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
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific