; the really really useful ones, who could never get on to the property ladder.

D’you know, it sounds silly, but I actually feel quite happy when I think about them now. The core people. I actually feel a powerful sense of relief, knowing there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

Too wonderful, isn’t it? So anyway, when did you buy?

Oh. Well. We were lucky. We bought during the mini-slowdown – do you remember? Sort of ­January-February 2001. It didn’t last very long.

Of course I remember! David was very clever. Snapped up a super little two-bed in White City. Above a halal butcher, which was rather funny.

Very multicultural!


Oh, right.

We’ve made quite a nice little profit on that, actually.

So – yes, we got our place in February 2000, and we were quite smug because the house next door had gone for 180k more and that was in the December; and it hadn’t even been refurbed.


And frankly the last time we had the Foxtons’ man round it had virtually doubled in value. He hasn’t been for a couple of months of course.

Well, it’s no fun any more, is it?

Even if, as David says, it may have dropped by a bit – about 3.5 since the spring, he says.

Well, but it doesn’t matter, does it? It’s a home, first and foremost?

Right. And in any case, that’s nothing compared to the amount we’ve made. I’m just furious we didn’t sell up last summer. I said to David: we could have sat out the recession in rented accom, and then swooped in just as things are getting really bloody, and bought up half of London!

Oh God, it’s just what I said to Gerald. Absolutely sickening, isn’t it?

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