Jeff Prestridge  

Drowning our sorrows as the pubs open

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

The asking prices for beautiful Victorian houses I have been keeping a watchful eye on have been coming down steadily.

With some lenders (Nationwide among them) now restricting the size of loans they are prepared to offer (relative to home values), demand is going to be choked off.

Yes, I could be wrong (I hope I am), but it is going to be pretty grim for a while. Even grimmer if the country is hit by a ferocious second wave of coronavirus (please, no).

The role of the financial services industry in the months ahead is going to be crucial.

So far, the banks have behaved better than expected, helped by a regulator that surprisingly has been on the front foot from the word go (for a change, proactive rather than reactive).

As directed by the regulator, a policy of forbearance has been adopted by the banks on everything from the payment of mortgage bills, small overdrafts, through to outstanding balances on credit cards. Yet it remains to be seen how long this will last.

At some stage, the banks are going to want their proverbial pound of flesh and they will start chasing customers for overdue payments.

I trust the regulator, with its new boss in place, will keep a watchful eye on this and intervene, if necessary. We certainly do not want a return to the grotesque banking behaviour we witnessed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

As for financial advice, I think it is going to prove more invaluable than ever in the months ahead.

Many people are going to be looking for expert advice in ensuring their household finances are sufficiently robust enough. A green light I would suggest for financial protection specialists and wealth managers to go out and demonstrate their worth.

Rock on July 4. Mine’s a pint if you see me out and about.

Jeff Prestridge is personal finance editor of The Mail on Sunday