Michael Fish showed us the harsh lessons of forecasting and taught me that it is often better to keep your mouth shut. I was always a poor student.
The respected players who have ventured an opinion about next year have at least had the nerve to stick their necks out. The Council of Mortgage Lenders you may recall stopped making predictions this time last year because they found it too hard. What festive cheer can I bring you, I hear you ask? I’m sorry but I’m going to spoil your Christmas and warn you that I fear that next year will be much tougher than even these predictions. I can see prices sliding by more than 10%.
The economy is in a shocking state. The UK may drop out of the list of leading economies and and according to The Mail, we owe nearly £83,000 per household. Over 23 million depend directly or indirectly on Government for their living. We are not just living beyond our means, we are in hock up to our armpits! Whilst this is traditionally the time of year to suspend rational belief (a man who hasn’t been CRB checked is actually going to come down your chimney?) I doubt there are many readers who really think that UKplc is anything other than in dire straights. Is a change of Government really going to make a difference? If it is, how quickly are George Osborne and Dave Cameron going to be able to make it happen?
When it comes to advising clients in 2010 I’m in predatory mood. Buyers who can raise the necessary finance, who have a big enough (35%) deposit and who don’t have to rely on the sale of their house to buy another should be savage when making offers. They will be a small but significant minority. Those who venture into the market without representation are likely to prove the old saying “a fool and his money are soon parted”. It’s just that for most people, less than half is actually their money and the other saying that will then haunt many is “that your home may be at risk if you fail to keep up your repayments”.
2010 holds many unknowns but this I do know. It may be December but the worst of of the winter is still ahead of us. It will be cold, it will be uncomfortable and the weakest will find it tough to survive. On the other hand, for the savy 2010 may well be the year that many lay the foundations for what will become their property fortunes.