Monday, 6 July 2020

Let's not glamourise the mortgage.

This morning it occurs to me--having seen the editor of a competitor tweet about his mortgage--that paying for a mortgage may have turned into a Symbol of Adulthood and that by writing it I have continued to make it sound glamorous and grown-up instead of the ridiculous modern institution it is.

Crean and Fimister's Integralism (which I recommend making the effort to read) comes down hard on wage slavery, and a mortgage is another form of wage slavery. Unfortunately, most people in the West cannot live in a what we consider a decent home (e.g. a roof, windows, cold & hot running water, a stove) without paying rent or spending an eye-watering sum.

The eye-watering sum is not necessarily the down payment although I shudder at what down payments can be for a house in London or Toronto. Our two-bedroom flat is worth less than the down payment on a one-bedroom flat in Kensington's Old Brompton Road I saw online this morning.  No, the eye-watering sum is the actual price of the home, which is not the price you (usually with the help of the bank) pay the seller but the price you end up paying the bank over the years. In short, you are lining the pockets of the bank with the money your employer or your client gives you for your time and expertise.

Benedict Ambrose and I have been watching an old British television series called "How to Live Mortgage Free," which addresses inflated housing prices and interviews people who get around them by either by building their own homes for between £5,500 - £30,000 or by paying down the mortgage early. These built homes are usually a houseboat, a converted vehicle, or a "temporary" dwelling built on a parents' farmland. Another innovation is to form a collective with others, buy a piece of land with some of your collective savings, and then build a multi-family dwelling together (using the rest of the collective savings) on that. (Actually, I'm not sure that is so innovative, as families in North America have been doing that for some time.)

But I have run out of time before work, so that's my thoughts on the subject now. Mortgages are not a sign of adulthood but a necessary evil that falls upon many adults. They may be a lesser evil, however, than rent. In the end it may depend on whether more money goes up in smoke on rent than it does on interest payments.

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