Those poor Brits. Not only do they have to eat spotted dick, but it turns out they have more debt, credit cards and mortgage headaches than the average American. After a decade of rising real estate prices, low interest rates and easy-to-get loans, British households have a debt-to-income ratio of 1.62, according to today's New York Times. Although we're not exactly sure what that number means, we're relieved that our ratio here in the New World (1.42) is lower and therefore sounds less scary.
Meanwhile, the Times says, the real estate market is melting down in England, where more than 1 million homeowners have adjustable-rate mortgages that will reset at much higher rates in the next year:
"Home prices are falling, despite a dearth of housing and an influx of wealthy Middle Easterners and Russians, especially in London. Last year, housing foreclosures reached the highest level since 1999 and are expected to rise still further this year."
The rest of Europe might still be better off than us, though, because "the trend on the Continent was the opposite. Home prices in most European countries barely moved" during the past decade. Why? "Markets were more regulated, there was more housing stock and renting was more popular."
[Photo credit: TexasChapBook Press]