Astrologer Wendy Stacey



Articles

The Property Market in the UK
Boom Bust or Change


In the last few years we have seen the speedy inflation of property prices reaching similar heights to what they were in the late eighties. Many people are now unsure of how the market will go. This uncertainty is affecting the market and consumer demand is not as strong as it was a year ago. It is interesting to apply the transits to the UK and London charts to the property market and examine how they worked with past price moves, in the hope, that some idea of the short and long-term future can be anticipated.

Exploring major cycles and applying them to the relevant charts is required to find some historical and consistent meaning in the booms, busts and adjustments in the last decades. The relevant charts in this paper are the 1801 chart, which would show the governmental and lending policy as well as the general economic security of house owners. Although there are earlier charts for London, the 1824 chart is included as it is based on the building of London Bridge. The 1965 chart marks the formation of the GLC. Although the GLC was broken up by the Thatcher government in the 1980's and only partially re-established in 2000, it still marks the official amalgamation of all outer London suburbs that constitute what London is today.

The reason the emphasis has been placed on London is that London and the South East tend to lead the rest of the country with house prices, whatever the climate, as they usually rise earlier and to a greater extent. This is often called the ripple affect whereby the pond of London generates waves outwards hitting the surrounding areas first and the furthest last.

THE 1989 CRASH

The largest housing market crash experienced in the UK within the last two decades was the 1989 crash, which was the worst experience of house depreciation since WWII. Before the late 80's there had been periods of extensive house inflation in both the early and late 1970's, where the early 70's boom was the largest boom ever experienced and coincided with very high general price inflation. In the year of 1971 saw transiting Jupiter conjoining transiting Neptune which opposed transiting Saturn between the 2nd-8th and 3rd-9th houses of the 1801 chart. What escalated the boom was the fact that property prices had rarely, if ever, depreciated within the living memory of prospective house buyers. Interestingly, prices stopped inflating early in 1975 when the transiting Jupiter-Pluto opposition exactly conjoined the natal AS-DES of the 1801, triggering all the angles and forming a t-square with the radical Sun in the 4th.

Property Chart

Uk_union-1801
01 January 1801 00:00:00 AM LMT Westminster, England
Zone + 00:00 000W07'00" 51N30'00"
Source: Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes

The 1989 crash affected the whole of the UK where some house owners experienced up to 30% decreases on their value of property. With the build up of this we saw from December 1987 to September 1988 transiting Pluto in the 1801 chart, was travelling through the 2nd house opposing radical Mars in the 8th. 1988 was also the year for the Saturn-Uranus conjunction which was squaring radical Uranus in the 12th. In 1987 and 1988 interest rates had been falling, transaction costs were relatively low to rising house prices, and income and growth expectations were high. The proposal of poll tax replacing property based rates was also contributory in the appreciation of residential property. The very experience of this appreciation installed expectation for further appreciation. This brought about a 'frenzy' for homebuyers, whereby local potential buyers were frantically competing against one another to secure property with continuous gazumption, chasing the same house, many properties being sold immediately after they had come onto the market, all which set a psychological state for prospective purchasers.

In March of 1989 the transiting Saturn-Neptune conjunction moved into the radical 4th house and also made a conjunction to the radical Sun, a -135- aspect to radical Saturn, ruler of the 4th,which opposes Venus, ruler of the chart. Additionally in August of 1989 transiting Jupiter opposed transiting Uranus at 1° of Capricorn and in November went on to join the transiting Saturn-Neptune conjunction at 10° of Capricorn, exactly conjoining the radical Sun in the 4th as well as the IC and MC axis. Late 1989 saw interest rates rise from 8% to 14% in six weeks. That same month, transiting Pluto squared the radical chart ruler Venus and conjoined radical Neptune in Scorpio in the 2nd. This triggered off the wide grand fixed cross in the chart. Transiting Uranus was squaring radical Uranus and -45- Pluto, ruler of the 2nd house. Interestingly, transiting Chiron conjoined radical Moon in Cancer in the 10th house. Value of property plummeted and we saw an end to the financial liberalisation previously experienced by borrowers. Previously purchasers' often had the option to borrow up to 95% loan to value of their property and often up to 4 times their salaries. In some extreme cases, people had borrowed on the anticipated future equity of their homes which exceeded 100% true value of their house at the time.

What is happening now?

The Taurus stellium of May 2000, as well as the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction, and square to transiting Uranus occurred in the 1801's natal 8th and 5th house which involved the radical chart's wide fixed grand cross. Since then we have seen a stabilisation of property prices in London after yet another inflated and frenzied time. Although the market exerted itself in 1999 and the expectation of a crash was possible, prices have tended to decrease slowly arriving at a more realistic value. People have become more cautious since the stellium than when Jupiter was travelling through Aries in 1999, when everyone was 'exerting themselves' once again with property chasing. Presently, we are seeing a slow decline rather than a crash. The conjunction brought adjustment to what was previously over-valued and over-inflated. The major crash was with the 'dot com' crisis and now we are seeing a slow decline in the property market. There is a 'levelling off' and a tendency to take a step backwards. For example, trendy demographic 'hotspots' are still unaffordable and unrealistically priced. There is a shift for prospective purchasers to substitute these areas for neighbouring but less favoured areas, which have experienced less inflation and are more likely to hold their value.

