Property market predictions for 2017, I guess?

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I read a little piece by Graham Norwood in Estate Agent Today where he touched upon property pundits such as myself and the far more esteemed spending the last few weeks of the year making property predictions. With a lightness of touch he also suggested that this might be a slightly trickier job than us pundits make out. In fact, I could almost make out a sote voce suggestion that we might all possibly be guessing. Guessing!

Oh Really?

Well I’m hurt. Frankly we are all immersed in the property market and talk to vendors and buyers all day long. We have seen it all, been there, done that. Some of us even have qualifications, (not many). Rest assured, what goes around, comes around, the past, as everyone knows dictates the future and we have some whopping crystal balls that we are brilliant at swinging around.

But maybe he has a microscopic point because in order to predict the future one  probably should have ‘been there before’ (I checked, I haven’t) and also one probably has to be a little bit certain about something. Just something.

And there’s the rub. Brexit, of exactly what can we be certain?

Will it be a soft Brexit? (a definite maybe but what does that mean anyway)

Will it be a hard Brexit? (Ooh, I hope not, really don’t like the sound of that)

Will they cancel Brexit? (don’t get me excited)

Will we just pretend we have Brexited? (that’s a thought, I can keep a straight face)

Will Boris Johnson be inappropriate with Madam President and screw all future US trade agreements? (hey ho, who needs ’em, the US will be so uncool without Obama anyway)

Will Liam Fox slip too many buddies into Cobra meetings and Putin gets the nuclear codes? (Army wives really, really shouldn’t joke about that stuff)

Will all our financial institutions flee to Frankfurt? (a little sob from me as all those potential Chelsea townhouse sales tumble).

Will the pound plummet so far that all our overseas holidays terminate at the Isle of Wight?

Will Mascarpone and Parma ham get slashed from the Waitrose Essentials range?

So many questions, however, the big question, the one that constantly chases me down the street, across the social media strata and in the queue at Waitrose is as always, what are house prices going to do?

Well that depends.

It depends on Brexit, it depends on the pound, it depends on people thinking they will have a job next week, it depends on whether they think houses will be worth more or less next year. It depends on how confident people are of their future. It depends on prices at the pump and on the supermarket shelves. And It depends on whether Brussels are feeling really, really vindictive. Above all it depends on our ruling politicians having the slightest slightest clue – and frankly I am not depending on that.

So grudgingly I have to admit that Graham may have a point, I think perhaps there will be a little bit of guesswork going on. Nay, quite a lot, nay, probs wouldn’t trust any of us. Especially the ones who shouted ” Brexit is having NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER”, on July 1st 2016 (oh yes, I remember you).

However, humour me.. I do have one surefire, rock solid, safe as houses property guess for 2017 (but please don’t get excited if you’re outside of Zone1)

In 2017 more foreigners will buy property in the UK than in 2016…

Stick that in your Cuban cigar and smoke it Nige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Buying Agent’s guide to decorating with colour.

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Colour is so important to our ability to express ourselves and where better to make our mark than with our homes. Kelly Hoppen may say greige, taupe or elephant breath. The middle classes may fawn, (pun intended), over Farrow and Ball’s downpipe. The Notting Hill set may worry that Nigella’s duck egg blue clashes with Jamies new pink range. But it doesn’t rattle these people…

Just think how delighted the neighbours must be with these splashes of colour in the neighbourhood.

it is of course the blending of complimentary colours that is so important.

To be really up to date one needs to blend neons and ice cream colours seamlessly

But back in the 1970’s that was less important – easy access from the kitchen to your horse was the pressing matter.

Oh, and we’re back again to that ‘ice-cream palette’.. or possibly the ‘macaroon palette’. I’m getting pistachio with palm of violets and a frisson of lime. Note lovely storage units for fast access to Alka Seltzer.

