After weeks of warnings and days of shocked exchanges between friends, family and colleagues, ‘The Beast from the East’ is now well and truly upon us. As we all prepare ourselves for the apparent ‘Snowmageddon’, you only need to browse Twitter to see how overwhelmed the nation is by the weather conditions (albeit some responses come from a place of sarcasm and humour).
We know that we’re not the best at dealing with snowy weather and, for some, the weather conditions are a worry, particularly from a transportation perspective. But I have to admit that I think we’ve gotten better at it in recent years. But remember – it will pass.
So why am I rambling on about the weather? Because I feel that the reactions to this storm have a familiarity to the property market.
There has been a lot of talk recently about decreasing transaction volumes – and there’s no denying that, certainly from the HMLR transaction figures released last week, that we are seeing a slight decrease year-on-year. But we need to put it into perspective and give ourselves some credit.
We still have a degree of political and economic uncertainty while we wait to hear more on the Brexit outcome, which we know tends to slow the market down, however transactions are still healthy and have remained steady for the last four years. Recent news has suggested that the number of first-time buyers entering the market is at its highest in 10 years, which is something the industry has been working on for a long time to achieve, and although there is still more work to do, we are getting there. Mortgages are being approved, removal vans are being booked and people are still moving home.
We also need to remember that, over 10 years on from the financial crash, we have learnt a lot as an industry. Processes and legislation have been improved, revamped and secured to protect against the situation we saw in 2007 – and we also know from experience that the market bounces back.
It can be easy to focus on the negatives, but if we really stop and think about the overall picture, we can realise that we are moving forwards, and that there is plenty to celebrate. Even when we see or hear something that may be unwelcomed news – we need to remember that it too shall pass and that there is always a positive to take away.
For now, I hope that ‘The Beast from the East’ doesn’t cause you too much trouble, and I look forward to seeing how we all work together to keep pushing our industry forwards.