Supplement 090723 – Cheapest for 20 years!?

Jul 8, 2023

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or being hated, don’t give way to hating, and yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise” – If, Rudyard Kipling, English Novelist and poet.


Welcome to the Supplement everyone. If you watch the bond and swaps markets closely (and as they get more volatile or race to higher peaks, I certainly do – the car crash I can’t look away from) – it has been a pretty tough week. It isn’t the best spectator sport, and it isn’t one I suggest you take up as a hobby. Remember – don’t worry about what you can’t control. I’ve trained my brain to see it as noise, and information. I have a lot of bank debt – although the term on it is nice and long, I still need to know. I also have a very decent chunk of my net worth on paper – so events that are going to degrade that are of relevance to me.


As per the new format I’m going ahead with the bullets up front, sticking to the new number format for the purpose of the NEW ai-generated audio version which I’ve managed to get online with the help of a colleague. 


If you haven’t given me a subscribe on Youtube or the podcast platforms yet, I’d really appreciate it if you do – links are here to Youtube: and here to the Propenomix website: – thanks for supporting me spreading the word, more subscribers will lead to more and better content, and that’s the aim for everyone!


  1. UK government bond (gilt) markets are now at new highs compared to the largest points of panic under the Truss/Kwarteng administration
  2. The man who understands the current situation the most might well be John Major
  3. Some really, really bad news for the doomsayers and the bears – the single most comprehensive piece of work on house prices after inflation adjustment, and the fate of the real house price multiple (real house prices divided by real earnings, all inflation adjusted) since the data began. 
  4. The situation in America is also not helping because it is seen as a bellwether of things to come and bond yields are expanding in developed economies
  5. Not to be difficult, or deliberately contrarian, but I feel like I’m in a position where I’ve understood and (hopefully) explained this all quite well up to this point, and that we are at near the “bottom” (which should be the top in the bond markets). The gilt yields are near their top therefore
  6. Risks remain to the upside, and fragility might well be our biggest issue at this time
  7. Mortgage pay rates on variable rates are climbing and climbing
  8. My interest in the Bank of England calendar is piqued by the Wednesday efforts next week: the Financial Stability report and the results of the 2022/23 stress test of the banking system – these times are definitely approaching stress!
  9. The danger of 2 year mortgages and what we all need to do in order to get through this rocky patch
  10. A reminder of where the real problems start and finish, and a view on house prices for the next couple of years
  11. Andrew Bailey speaks on Monday at the financial and professional services dinner – I’m sure that will sort everything.


So gilt markets reached new highs this week – higher even than in the times of Liz Truss, at the front end of the yield curves anyway (up to 10 years). These are the relevant ones for the mortgage rates, and the prices upon which the swap rates are based – which in turn is where a number of the lenders’ price the mortgage market from. Not every lender gets the money from the swaps market though, or is defined by that pricing – more on that later.


The detail – the 5-year gilt hit 4.98%, with the 5-year swap peaking at a little over 5.25% – my traditional approach thus far has been to add on 2% margin to the rates, so this is why we get to 7.25% for 5 year debt. Margins could be squeezed, of course – the rates are only useful if the lenders are writing business. They’ve still got a scramble at the moment for those who have been waiting, are still stuck on trackers, or are unfortunate enough to have just come off a product – but this business will dry up, and new loans will become quite limited at that price. Why? Because it is very, very hard to get things to stack up to 75% LTV, and a lot of “new money” or those without 20+ years on the clock in this game still need to leverage considerably to grow.


The 2-year gilt hit 5.574%, although also calmed down on Friday as the 5-year did. The swap hit 6.08%, which puts 2-year fixes up at 8%+ on the same basis as below, including arrangement fees. That might be a 5% fee, and a 5.6% pay rate – but the stress test is likely to take place at 8%+ at 125% or 145% rent cover – and that’s very problematic for any meaningful loan to value. Most are gearing down, and working for the bank, for any properties below the “centreline”, which divides the UK into economic south and economic north (this week’s image) – and quite a few above that centreline, as well. 


The 7-year and 10-year have started to have more significance as this yield curve shape persists – as longer fixes may well be a great way through this period of volatility. Until rents flatten, many will still be keen to stay in the game and be basing a decent amount of their future returns on the basis of solid rental income growth over the coming years. These products have been lightly used before, but look more attractive today – I’m far, far more comfortable with a 10-year product with a 10% fee (this is not an invitation to treat, by the way) than a 2-year product with a 5% fee which truly concerns me. The downside here is that the 7s and 10s have tended to drift upwards all week to 4.67% and 4.65% accordingly, as the “stronger for longer” inflation tail (and the interest rate response) has finally sunk in to the wider market.