Patterns must not be underestimated when unleashing the power of colour, especially when mixing and matching with textured floor coverings.

and textures are so important. There is nothing quite like satin for bringing deep jewel colours to life. Particularly liking the contrasting orange table cloth.

Also, don’t be afraid of using window dressing. I grant you that stick on stained glass is ‘a little out there’ but nothing ventured…

and when decorating childrens rooms, it’s OK to stick to primary colours but do make sure that the wall mounted guns and ammunition work together.

…and finally, bang up to date, this London home encompasses the grasping of the eclectic design nettle. Tricia Guild must be kicking herself she didn’t come up with this Designers look… Oh.

…. loving the attention to detail of different curtain panels and the subtle introduction of gilt. Wow, just WOW

So, there you have it, my guide to enhancing your life and in these examples, mine, with colour.
For help with finding your dream property (for properties like above, we can recommend interior designers with paint brushes) find out more here

Buying Agent’s walk on the vile side…

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Everyone who knows me can assure you of my deep interest in all things Interior design. My home is a haven for all the latest trends. I can hardly move for cupcake appliqued cushions and distressed Farrow and Ball dressers. My walls are now plastered with great big chrome letters spelling L.O.V.E and Orla Kiely knick-knacks. Sadly, not everyone has my inherent good taste, so the time has come to name and shame.

What about the chap who has been watching Austin Powers a tad too much. The arrow in this shag-pile-pad creating a delicious focal point- my designer friends say all rooms should have one.

One thing I have learned very recently is that metallic wallpapers are very ‘in’. Might I suggest that they are ‘out’ again very soon.

resonant of blue skies and sunshine?

Of course tiling is still terribly popular. Not sure who gave this chap a tile cutter for Xmas but practice hasn’t made perfect. The reclaimed cast-iron drainpipe is very now though and delightfully co-ordinated with accent colours in the shower cubicle.. clever.

And of course I have told you before that Antlers are ‘so in’. However, I fear this chap has lingered a little too long in the hallowed halls of Liberty’s. A little appliqued deer head on an accent cushion really would have been enough to set the theme.

This example combines the twin trends of Antlers and stone feature walls.. double trendy.

Another trend taking hold is the practice of Burlesque dancing, well stripping to be fair. Think this example might turn Dita Von Teese a little green.

Lighting of course is sooo important. It should of course be on three levels but at least this chap made a feature of it.

Accent rugs are very in vogue…

…for that current Asian feel beloved of TK Maxx discount shelves department.

…and finally, for the vilest trend of all we have to end with John Lewis

Vendors! Take the blo*dy offer.

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Dear Vendors,

Working on the premise that you are a Vendor who really needs to sell, as opposed to a ‘let’s see what can I get’ tyre-kicker, here is my blunt advice:

You have put your property on the market and one of two things has happened.

Nothing.
or
An offer straightaway.

Why is nothing happening?

As there is a lack of good quality stock at the moment, chances are your property is over-priced or there is something wrong with it. Either way, it is over-priced.

An offer straightaway? Great, but I bet if it’s not the asking price you don’t take it. And if it is, I bet you’re screaming that the Estate Agent under-valued it.

Firstly for the lucky Vendors with a quick offer. You may think this is the beginning of a huge influx of ever increasing offers and therefore think you will sit back and await more pennies from heaven. Well don’t. From long experience the very first offers you get will almost always be the highest and the best. Buyers, when they are first to view on a good property will very often make excellent offers to stave off other bidders. Fresh to the market properties are sexy. If that property has been hanging around they don’t feel the need to and worry why no one else has bought it. The longer it is on the market, the worse buyers concerns about it being a turkey, will get and so will the offers. Don’t mess around with that offer, squeeze as much as you can quickly but remember it will probably be the best you get.

