A mortgage of convenience?

I RETURNED from my fact- finding mission to California to discover the Snug Bar at the Fount of All Knowledge awash with champagne.

My assumption that this was in celebration of my safe return was mistaken. In fact, the merriment was in recognition of the decision by two of the regulars to tie the knot. Pedro and Grumpy Spice are getting married. Pedro claims that this was the price to be paid for cancelling a family barbecue in order to watch the World Cup third-place play-off between Croatia and Holland. I am not convinced.

My guess is that it is more a marriage of convenience. Pedro has for a long time worried not just about premature hair loss but also about housing. He figures that it will be easier to find somewhere to live as a married couple than as a pair of sinners.

I am not persuaded by his logic. There may have been a time in the dim and distant past when there was some kind of nuptial premium but not any longer. There may be mortgage products and housing packages for newly weds but I am not aware of them. The only incentives I am aware of are aimed at first-time buyers not first-time betrothals.

Years ago there was a significant tax disincentive to getting married. Those were the days when mortgage relief was available to two single people but only one married couple.

Nigel Lawson put an end to all that and created a most unfortunate housing boom in the process. That boom became the bust from which the market is still recovering.

Indeed the morality tax imposed by Mr Lawson is one of the reasons why I have found it so difficult to find somewhere to live. The most recent boom has been based on a grim determination by estate agents to put the last housing slump well behind them.

So while the Marriage of Pedro will be greeted with fiscal neutrality as far as his mortgage is concerned, I am not convinced that he will find any other great housing benefits awaiting him after the honeymoon. He can expect no special treatment from the estate agent fraternity. If anything, they frown upon newlyweds. "Today's fiancee is tomorrow's divorcee" is their motto and divorcees are notoriously bad for house prices. A distressed relationship becomes a distressed sale at knock-down prices. That is bad for business.

Nor can he expect preferential treatment from vendors. The sight of a homeless newlywed couple does not tug at the heartstrings of those whose interest stretches not far beyond early completers, those without a chain and cash buyers.

There is no doubt that mortgage providers will be pleased to see both Pedro and Grumpy Spice but that is very much in their capacity as first- time buyers rather than as bride and groom.

Still it is not for me to inject a chilling reality into the warmth of their celebrations. Besides, I am told that the wedding breakfast is expected to be "a bit of a do". I have no intention of putting my invitation to that in jeopardy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'