I was fortunate this week in that I had a few hours in the car and not every single one was taken up with phone calls! I caught up on a podcast that interests me, which is “Leading” with “The rest is politics” hosts Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell, where they interview leaders of note and interest. John Major spoke recently of his time in office, and, as I’ve harked back to, this is more of a feel of the market (and the response) rather than comparisons to 2008, where inflation was a much more minor factor, although there’s always differences of note of course. The former PM spoke very strongly about knowing exactly what they needed to do when he deposed Mrs Thatcher – Q4 1990, mid-recession. He knew that the only way forward was to cut government spending (the second largest component of inflation), drive up interest rates (the rate was controlled by central government at the time), and effectively ensure unemployment. Real pain – but it worked, and set a landscape for 15+ years of relatively steady growth afterwards. This is not a party political broadcast for the Conservative party – EVER – but the fact is at the time of the ‘97 election, unemployment had fallen by more than a million, GDP was growing at 3.5% per year, and inflation was low for the time at 3%. Labour actually inherited something with some real potential (and, being honest, did a pretty good job for the majority between 1997 and 2008, anyway – and can’t take all the blame for the 2008 crisis which caught many countries with their pants down, worldwide). 


One of the major differences of particular relevance to property investors was the property market on the way into the 1990s (which officially started in Q3 1990, 33 years ago) looked like this: prices had moved from Q3 1980 (in those days the ONS only kept the figures quarterly, imagine that – where would all those headlines come from!) at £20,857 for the average property (yes, really) to a high of £60,701 in Q3 1989 – in Q3 1990 at the official start of the recession the average price had moved down to £58,773. So, in percentage terms, that was a 191% increase in 9 years (nearly treble in under 10 years) before a 3.17% correction at the start of the recession.

The next 3 relevant price points were Q4 1991 (end of the official recession) where the price moved down to £57,435 (now a 5.38% correction from the peak), Q4 1992 where the price hit what turned out to be its bottom at £53,213 (12.34% from the peak), and then Q2 1997 because that’s just how long it took for the market to blow through its previous peak when it reached £61,946, nearly 8 years later than that peak had been reached, with significant inflation applied to those nominal prices in the interim. 3 years following that point, a relatively arbitrary timescale but 3 years takes us back to peak pandemic at this point – Q2 2000 – saw prices hit £89,230 – a 44% increase in those 3 years. Memory may now serve to remind you that prices moved on very considerably from there before the 2008/9 correction when the credit markets blew up. 


The tale of the tape, there, is huge upside, and limited downside, ultimately. The rates are not relevant to today, because double digits were not uncommon – although rates started to tend much more towards where they are today, in the late 90s. Context is really important – hence my inclusion of that 9 year 191% increase to tell the story of what happened before the last really serious bout of inflation that the UK economy experienced. 


However, I’ve spoken scathingly many times at the obsession of the media with nominal house prices, and how much vitriol it fuels in society – it is when we really get into the relevant facts that things become much, much more interesting.


Let’s go back and re-run the fun on the above, but instead use the REAL UK house price at the time. We will stick with the same quarters. In Q3 1980, an average house cost £130,218 in 2023 Q2 prices. By Q3 1989 this price had moved up to £203,122 – a real terms increase of 56% (compared to that nominal price increase of 191%). A really major affordability shift. 


In Q3 1990 that was already down to £167,715 (a drop of 17.4% in real terms); in Q4 1991 it had deteriorated to £148,557 (26.9% off that 1989 Q3 peak). Q4 1992 was £134,873 – 33.6% down from the peak – and a bonus period (compared to the nominal price analysis above) of Q4 1995 is included here, because that was the “real bottom” after the inflation adjustments of £127,343 – a massive 37.3% off the 1989 peak, which needed a 59.5% rise in prices to get back to that real-terms peak (because it takes so much growth to get back to a high watermark). Did it get there – spoiler alert coming up……..


Q2 1997 saw real prices back to £139,700 – the point at which nominal prices met their 1989 high. To meet that previous high in real terms, we had to wait until Q1 of 2002 – when prices hit £205,793 in real terms. 12.75 years after the previous peak! 