The initial rise in house prices in the late 90's was encouraged by significant investment in property by foreign investors, (in the South East of the UK, sustained employment, low interest rates and significantly higher financial freedom and security. Jupiter is coming up again to conjoin the radical MC of the 1801 chart and oppose the radical Sun which will occur between September 2001 and May of 2002. This brings Jupiter back to the same position it was at the 1989 crash. Similarly, employment uncertainty in some areas of the country may invoke migration to the South East. Stamp duty has also increased. Consumer confidence is based on confidence about personal finance, how property is financed, savings, interest rates and faith in employment. The later two have now becoming somewhat vulnerable. Fixed and capped rates, which were easily available in the mid 90's are slowly becoming obsolete. Permanent employment on the whole is now being replaced with yearly contracts and there is increasing worry for many people that the speed of technology will either leave them behind or replace manual labour and huge production lines. This lack of confidence will affect the market but perhaps not so dire as in the late 80's when Jupiter was opposing Saturn. Any other major policy changes will possibly occur when Saturn reaches 9° of Cancer in August 2003.

The Jupiter-Pluto opposition of September 2000 will continue until May 2001 between 10° and 14° of Gemini-Sagittarius. Although this doesn't make any major aspects to the 1801 chart it sits on the 3rd-9th axis of the chart perhaps suggesting emphasis on the 'system' of buying property, mobilisation, and perhaps even the decrease of foreign investors.

The timing of when people need to be cautious is probably when the Saturn-Pluto opposition occurs between August 2001 and May 2002. The opposition occurs between 12° and 16 ½° of Gemini-Sagittarius. This comes into orb to conjoin the radical Mercury. Transiting Uranus in 2001 will have completed it's square to radical Neptune in the 2nd house, and in January 2002 will oppose radical Saturn, ruler of the 4th, where all of these planets, (Venus, Mars, Saturn and Neptune) are involved in a wide fixed grand cross, and fixed houses. It also sets off the angles with -45- and -135- aspects. Transiting Jupiter, in June of 2002, conjoins the radical Moon in Cancer in the 10th house and forms -135- to radical Pluto, ruler of 2nd.

These aspects will no doubt highlight issues of affordability, which are not topical now. Buyers at the moment continue to represent consumers that can still afford existing house prices, which was not usually the case in previous periods of highly inflated property prices. Currently, 24% of buyers in the UK are actually cash buyers. There is obviously some emphasis here on the 'landlord' market or 'buy to let' schemes and is also exasperated by lenders changing their attitudes towards this type of investment in the last two years. This climate makes it more difficult for lower income earners to purchase, but of course, creates a flood of vacant properties at lesser rental rates. However, this will potentially become a deterrent for potential landlords seeking short-term high returns. Renting properties in a climate where interest rates are slowly increasing and rental prices are decreasing may no longer be an attractive or sustainable investment when the transiting Saturn-Pluto opposition takes place. Repossessions will be the telling of this within this period.

What is happening astrologically and will possibly continue to happen between July 2001 and May 2002 is a substantial but slow decrease of house prices. When the transiting Saturn-Pluto opposition comes into orb of radical Mercury in the 3rd, which is also -135- from radical Jupiter, which would contribute to some form of 'system failure' and the general feeling of still not knowing what is really around the corner. Already, householder's expectations of house prices have peaked and long-term expectations are showing signs of a decline.

Transiting Jupiter and Saturn are now moving into Gemini, placed in the 9th house of the 1801 chart. At different times over the next three years we are going to see them oppose transiting Pluto, radical Mercury and trine transiting Uranus and transiting Neptune in the 5th and 6th houses of the 1801 chart. Additionally, their own cycle has also moved out of earth and is now entering the air element. Perhaps this is the introduction of some form of relocation or mobilisation where people may move out of the city and more into the rural areas. Over the next 20 years we may expect a kind of decentralisation. With the technological revolution that we are living through it is likely that many people won't need to work in the city anymore. London city companies are already moving parts of their business's to suburban and even rural areas for pure cost effectiveness, workers will no doubt have to follow suit. Railways are also under pressure to provide a more speedier, safer and efficient level of service.