So your house has been sitting around for 6 weeks now, dribs and drabs of buyers no offers until one day up pops what you call a ‘derisory’ offer. Ask yourself how derisory it really is. Is it only derisory in relation to the over-inflated asking price? If it really is bad then rent the place out for three years. If you can’t do that then you are going to have to consider it, because the fact is, unless your house is in prime London or worthy of RIBA house of the year, your chances of getting more will only get worse as the weeks go by.

I am being so blunt on the basis that the market is surprisingly buoyant at the moment for Vendors but only due to lack of supply and low interest rates. It won’t last. This lack of supply is very likely to change as the year progresses due to un-employment, rising interest rates and general economic woes. When more properties come onto the market and the demand doesn’t rise, the chances of you getting the price you are offered today will decrease faster than a spider down a plughole.

If my house was going on the market tomorrow and I needed to sell this year, I would be pricing it very realistically, perhaps even under-pricing to create interest. (buyers love what they perceive as an under-priced property). If I had no offers after 3 weeks full marketing with a good Agent I would be dropping the price and I would be looking lovingly at any offer from a buyer with cash or a low LTV mortgage.

To heck with price indices and ‘what it’s worth’. A property’s ‘value’ is only ever what someone is willing to pay for it. And shortly, there will be fewer people who want to pay anything and more for them to choose from. So don’t puff out your chest and allow your ego to run negotiations.

Grasp the nettle and take that decent or even half decent offer… indecently fast.

The coalition guide to a middle-class lifestyle.

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I’m not political, in my game you have to deal with all sorts, I even work with lawyers. However, now that the Right Honourable Dave Cameron has declared himself middle-class and what with him having £70m in the bank and a Baronets daughter for a wife, it seemed to me that those of us who thought we were middle class had better up our game.

I have been deep undercover (Sloane Square), to bring you the guide on how to move undetectably through the ranks of the coalition babes. It’s never been more important to have a middle class home and lifestyle. Here’s my guide to what’s in and what’s out. All hail Sam Cam.

What’s in?

Boris bikes. For when you don’t want to get the brand new Range Rover Sport out, nothing shouts ‘I’m coalition middle-class’ better than one of Boris’ bikes.

Audi R8 . drive it round Notting Hill streets dead fast, especially when you’ve got nowhere to go.

Staff. Yes, you can call them that again. even though last year you called her an au-pair. Make sure they’re multi-lingual but preferably Mandarin speaking, East European is so last year. In addition, a Filipino maid sleeping off the kitchen is the pinnacle you should aspire to.

Ballerina flats. Blue for Waitrose, Red for the school run, (so the  Mums think you’re racy), and Animal skin for Kir Royales with the girls.

Byrons Burgers. Posh burgers and Boris’ favourite family watering hole. There are no plastic gifts for the kids which is obviously a  good thing.

Brio. Wooden toys for the kids are de rigeur. They won’t play with them but that’s not the point. They cost a bomb and they’ll look fab on the shelf

Laduree macaroons. Five quid a bite.

Chandeliers in the kitchen. Yep, I know, how d’ya get the chip fat off all those dangly bits?  Please! That’s the Filipino’s problem.

Lacanche. French range cooker. Get the blingiest one you can, the more gold the better. Stretch yourself and go for the £37k one.

Dyson air multiplier, only for show, who needs a fan in the UK anyway but they are expensive and everyone knows that, so perfect.

Daylesford organic, favoured watering hole for Yummy Mummies. Eight quid for coffee and a cake shows everyone you have money to burn, which is the point, innit.

Festivals,  Pricier, colder and far more miserable than a week in Barbados but you’ve gotta be seen there. No tents, it’s got to be a Yurt or a Winnebago. It’s all about ‘Glamping’ these days.

Flat White. Cappuccino’s and lattes are so last year. The flat white is the only one to order, it’s erm, not frothy man.

X Factor. Simon Cowell is rich, he’s blingy and he’s unrepentant. Your perfect role model, watch it.

Apropos glass box extensions. Bolt them onto your Edwardian semi for that contemporary feel of space and light. Ignore the soaring temperature and the green slimy roof you can’t reach to clean.