Things moved on and on, though. The all-time peak – the peak of unaffordability, fueled by unsustainable credit, not to be topped until there are gigantically long terms on mortgages, or another sustainable way to provide further credit is found – £333,679 – was reached in Q3 2007. Nominally prices are much higher today, but in real terms they’ve rarely been within 10% of this level since then. They only breached the £300k mark again in Q2 2021 – on the back of the pandemic stimulus and stamp duty holiday boom. 


So – on to today. Real house prices in Q2 2023 stood at £261,995. Not because they are degrading so quickly – depending on which index you trust the most, the number is between 2.5 and 5% down on the 2022 peak. No – this is a symptom of massive inflation, instead.


£261,995 is the cheapest house price, on average, that the UK has seen since Q4 2013. Nearly a decade. The real house price has not been that far below the trend line (although I might prefer a trend line without perhaps the last 2 years of the 2005-2007 boom, because that level of irresponsible credit really deserves to be struck from the figures) since Q2 of 1997 – which, perversely, was the eve of the last big political shift in the UK. 


So what? Well, inflation is still racing. The RPI (the index used for these figures, because CPI was not introduced until later in the game, 1996 in fact) at last measurement was 11.3%. Sideways prices for a year, with inflation cooling at a slower rate than everyone would like and than most had predicted, would soon see us cheaper than the Q1 2013 “real bottom” that followed the financial crisis of £247,354 – and thus we’d be back to about 2002 prices in real terms. 


Ah – I can hear the protestors at the National London Investment Show shouting, in the absence of any interest in a real debate – this is not valid! There is no allowance for the fact that wages have gone DOWN in real terms since this point, so houses are indeed much more unaffordable! (Of course, they wouldn’t actually be shouting this – because these protests are not about debate at all. They don’t want to accept that economically, in times of massive inflation, it is very typical for the rent cycle to lag behind other price increases by about 18 months, nor do they want to volunteer their 8-11% pay rises in the past few months to their landlord, despite those being driven almost completely by inflation, because they certainly haven’t been driven by economic growth).


So – have they? Back to our darling ONS. They publish an “AWE” number (average weekly earnings), and index, and have done since Jan 2000 – so I’ve also used some data from another website, Our World in Data (OWID), in order to splice together the answers for the same periods, yet again, above.


The AWE is measured in pounds sterling, for reference. We will stick to quarters, because it should fit in with the analysis thus far – although the figures pre-2000 are actually per year on OWID, rather than quarters. I’ve also multiplied the AWE by 52, in order to make it more meaningful, because we tend to understand salaries better. These are all rooted in 2015 £, so today’s are a fair bit higher because of recent inflation – whereas in the 80’s and 90’s they were quite a lot lower, because there’s been significant inflation since then of course.


In 1980 the real AWE was £259.03, making an annual salary in 2015 real terms of £13,469.56. The real house price of £130,218 was therefore 9.67 times the real average salary – and remember, the nominal house price at the time was £20,857 on average. In 1989 the real AWE had moved forwards to £350.72 – an epic growth of 35.4% in 9 years – annualised, this was £18,237.44. The real house price of £203,122 was now 11.14 times average salary. A movement upwards – unwelcome, perhaps, but nothing like the nominal tale of the tape showed with the 191% increase in house prices.


Our next stops are 1990, ‘91, ‘92, ‘95 and ‘97 from the above. The figures and multiples – in order – were £18,848.44 and £167,715 – 8.9 times the real average, and hence more affordable than 10 years before, in 1990. By ‘91 this was £18,891.60 and £148,557 – taking the multiple down to 7.9 times. In ‘92 this was £19,206.20 and £134,873 – the multiple was down to 7 times in real terms. In ‘95 real salaries were up to £19,750.12 with real house prices down to £127,343 – 6.4 times real salary! Rounding off the 90’s, in ‘97 the real salary had moved to £20,495.28 and real prices were back to £139,700 – moving the multiple back to 6.8 times. 


When that real price hit its previous 1980s peak, in 2002 – the average salary had moved to £24,048.96 and the real house price was at £205,793 – so we were back to 8.6 times for the multiple. In the mighty peak of ‘07, when real salaries hit £27,127.36, but real prices had hit £333,679, the 12.3 times real multiple that we hit is a record for the sample.


