Just Getting On With It
Given the events which have happened in Westminster during the past week or so, it is very difficult to pass comment without mentioning the ‘B’ word, but I suspect you are probably as fed up of the whole affair as I am.
The curious thing, though, is that while our politics seems to have ground itself into a state of paralysis, out in the real world away from the Westminster bubble, life is very much going on. I sense that people are determined to ignore our bickering politicians and just get on with it.
Commentators often claim that the housing market is the first victim of uncertainty, but this resolve that to ‘keep calm and carry on’ seems to be proving that even this old chestnut is no longer true.
Perhaps immediately after the referendum – and the subsequent general election – there was a pause as people waited to see what was going to happen, but it is becoming clear that we have reached the point where people are no longer prepared to delay, but just want to get on with their lives. In short, despite the best (or worst) efforts of our politicians, the market is moving.
The first reason for this is, of course, that whatever the political climate, people still need somewhere to live. Their lives and circumstances will still evolve, whether that is because of a growing family, a job change, or a desire to downsize to provide some money to enjoy retirement.
And in a time of uncertainty, what better investment is there than bricks and mortar? The stock market and the pound may fluctuate wildly, but a home will always be a home, and people will always need housing.
Of course, the other driving factor is the eminent possibility that the era of cheap mortgages may well be coming to an end. Currently buyers can lock into historically low interest rates; who knows where they will be in 12 months?
If the markets don’t like whatever deal might be worked out with the EU – and especially if we leave without a deal – pressure on sterling may well force up rates quickly. With five year fixes currently available at rates below 2 per cent, you can understand why people are getting in now while they can.
Perhaps the one result of the uncertainty is that buyers are looking for homes which won’t provide unwelcome surprises down the line. This explains the buoyancy of the new homes market, which offers new homes with little maintenance required, the security of a ten year guarantee, and energy efficiency (especially an Abel Home with its EPC A rating), which means lower utility bills.
Only the foolish would make a prediction about what is going to happen in the political sphere, and what the impact of all this game-playing will be on us ordinary citizens. Fortunately, we seem to be taking control of our own destiny and getting on with it; I suspect this might be a stance we will increasingly have to adopt.