Harrods. Trust me, Qatari’s are much cooler than Egyptians… Watch out Selfridges.

Kiehls moisturisers and shaving stuff for men. Just make sure your purchase comes in a Harvey Nicks bag for perfect metrosexuality. Less than 16 squids on shaving foam? Shame on you.

Baby names. If it’s a boy, name it after a pet. Felix, Oscar, Buddy. For girls name it after a place. Florence, Sienna, India. I shall gloss over the fruity ones thanks Gwyneth Paltrow.

Monmouth coffee. Never heard of it? Tsk.. it’s the only coffee to have in your skinny flat white.

Garden office. Insulated, heated, and painted in one of the latest ice cream coloured pastels. Gingham curtains and you’re all set for that ‘Calamity Jane does the coalition’ look.

Skandium. Scandinavian furniture. Sorry, Scandinavian furniture that’s even too expensive for the Scandinavians, so they sell it in Knightsbridge.

Divertimenti. When you’ve been in Skandium pop down the Brompton Road and buy all your kitchen stuff here. No, £35 for a melon baller is not too expensive.

Superhuman. If you don’t have this bin, the two compartment recycling one,  your truly middle-class guests will truly gasp in horror.

Google Street view on your car Sat Nav… OK, it only comes on the new Bentley Continental, but whats wrong with that? Just make sure it’s Azure blue.

iPhone 4, iPad, anything Apple. Obviously.

Photo volcaic anything. Inefficient, expensive and ugly. Attach to the roof to make sure your neighbours can see them, they shout ‘I’m rich, so can afford to look green’.

Sub-Zero. The only fridge freezer to have. Ten grand, don’t argue.

M&S frocks, befriend the chairman to have a bespoke one made. Ideally it should have a pussy bow for that real Tory wife style.

Wellies. Jimmy Choo or the latest Hunters are the only ones to have. Multi-coloured Cath Kidston-esque ones are only for Chav’s. There.. I’ve said it.

What’s out?

Aga. Not blingy or expensive enough. As for the Emma Bridgewater spotty one, it was never in.

Cath Kidston, at blo*dy last. Seeing her oven gloves on the reduced shelf at T.K. Maxx made my 2010.

G-Wiz. Apart from looking ridiculous, owners are discovering the £3k cost of a new battery. Coming to a tip near you soon.

Henna Tattoo’s. Embraced your ethnicity?… No of course you didn’t look patronising and silly.

Prosecco. It’s the real stuff or nuffink.

Cupcakes. So last year sorry… it’s all about Macaroons for you now.

Fairtrade. ‘Fraid that’s a bit last year what with all them air miles. Supporting the Cotswold smallholder who hand washes his fake parma hams is much more Dave.

Green and Blacks chocolate… they sell it in Somerfield for God’s sake.

Prius. Laughing stock, don’t do it.

Au Pairs. See ‘staff’ above. ‘Au pairs’ doesn’t work anymore. Kerry Katona has one.

Nespresso. The beloved ‘pop it in’ plastic coffee maker beloved of Journo’s and Foxtons receptionists is out. Simples.

Feature walls. How long could anybody look at cerise and silver peonys the size of your head anyway.. good riddance.

Just when we’d learned to drink Prosecco instead of Champagne and almost felt good about driving a Prius, we now need to up the ante on overt consumption. Just think 1980’s. If your Mother says it’s a waste of money, you’re right on the money, because the ‘innest’ thing of all is CASH. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

The A-Z of a middle-class home.

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I am so often being asked, soto voce and bashfully, ”what can I do to make my home look middle-class”. To save the blushes of all you aspirational middle-classers, I have put together a helpful little guide. A hard copy is available and can be delivered by courier in discreet packaging.

Let’s go on an alphabetical stroll through a middle class home and see what you need to do. Continue reading