Feeling the crunch: The winners and losers
Thursday 07 August 2008
Winner: Campsite owner Joanne Bridgen, 48
Camping is definitely "in" at the moment. It's so expensive to go abroad and no one now has got the money to just splash it about: they think about their summer holiday and realise, crikey, that it's going to cost them £2,500 for a week with the family – but here it's a couple of hundred and everyone has a great time. One client told me that he usually takes his family to Tuscany in August but they're not going this year because diesel alone would cost him £600, so he's coming here and saving himself a fortune. He's rebooked for a fortnight. Business is up 15 per cent on last year despite the bad weather and I think it'll keep improving.
We bought our campsite at South Lytchett Manor 18 months ago and invested heavily in the facilities. Campers these days expect the facilities of a four-star hotel and that's what we give them. Our showers and loos are top of the range and spotless; there are professional hairdryers and even fresh flowers. We also invested in TV hook-ups, which has gone down very well with caravanners. We're three miles from Poole and we get all sorts of people, some with a £20 tent and some with top-of-the-range motorhomes but there's no snobbery.
Winner: Regional managing director of Aldi, Graham Hetherington, 39
Our sales are up by 30 per cent on this time last year, and customer numbers are up by the same amount. Half our customers are now from the affluent ABC1 shopper profile, people you'd typically find in Sainsbury's or Waitrose. It's the biggest customer shift away from the big four supermarkets in almost 20 years. It's massive.
You can see more Audis in the car park. But what brings it home it for me is that Aldi trades at its best in the most affluent areas. Our bestselling frozen line is a lamb shank. That's a reflection of the customers that we've got.
More affluent customers also tend to buy more fresh products, so our fruit and veg sales are up 80 per cent. We have about 400 stores in the UK now, but we're going to open a new store a week for the foreseeable future.
We sell our own-label products at a discount of 20 to 30 per cent on what you'd spend in supermarkets. That can save a family £1,000 to £1,500 a year. The crunch makes us an obvious choice.
Loser: Estate agent Charles Peerless, 40
We've increased our stock by 40 per cent, but buyers are down by 50 per cent, and it was particularly tough between March and June this year. Viewings are back up now, but we're still well down on last year. I'm lucky to be in London. I really wouldn't want to be working in Birmingham, Cardiff or Manchester at the moment. There are buyers here, but they're all bombarded by negative publicity and are told they'd be mad to buy now, which I don't agree with. It's harder for buyers to finance themselves, but you can still get mortgages.
Borrowers should never have been being offered 100 per cent mortgages in the way that they were. The interesting thing is that the last time there was this kind of boom, before a bust, 100 per cent mortgages were being offered. When the bust came, everyone said that they wouldn't let it happen again – and yet here we are. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing didn't happen all over again in 12 years' time. To anyone who lived through the recession of 1990 or 1991, the situation at the moment isn't that bad. Back then, it was just grim.
Loser: Managing director of house builder Berkeley Group, Tony Pidgley, 61
The short answer is this: the credit crunch is there and if you can't get mortgages of course it is going to affect your ability to sell houses. From my point of view, we won't see a recovery in our business until we see a recovery in mortgage availability. Of course it has affected my business. We had lived in a market for 15 years that had hundreds of mortgage products. At the moment you can get a mortgage, but it takes you three months to sort out. So we have got a bottleneck in the process and until it's finished we are in trouble.
Winner: Insolvency solicitor Richard Curtin, 47
I've just got back from holiday and I printed out my emails and the stack was about a foot high. The fall-out from a credit crunch for someone in my line of work is a lot more mortgage fraud cases and bankruptcies. When there's a lot of credit, as there was 18 months ago, people are tempted to overstate their earnings on their mortgage applications in order to borrow more. Then when you have a downturn and interest rates go up, they can't afford their monthly repayments and that's when they get uncovered.
And then there are those who simply feel that they are entitled to a higher standard of living than they actually are. I've seen cases of amazing levels of credit card indebtedness – between £20,000 and £50,000 is not uncommon. So many people bury their heads in the sand, which is a mistake: creditors are much more likely to listen if you deal with them early. I see a lot of sad cases, but it's difficult to have sympathy with some people.
With hindsight, lenders should probably have been more cautious, but it would have been a brave bank that operated a more conservative lending policy at the time. I don't think all the insolvencies have come through yet – we will see a lot more in the second half of September and in the last quarter of this year. There is going to be a lot of pain. A lot of people are going to have a miserable Christmas.
Winner: Mathew Hendon, 28, product manager for an orthopaedic company
I've been saving since I started working and also got some bonuses from my job. I paid off some uni debts, bought a house, did it up a bit and then I was left with a lump sum that I didn't really know what to do with. I was conscious that interest rates are going up, which is pretty painful if you're borrowing, but if you're saving it's really good news.
I went on to moneysupermarket .com and had a look around and found a Cahoot account with Abbey. I ended up with about £5,000 to save, and the interest rate is just over 7 per cent – anything over 7 per cent is good. I had a look at a few applications and picked the one that was easiest as I'm a little bit lazy. I really enjoy skiing, which is pretty expensive, a bit like setting fire to money and throwing it out of a car window, so I might use it for my next skiing holiday. Or, when I'm 30 next year, I might buy myself a present and have a decent party. And there's always my partner – I'm sure she can think of lots of things to do with the money!
Loser: Animal ambulance worker Suzanne Waller, 45
There's been a sharp increase in the number of abandoned dogs here in Halifax. The rescue centres we work with are choc-a-block. Kennels are full to the brim. People can't take in foster dogs because there's no space, and a lot of them have to stay in the pounds. A lot of people don't even hand the dogs over and say, "Sorry, we can't afford them"; they just open the door and let them go. We found one dog tied to a park bench.
We've had to put our prices up just to cover our fuel bills. In November we were paying about £400 per month for fuel. Now it's £700 a month. We've noticed a drop-off in demand since we put up our prices.
Some breeders have stopped breeding because they're getting no requests for puppies. They have to hand their dogs over to rescues because there's no demand for them, even though they're quality dogs.
A lot of people want younger dogs from the rescue centres, but there are a lot of older dogs out there as well. People have had them for years, and all of a sudden they're out on the street.
Keeping a dog can cost as little as £10 a week, but I've got four German shepherds. What with food and insurance, I spend between £150 to £200 per month on them. But if I was struggling for money, the dogs would still get fed before me – and so would my two kids!
Loser: Debtor, Mark, 35
We bought our house on a 100 per cent mortgage. It seemed like the best thing to do at the time. We had just had another baby.
We were also spending on credit cards. We paid for a new car with the cards and juggled payments between them. Things started going wrong for us late last year, when interest rates started going through the roof and we couldn't afford the mortgage payments, plus the credit cards, plus bills and school fees for the kids. It got out of control and we ended up owing £60,000 with no way of paying it off.
We've had to sell the house and we've learnt our lesson – we won't borrow that much on credit again.
Winner: First-time buyer with large deposit Tim Fuller, 27
I had an offer accepted on a two-bedroom flat in a Victorian conversion house for £245,000 earlier this year. Normally I would have expected to pay a lot more. It was on the market for £260,000. The news about the credit crunch influenced me to go out and get somewhere and to push for something for a better price. At the time I was looking there were lots of places on the market and many of them are still on the market now. I am obviously really happy about how it worked out. But I had £50,000 saved up for the deposit, which allowed me to meet the conditions of the mortgage lender.
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 2 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 4 Amy Winehouse unpublished 2004 interview: ‘Ten years from now I’ll be 30, so I’ll maybe have one baby’
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
iJobs Money & Business
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...
£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...
Day In a Page
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar