Reading behind the headlines…

I admit that in these warmer climes my irritation with the human race does increase on a par with the mercury.  There is a lot to be said for the winter; am I alone in thinking it a little uncouth to be wandering along the pavement shirtless? (I’m specifically talking about the male of the species; ladies, if you would like to form an orderly queue outside 10 Chapel Street….). Back to matters property-orientated.   Headlines on Rightmove this week proclaimed, “House Prices fall for the first time in 2014”.  Further investigation revealed that what was actually being reported was the fact that asking prices have dropped by 0.8% in July.  This is the first monthly fall since December 2013. What everyone – not least the vendor – is interested in, is as always, the completed sale price.  We could all buck the trend by asking a million pounds for every property that we are asked to market; how many sales will that bring about?  The square root of naff all.  Mr Rightmove himself, Miles Shipside then poured further water on the bonfire of his headline writer’s hysteria by commenting that July has seen a fall in asking prices six times out of the last ten years; including pre the 2007 crash.

Even if one does use the highly erratic benchmark of asking prices, they are still 6.5% higher than those of July 2013.  This last statistic could have been used by the journalist Becky Barrow in Tuesday’s Daily Mail.  “Young priced out of a home” Daily Mail Tuesday 22 July 2014  was the suitably restrained lead on her article.  Apparently, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) tracked purchases in June of this year, (a whole 30 days… Clearly they felt that it would have been imprudent to use a month with 31 days) and announced that only 3% of buyers fell into the age range of 18-30.  This could possibly be attributable to a number of people in that demographic having spent much of the past few weeks in Shagaluf and other places of culture.  See, I told you that the hot weather made me irritable..  The point that I am trying to make is that it would be far more sensible to judge things over a lengthier period of time that reflects far more accurately the machinations of who is buying what and where.  Snapshots are not truly representative and can be wholly misleading.  England played well for certain periods, (admittedly the time taken to go and put the kettle on), in the recent World Cup, but come accounting time, i.e. the end of qualifying, they were still on the plane back home.