This data offers us a real chance to answer a few of the tropes that hang around in the mainstream media, mostly based on economic trickery, or incompetence – you decide. I’ll continue bringing this forward but just note here the average real salaries in the past 5 years (2023 is only based on 4 months of data, thus far, so caution is needed). In 2018 the average real salary was £25,584 – not back to the 2007 high – but the real house price was £285,465 – so a real multiple of 11.16 times. Historically on the high side from our recessionary sample, but nearly exactly the same as 1989. 


In 2019 average salary was £26,000 – with an average real house price of £279,838 – moving the multiple back down to 10.8 times. In 2020, average real salary moved to £26,156, and real house prices to £285,566 – 10.9 times. In 2021 average real salary was up to £27,092 – nearly back to the ‘07 peak – but real house prices had moved to £299,873 as prices accelerated in the market. Back to 11.07 times on the multiple.


2022 might surprise. Real house prices moved to £295,256 – that’s right, down in real terms, mostly because inflation was already so very high – and real wages moved back down to £26,572 as inflation also took its toll on them. This kept the multiple very stable, actually, at 11.11 times. 2023 – and this is only based on a small amount of data, remember – sees real price right now at £261,995 as discussed – and real salaries at £26,312. 9.96 times on the multiple – and in the midst of all the context provided here, you can see that is not historically high. 


Worth noting also that real prices are guaranteed to deteriorate in this third quarter of 2023, as inflation likely knocks real prices down to something like £255k, or so, as I see the figures. It is also likely to have kicked real wages back up a little, to make up for some of the inflation degradation as quite so many pay rises were effected in April – so I’d see average real salary at perhaps £26.5k or so, putting the “right now” multiple at about 9.6 times. 


It’s irresistible, with this much data at my fingertips, not to make a few more comments before I move on to rents. Firstly – you can understand the frustration of the populace right now, and the justification for industrial action, also, to an extent. The economy has bounced back from 2008 – and just about endured 2020, although lives on a knife edge at the moment – but that hasn’t filtered through into real wages. It look a long time to get back to 2007 levels on house prices – but in real terms salary, although we touched the 2007 levels in 2021 and 2022 at points, we have not stayed there. The growth, which was really meteoric in the post-war period all the way to 2007 in real wages, simply has not endured. Real wages went up a mere 16% between 1750 and 1850 – 134% between 1850 and 1950 – and then 272% between 1950 and 2000. We got used to much more and more meteoric rises as the middle class was built.


In the 23 years since the millennium we have seen about 16% growth. To go from 272% in 50 years to 16% in nearly half that time, with productivity flat for much of that period, tells a big story as to why there is so much press around the fate of the “common man” in recent times. However, the data also shows that the construction of the narrative around house prices, for the past 40 years or so, is relatively nonsensical or certainly not based in fact.


Anyway – rents. I’ve looked at the path of rents since the data began at the ONS which is January 2005, and covers England rents only. Somewhat limited, but there is no other reliable source here that I can use. The highlights in a moment – since we are so far in – and bear in mind, the ONS measures tend to underestimate the movement of rents in real time, as they measure existing and new tenancies – to understand new rents, i.e the rents achieved on a new tenancy, the Homelet index is much more reliable (showing a 10.4% increase in rents on new tenancies around the UK, past 12 months). 


Notable conclusions from ONS figures: Since Jan 2005, rents in England are up 46.5% as of May 2023. Average weekly earnings before we apply inflation are up 71.6%. Since inflation affects both in the same way, this is an equally valid comparison here – which is fairly exceptional news and not in line with the current media narrative either. Because the ONS rents are lagging behind inflation – since rents are “sticky” during tenancies, as many prefer not to put them up – the move in favour of affordability has been significant, particularly in the recent years of wage inflation.


Great news, I hear the landlords cry. Well – it isn’t bad and it is better than the alternative. We do, for a really robust piece of analysis, need to include the other essential costs of running a household. If we limited those to food and energy prices, you’ll see where this might be going. The share of the pie that has been going to rent has been steadily decaying, regardless of what any news outlets might say, and is actually about 9% down as a percentage of wages spent on rent since pre-pandemic. Remember the figures are lagging by a couple of months – but that will surprise many. Also, homelet’s latest figure for new rents – 10.4% up over 12 months – is more than double the ONS’s latest figure of a 5% increase – but both can, and will, be correct.


Undeterred by the task of trying to get this as right as possible, within the confines of my time and abilities of course, I looked at food prices and found some more interesting data. In nominal terms, food was actually the same price in July 2017 as it was in October 2012 – it did not go up for over 4.5 years. Despite recent meteoric rises of 19% and the likes – we are actually 24.54% ahead of where we were in October 2012 (The ONS were not isolating the food component before that date, I’m afraid – or if they were, I cannot find them on the website). 