The 1824 Chart

The 1824 chart also illustrates the 1989 crash with the transiting Saturn-Uranus conjunction at 27° Sagittarius in October of 1988 forming the transitting focal point of a T-square with the radical Sun-Moon opposition, rulers of the 2nd and 4th houses. In 1989 transiting Pluto in the 6th also came to oppose radical Saturn. In 1989 transiting Jupiter opposed transiting Uranus before opposing the transiting Saturn-Neptune conjunction which occurred on the 2nd-8th house axis. During that time Saturn-Neptune conjoined the radical conjunction of Uranus-Neptune. 1989 saw both the natal Jupiter and Neptune returns of the natal chart. These aspects made buying in London very difficult with the reintroduction of council tax, higher interest rates, issues of affordability, the squeeze on lending and weakening of consumer confidence, all of which contributed to the reversal of financial liberalisation for house buyers.

Property Chart

London
15 March 1824 09:21:00 AM GMT London(1) London, England
Zone + 00:00 000W10'00" 51N30'00"
Source: Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes

May 2000, the Taurus stellium fell in the 12th house of the 1824 chart, coinciding with this chart's Saturn return. The transitting Jupiter/Saturn conjunction squared transiting Uranus which was conjoined with radical Venus in the 10th, ruler of the 12th. Transiting Jupiter in February 2001 will square radical Mercury in the 10th, which is the chart ruler. It then proceeds to conjoin the radical ASC, square the radical Sun-Moon opposition to arrive at its Jupiter return in July 2001, for both the natal chart and the 1989 crash. Transiting Jupiter then enters the 2nd house and heads to oppose the radical Neptune Uranus conjunction in the 8th, which is ruled by Saturn in the 12th, the following month. This again echo's the 1801's chart and the tweaking of prices within the London areas, particularly in the deeper suburban areas of London and the South East.

What will be of concern to Londoners is when the transiting Saturn-Pluto opposition occurs in this chart which hits the AS-DES axis. Transiting Neptune also makes an exact conjunction to the radical MC at 10° Aquarius in March of 2002, forming -45- and -135- aspects to the radical Sun-Moon opposition, rulers of the 2nd and 4th. This aspect lasts nearly a year. For this radical chart in 1989, a Saturn-Pluto opposition occurred which was Transitting Pluto opposed to radical Saturn in the 6th and 12th houses. The Transitting Saturn-Pluto opposition will come to conjoin the radical AS-DES. What this could mean for London is previous trendy and expensive 'hotspots' that have attracted buyers in the city may not hold up to their inflated value during this time. To speculate, this configuration could also give rise to withdrawal from foreign investors, those who helped boom the market in the late 90's. Mobilisation, be it immigration, migration, or even forms of transportation may not serve the city well. Whatever the outcome, the crisis will be more local than national.

THE 1965 CHART

In 1989 transiting Pluto was -135- to radical Moon on the radical IC and sextile radical Pluto, which was involved in a close stellium with radical Mars-Uranus opposing radical Saturn, the 2nd house ruler. Transiting Pluto came to a conjunction with radical Neptune in the 12th, ruler of the 4th. The transiting Saturn-Neptune conjunction was in the 2nd house, forming a trine with radical Mars-Uranus-Pluto opposing radical Saturn. This may not indicate a property crash but could echo the unexpected rise of interest rates and the deflation of housing stocks.

Property Chart

London
31 March 1965 11:00:00 AM GMT London(2) London, England
Zone + 00:00 000W10'00" 51N30'00"
Source: Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes

The Taurus stellium of May 2000 occurred close to the Jupiter return, which opposes radical Neptune in the 12th. Transiting Jupiter and Saturn soon went to conjoin the radical DES. Between September 2000 and May of 2002 the Transiting Jupiter-Pluto and Saturn-Pluto oppositions will trigger the radical stellium oppositions. In particular, they will form a mutable grand cross with radical Mars-Uranus-Pluto opposing radical Saturn. Transiting Mars will also join this configuration in May by conjoining radical Saturn, ruler of the 2nd, and the radical South Node will conjoin transiting Pluto. During this time transiting Uranus will square radical Neptune in the 12th, ruler of the 4th. The grand cross will form between the 1st, 3rd, 7th and 9th houses. This will possibly echo the moderation from foreign investment shown also in the other UK charts. The idea of 'moving' is once again highlighted. The railway crisis, which has been ongoing, is obviously going to alter people's perception of living in rural areas outside of London. The crisis is probably a long way from over but may in the long term provide for a more efficient and attractive means of travel for those who work in London. External forces such as the European City Bank could also influence interest rates, where compliance to match European interest rates is enforced. Or it may be the other way, where the ECB need to match Britain's before Britain adopts the Euro. Whatever the outcome, it is likely that the transiting Saturn-Pluto opposition will somehow scar the local economy, have an impact on the property market, and generate major power struggles which will instigate local change.

Sources:
Book of World Horoscopes
References:
Financial Times
The Economist
Gfk research
FPD's research Services
DETR Housing site
Housingoutlook site



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