Some of you wanted another quiz, which this is not. But you still get to answer some multiple choice questions, and that's always fun, right? Also some of you may have useful insights into the world of international economics. Or not, who knows. If all else fails there is always the entertainment to be derived from poking about in the detritus of other people's lives, no?
I have a house in Oxford. Its value has certainly increased considerably since I bought in 2004, not least since I did some major restructuring works. It is a nice little house, currently rented out to friends. These tenants will be leaving in the summer.
If I rented it through an agency, I would be earning about half what I pay each month as the mortgage. Managing the rental myself has been stressful and difficult. I can pay the mortgage, just about, but it is a big financial commitment/ burden and as you know I am forever banging on about money in a boring fashion.
The house price crash in the UK has not, apparently, affected Oxford as much as elsewhere (or to quote someone who knows more about these things than I, "the property is resilient" which makes me think of my little house bravely fighting a storm far out in the Atlantic somewhere with stoical acceptance of its fate). Oxford generally has an insulatory bubble which stops things getting really bad there.
I have guaranteed work at the University here for next semester and they are already talking about what I might do this time next year. Chances of me moving back to the UK in the next 12-16 months are low. And I am in the process of looking to move out of my flat.
The Euro has reached a record high against the pound, so that €1 is worth a whole 80p. This makes it a pretty shit time to import capital into Italy.
I very very much like owning a house. It makes me feel safe.
Considering all the above factors, financial, practical and emotional, should I:
1) Rent the house out through an agency; muddle through somehow financially. The emotional & financial security of a UK house is worth it in the long run and the market will bounce back.
2) Rent the house out directly; cope with the extra hassle. Spend a lot of time traipsing back and forth between the UK and Italy in a stress. Console self with the security aspect.
3) Sell the house, buy a place here. House prices in the UK are only going to continue falling the longer I leave it. Sod the international exchange rate.
4) Sell the house, invest the money in something more secure, carry on renting here. Buying here right now would be foolish in the extreme. Cope without owning a house. Eek.
5) Sell the house, sell all my possessions, join a cult. Stop worrying about the material world. Embrace natural fibres, eat more chickpeas. Have dorm bed allocated to me in unlikely suburban ex-asylum.
6) Put on a miniskirt, go to Gilda, seduce Mirko Vucinic. Stop worrying about the material world. Embrace Dolce & Gabbana, drink more champagne. Have palatial apartment purchased for me in Garbatella.
Take your pick. Feel free to make other suggestions, if you have them.