In terms of energy – the same date constraints apply, but the data tells a different story. Recent, ravaging inflation – yes, we know about that. Gas and electricity part company however in their overall performance over time, although both today are about 120% and about 110% more expensive than they were in October 2012. Gas was actually cheaper than its October 2012 price as late on as January 2022, if you can believe that – so all of that 120% has come in the past 18 months or so. Electricity has more crept up over time, in Jan ‘22 it was already 44% up on the October ‘12 price, although it has also moved forward very quickly, of course.


So – the tale of the tape – as good as we are going to get without writing a full and robust academic paper on this topic. If we take October 2012 as our start point – simply constrained by the available data:


Average wage is up 40.3%. Great Britain rents (ONS data improves to allow this, as more reflective than just England) are up 24%. Energy is up around 115%. Food inflation is up 24.5%. The historical percentage are up for grabs – because the data is far from perfect – but, the average household would spend around 11% on food, and around 7% on energy, and around 30% on rent or shelter costs back in October 2012. 


If you move those numbers around in terms of their significance: using an index to make the example. Average wage moves from 100 to 140.3. Average rent moves from 30 (30% of 100) to 37.2 (increased by 24%). Average food moves from 11 to 13.7. Average energy moves from 7 to 15.05. 


So in 2012 you have 100 – and after rent, food and energy bills you have 52 left. (48% gone in absolute bare essentials, 52% left). In 2023 you have 140.3, and after rent, food and energy bills you have 74.35 left (47% gone in essentials, 53% left). 

Drawing some further conclusions before finally moving on – this leaves room for optimism as far as affordability is concerned. Wages have, against all press, outstripped the cost of essentials – but only just. Prices are dropping on energy (17% as of the first of July) which has not filtered through into the above analysis yet. Food prices are also dropping. Rents are not – of course – but the number spent on rents is reportedly more like 28% at the moment, leaving room for rental prices to move forward and still be affordable. 


In an effort not to take your entire Sunday (or midweek, if you are catching up) I will attempt a much more brief summary of my remaining points, having completed that rather epic piece of data work.


The US bond market has also caught on to the fact that there really are more hikes in the interest rate coming before the Fed are done on this cycle, and that the cracks in the economy are not quite there as yet. The inflation is “stronger for longer” and there’s less tolerance for inflation in the US than there is in the UK where we’ve traditionally had a slightly higher rate of inflation quite naturally (due to currency differences and the long-term deterioration of sterling, apart from anything else). The week in the US has been pushing yields back to somewhere near their highs, which in turn has also made the moves in the UK even stronger, mostly because the US has been well in front of the UK in terms of pace of policy change on interest rate and other inflation-related counter-measures.


So – I’ve been talking about inflation being overly high since February 2021, and banged the drum on fixing mortgages back last year when yields were so very low. I’ve taken my own medicine and am sitting looking at a much prettier debt position, overall, than I otherwise would have been. We’ve got to the stage where we celebrated a 5-year fix at 1.5% arrangement fee and 5.34% pay rate, this week, when it finally got to offer – after the same bank had weasled out of newer deals where valuations had been paid for but not carried out yet. That’s where we are, as of today – that deal leaves it worthwhile holding those assets but only on forecasted rent growth, really, which as per the above, still looks like it has healthy potential over the next 5 years. 

As in the bullet – I am not saying this to be difficult, but more observing the typical nature of the market. The market has finally realised what I’ve been talking about for nearly 2.5 years, and now is panicking because it hasn’t seen the top. However, with all the components of CPI other than service price inflation going downwards, Rishi’s pledge on “inflation” is licked. Core inflation is harder to predict, but a combination of watching the patterns in other countries and looking at the base effect maths tells me that I feel core is going to hit a peak of around 7.4% and then start to come down – but painfully slowly.


Just to be on the downside, though, a couple of months in a row, will ease the yields at the pressure they are under – when it comes to core. Some of these government bonds, to institutions that have liabilities on a monthly basis, such as insurers or pension funds, look very, very attractive indeed. Yields approaching 5% for 30 years basically mean pension fund trustees can almost pack up, job done. Historically these yields are high, even in an environment where interest rates were normalised – the longer term (10+ year, perhaps 20+ year) trend will be for interest rates to come right back down to 1% or lower, which would make 30-year gilts bought today at 4.8% look very wise indeed, in my view. This is the point of keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs.


