We have inflation with the commodity superspike. We have deflation with the bursting of a credit bubble ('sounds like *crunch*'). Piled on top are higher taxes and prices and interest rates, unsupported by asset prices, debt or income. Rising costs and falling income render British electors miserable as the misery index indicated in the last ICM poll.
The question upon everyone's mind is how far, as the rolling bust removes all vestiges of easy credit. To those who denied the possibility of house prices falling, there is only one answer: affordability. Once most people cannot afford to buy a house, they are too expensive. That is when prices start to feel the effects of economic gravity. Yet, before this could take effect, the credit crunch crunched. The bubble was deflated by the removal of confidence as the counterparty crisis swung into action. Result: mortgage and remortgage hell.
Banks and building societies have been withdrawing their most generous deals and increasing their rates rapidly over the past two weeks, leaving would-be home buyers with far fewer options when it comes to finding an affordable loan.
The Telegraph/Lombard Street Research Housing Affordability Index, published today, shows that - despite the recent house price falls - homes cost far too much for most families.
The index calculates how expensive house prices are, in comparison with families' disposable incomes.
The affordability barometer, in which 100 points represents the average expense of house prices since the early 1960s, hit 83.8 points in the final quarter of last year.
Now the withdrawal of credit compounds the fall. debt is more expensive and people have saved less. Therefore, houses will stay unaffordable for longer and the fall in prices may be greater for confidence to return. The high price of debt and the fall in house prices will mutually reinforce: a marriage made in hell for Labour.