Here we go again…

Along with the ‘New Year, New Me’ bollocks brigade (think Davina, Louise Redknapp et al), comes the ‘New Year, New (read ‘recycled’) predictions for the housing market’. Mmmm. Pythia-the high priestess of the temple of Apollo at Delphi-better known as the Oracle of Delphi, a little like myself-the Oracle of Cwmbran-has been surpassed in her ability to predict the future by many ‘experts’of the property business. For those smart arses among you, yes, that could be seen as a contradiction in terms. First out of the gate was the pulchritudinous Sarah Beeney who has stated that house prices will increase by 2-3% in the coming months. If she is that confident in her soothsaying, why is she still running Tiepelo and arranging smart weddings? She could simply stake all her money on a spread bet and I am sure any of the big four would accommodate her. Not to be seen dwelling at the start (if he does, he needs headgear), is Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax. He goes for a slightly more cautious 0-3% increase by the end of 2018. Tell me Russell, were you able to predict that my Halifax shares that were once worth £11.00 our now worth 67p?

Hometrack (the clue is in the title boys and girls) predict lots of things and use the words ‘could and ‘maybe’ quite a lot; just as I could become Mr Minogue and maybe if there is some sort of apocalyptic day of the dead where by only tall, balding men with a penchant for garish golfing trousers and Gucci loafers who live in the NP4 postcode are to be spared, just maybe, I could become leader of the free world. Anyway, back to Hometrack and their tracking of house prices in London, that-wait for it-have gone up 70% since 2009. I wonder if anyone at the aforementioned  tracking organisation  said in 2009 that they were going to have a right punt because they envisaged prices rising by 70% over the next 8 years? Yeah right.

Not to be outdone, Lucien Cook of Savills has gone balls out for a 5 year prediction. Can anyone tell me what he predicted in 2013? No, me neither. Lucien starts by saying  that,”uncertainty over what Brexit means for the UK economy…” Er, Lucien, the FTSE 100 closed yesterday at the year end at its highest price ever. Back to you Mr Cook.

What can be predicted with the regularity of  Simon Cowell being photographed prancing about the beach in the Caribbean, or the line up for Strictly Come Prancing including someone from Eastenders, someone from Holby City/Casualty, someone old, some compete dud who has the ballroom skills of a walrus and a former teenybopper pop star, is that nobody has a $%*ing  clue about what will happen in the property market.

What also irked the Oracle was a release by Jeremy ‘I will be PM by Christmas’ (er, which Christmas would that be?) Corbyn who now wants an end to ‘no fault evictions’ ie Section 21’s. Let me enlighten you Jeremy, try getting a property back when it is is the tenant’s fault. If you ever wondered where all the social workers and housing charity workers hide, try issuing a Section 8 and they will appear like the cavalry at Little Big Horn. If a landlord wants to sell his property for whatever reason; paying for their child’s education, funding a busload of illegal immigrants to stay in a smart hotel or even making a substantial donation to the Labour Party, may I ask what or how Jeremy and his his marxist-in-chief McDonnell plan to do to stop this? And a happy, healthy and prosperous new year to you all.

 

Park up the sequins…

The past few months have served as a reminder of what a results driven world we now live in; or at least what people perceive to be the’right’ or indeed, ‘wrong’ result. This is accompanied by the regression of many adults to toddler status where on not getting the result they believe to be ‘right’ (read, the result that they want), they will scweam and scweam until they are sick. This is usually done through the medium of social media whereby the keyboard warriors among us bash off increasingly hysterical tweets and bookface posts. And… The latest episode of Deal or No Deal-I mean Brexit negotiations-shows that whilst PM May have lost in the Commons, she may actually have won the war, because EU leaders appear to prefer her to Comrade Corbyn et al. The English cricket team’s bid to regain the Ashes has gone down in flames (geddit?) and Joe Root is no longer the wunderkind who scored a century in his first test match as captain, but now according to some, isn’t up to the job and should never have got the gig in the first place. Speaking of getting the gig, no longer having the gig but getting some result in fiscal terms, we should look no further than the outgoing vice-chancellor of Bath Spa University who is getting over £800k in her final year’s salary. Nice work for the polytechnic that ranks somewhere on the scale between alright and mediocre.  Not a problem, a spokesman for the poly, sorry university said that it was, “value for money”. That’s alright then, at least someone got a result. The result that we all were most interested in came to pass yesterday with the awarding of the Strictly Come Prancing Glitterball trophy. Little fairy-like Debbie, not so little and definitely not fairy-like Alexandra and Gemma lost out to Joe who by current SCP finalist standards was a total novice at the start of the series as he had only appeared in a couple of West End shows as opposed to a continuous run for the past few years (when you have finished weeping on cue, step forward Miss Burke). And in the world of estate agency, there have been some impressive results from Purplebricks (PB).

This agency doesn’t play by the rules with which we are all familiar. Who worries about completion rates in the UK when expansion in Australia and the US are priorities? Mmm. In return, the market and the seething mass that encompasses property agents nationwide doesn’t know quite what to do about PB. The company’s share price quickly rebounds from public criticism in the media. I do recall telling my adoring public in a previous blog that this would happen; when some of my fellow agents were rubbing their hands in glee at the expected demise of PB. What cannot speak, cannot lie and the figures show that the firm now has 74% dominance of the online sector, hugely increased revenues and appears well on the way to meeting its ambition of becoming Britain’s largest estate agency by stock numbers. The crucial bit that alot of people are choosing to ignore is ‘on line sector’ and ‘stock’. My old boss once told me that a listing is a liability until you sell it and get paid for doing so. This has no relevance to PB whatsoever. Why? Because they get paid when they list it. Why are so many of my fellow estate agents squawking about PB completion rates when PB themselves are not interested in their own completion rates; because they have already got the money. To take it a step further and quote Mr Billy Crystal, “Get a f£$KIng life”.

Why do I take such a political incorrect view? A survey released yesterday by reallymoving.com showed that estate agents’ fees have risen only 4% in real terns since 2007 despite a substantial increase in house prices. They point out that while estate agent commission percentage is falling, the 28% increase in average house prices since 2007 means that the total payment in fees is roughly similar. What this does highlight is that having the most stock means  jack&*^$ until you sell it. Let me leave you with this thought. In 2007 a gallon of petrol was £3.96. This morning it is £5.52. This is an increase of 39% of which 69% is tax. So in reality, inflation takes care of everything; especially fuel tax and stamp duty. I await the opening of the first ‘Purplepetrol station’. Just one teeny-weeny point that the boyos at Team Purple would have to take into account; when promoting one selves as sellers of petrol, you do actually have to supply it…