I’m quite positive there – but also feel the need to caveat this. Our biggest problem at this time is fragility, or sensitivity to overseas events. A small problem, right now, could cause a big shockwave. We are not in any sort of position to withstand any particular economic shock. This is why I have to say – the risks remain to the upside. I was surprised this week that some respected property commentators are not up to speed with the mortgage market situation – this is a fast-moving event and the data table to be watching is the quoted rates database from the Bank of England. They quote a whole number of pieces of data, but, as I’ve mentioned time and again, pay rates above 5.5% are what will put pressure on. Pay rates above 7% are markedly different – and the variable price rate reported by the banks on aggregated this month touched 7.54%. As recently as November ‘21 this number was 3.59%, and it has just gone up consistently since then but really started moving in the past 9 months or so. Average salary is up 26.4% in the past 5 years, but that’s a 37.1% increase over and above the stress tested rate which applied to the vast majority of mortgages since 2012 after the mortgage market review. And it is still rising. And that only covers those coming off 5-year fixes.


This puts the stress into stress test, and that’s why I’m so keen on seeing what the Bank of England produces this week. They release the results of their most recent stress test on Wednesday coming. The problem will be that it will already be out of date – and with that in mind, it will be very interesting to see exactly what parameters they have applied to the stress test. We are already at “stress” in my view, and I know that the Bank really isn’t going to like raising rates to 6%, despite some now crying 7% is probable – I don’t think it is very likely, and is more in the “overreaction” camp – but it is unfortunate to even be giving that conversation any oxygen at all!


I’m minded at this point to develop my recent assassination of the 2-year mortgage product. It needs to be retired into the dust – because it just doesn’t allow for any downside volatility to speak of. At the very least, the stress tests on the 2-year need to be significantly beefed up. If you bought in the hot 2021 market, and overpaid (many will have done) – you are looking at negative equity looming, and coming off a potentially 1% pay rate onto a 7.5%+ variable rate. Wages have moved up 12.5% in that time, but that will be cold comfort. There should be a wealth warning on 2-year products! Vendors in that situation are likely to need option agreements, but no-one will want to take over the mortgage – which does not provide for ideal solutions. We are talking to a number of vendors at the moment who need to go to pocket to make a deal work, and not everyone is in the position to be able to do that – but they are losing bombs every month on these variable rate loans that are positioned at 4.5 and 5% above the base rate.


So what do we need to do? Sit tight and wait for yields to calm a little – sure. The likely timeframe of that, however, looks like about 3-4 months time and that could also drift. Not good for those of nervous disposition. Doesn’t my analysis above prove that property is actually cheap, right now, in a historical context? Sure, but when the market is bearish it takes many years to turn.

Go back to the 90s one more time and you’ll see that whilst economic performance was really improving from early 1994, the property market really didn’t start to recover until 1997. There was a lag, and that lag still exists to this day. Rents will keep on moving, but capital values are likely to move sideways and a little downwards for the next couple of years, in my view. The buying opportunities are great, if you can get workable leverage and you need it. If you are a cash buyer, then the rental growth opportunities are really significant. 


However, many are likely to try and wait it out. Those who are not motivated will soon be minded not to sell. I wrote late last year of the chance of a really significant drop in the number of transactions this year, and I think now we are in that territory. There are plenty of pieces of stock on the open market in many locations, although quality and scarcity are still selling very well, as they often do in any environment. Transaction numbers always drop first, because those not highly motivated simply do not want to take a bath – similarly, those who can buy in cash would rather try not to catch the falling knife. All that makes a sideways and downwards market more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than anything – affordability is actually in good shape in real terms as evidenced, but emotion is stronger than data, always, in the wider market.


That only leaves my final thoughts on the Governor of the Bank of England’s speech to the financial and professional services dinner on Monday. A potential to steady the ship, and exude confidence and ability? It sure is, but I suspect it will be anything but. He’s the equivalent of the Premier League manager you don’t want to fire because he has a long-term fixed contract, and it will cost too much – the reality is, at some point, the club works out that it will cost a lot more to keep him in post if he gets them relegated, which is where our credit rating is currently headed as a nation. Off with his head!


Best, though, to simply observe, and keep that motivation and work rate up – deals are coming through, our biggest problem is compartmentalising to those that are motivated and realistic – because the vast majority are not. There is only one way forwards……. Keep Calm and Carry on!


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