Waiting for the market to truly hit rock bottom

It's our greatest fear: overpaying. We're the group of people that NAMA is trying to target with its new mortgage programme, designed to insulate buyers from negative equity.

With our houses sold, we're renting and sitting tight until we believe that the market really is at rock bottom.

Most of us have no economic qualifications whatsoever and very little experience buying and selling houses. We've heard so many lies about 'soft landings' and the 'right time to buy' over the last few years that we really don't believe a word anyone has to say about the housing market, and we are terrified to jump in case we overpay.

It's human nature isn't it, to want to hold out for the lowest price possible?

We're staying put until we know for certain that we're not being ripped off.

There's an economic term for this phenomenon. It's called the liquidity trap. This occurs when people are afraid to spend money; in this case, to the housing market.


This drives demand, and prices, down more until it all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It doesn't matter that house prices may have over-corrected by now, as the Central Bank said last week.

We tend to believe the reports that suggest there's another 20pc to come off house prices, or that it'll be a couple of years before the market bottoms out completely.

And if the potential buyers won't budge, there's no demand, and that equals even more falling prices.

On the face of it, this new scheme seems like a good idea; tempt the renters into the market with the guarantee that we won't overpay.

But some economists argue that interference in the property market is what got us into this property boom-and-bust cycle in the first place.

They say leave well alone and let it reach a natural bottom.

In that case, getting the abacus out and doing the sums might add up to the numbers you want.

The rest of us though are staying on the sidelines, waiting and waiting until we see that bottom in sight ...