Supplement 30 Jun 24 – Hear me roar

Jun 30, 2024

“One reason why so many people are unhappy, not knowing why, is that they have burdened their minds with resentments. These evil thoughts pile right on top of happier and generous ones and smother them so that they never get expression. Resentments are a form of hate…. What a dearth of good will and co-operation there are among human beings and nations! What a world this would be if we all worked together, and as a popular diplomat recently expressed it-played together!” – George Matthew Adams, American newspaper columnist.

Before we get started, the Property Business Workshop is on Thursday 4th July in London. Don’t miss out!

This time Rod Turner and I are taking on: The fundamentals of property investment. Risk mitigation and control. Relevant investment metrics. Differing secured debt arrangements and loan structures – and – the biggie – Scaling your property portfolio/business – why, when and how?

Thursday 4th July, in a Central London location (Blackfriars). Let’s face it – there’s nothing else on that day apart from collecting on any bets you placed if you also had the inside info! There are two tickets still available here:

Welcome to the Supplement, everyone. This week’s quote was inspired by the fact I attended an election debate on Thursday night – held at a private school, locally – and it got very salty when the issue of VAT on school fees came up. I wanted to touch on it, more from a mindset perspective than anything else – because what I saw incensed me, needs exorcising from me, but was also a fantastic learning point. All will be revealed.

I also want to get into the Bank of England reporting from this week – there are a couple of papers that are produced 6-monthly or annually that need attention, as minds turn to stability. I also want to explore an argument for our macro success over the coming parliament, that has nothing to do with the incoming Government (and let’s face it, that’s always the best way).

Then next week, politics can take a back seat while we go into purdah, as we wait for the OBR to prepare their figures for Rachel Reeves to deliver her first budget. 10 weeks. The first day will come and go without Angela Rayner doing anything of note, and she certainly won’t have repealed Section 21 on day one. Looking forward to it already!

Before any of that, of course, the macro – and before that, the real-time property market – so, onwards!

Regulars will know I’m a big fan of Chris Watkin, and his weekly UK Property Market Stats Show. Don’t miss an episode! There’s YouTube and a printed version at Property Industry Eye as well.

From the report on the week ending 23rd June – prices on sales agreed remained at £350/ft (+3.2% this quarter on sold/sqft prices)

Listings stayed >5% (5.4%) higher than the pre-pandemic market for the year to date.

Net sales were 13.5% better than the same week in 2023 (once again – election, what election?), 4.8% higher than the 17/19 average, and 11.3% above the 2023 year-to-date.

There’s more property on the market (694281) than there has been in any month for 8 years, although it is very close to the amount of stock that came on after Lockdown 1, which was a false backlog created by that lockdown, of course (around Q3 2020).

This info is in conflict with the Zoopla market report also released this week, which we will get into later on. The listings at 888676 are a little closer to 2018/19 (859228 and 848054). I am wondering whether 2017 is a great base year as it feels like many held off “because of Brexit” – but that could be my memory playing tricks on what the 2017 market was like.

Estate agency sales pipelines look healthy – nothing like 2021/22 but still, far better than pre-pandemic. This can be a false figure though, because a fair amount of this is just transactions taking longer than they used to!

To the macro feast, then. We had quarterly growth figure revisions – which are worth more than a mention and a look. We also had the CBI Industrial Trends and Distributive Trades which tell two different stories – and the guaranteed end to the macro – the gilts and swaps.

Growth. The final frontier? Not quite. However, the ONS did their “first final” revision for Q1 2024 and uprated the UK from 0.6% to 0.7% for Q1. The annual figure moved from a paltry 0.2% to a tiny-bit-less-paltry 0.3%. Services +0.8% now, carrying a construction sector that fell by 0.6%. Household spending was also UP – a positive consumption trend – even though the savings ratio (in the simple world of economics here, you either spend it – consume – or save it) was up to 11.1%. This is treble the rate at points in 2019 (and was in line with Bank of England forecasts).

Real Household Disposable Income – my favourite – also grew by 0.7% in Q1. That was the same as the Q4 2023 growth.

There’s quite a few significant revisions in the figures that lead to these changes – however, an in-depth discussion of those won’t add value.

CBI Industrial Trends reports on manufacturing, and recorded a broadly unchanged month. The expectation is for a modest increase in output. We know from previous weeks – the election announcement may have made a difference here.

Total order books improved but are still below the long-term average. Export order books looked particularly weak. Selling price expectations for inflation also moved upwards again, which is in line with the PMIs discussed last week. This chat is not helping the probability of the August rate cut.

The sensible talk from the CBI Lead Economist (Ben Jones) is that this is a bit of a stop-start recovery, but manufacturers are confident which has not been the case for some time.

The encouragement is all for long term solutions, and the overall chat around Industrial Strategy has been a positive one so far – enough talk from Labour, it will be time for action.

The final paragraph was well crafted:

“Top of the in-tray should be a cutting-edge trade and investment strategy, a Net Zero Investment Plan and more support for firms to invest in automation and AI. At the same time, a focus on building momentum behind the ‘big three’ enablers of tax, planning and skills policies within the first 100 days can give firms a clear flight path for growth.”

Difficult to disagree. The print was -18, versus -33 last month, and a consensus of -25 – better than the forecasts, but still negative and below the historic averages.

The Distributive Trades, which concentrates on retail sales – told a different story. From a +8 print in May which was great, we slid to -24, when the consensus forecast was +1. A big miss again for retail. The expectation for next month is now -9.

Sales were reported to be “well below average” for the time of year. Similar (but slightly less damaging) is expected for July. Interestingly, internet sales declined heavily.

The Lead Economist here, Alpesh Paleja, has to come up with some intelligent chat of course. His efforts: “Consumer fundamentals are improving, with inflation now at the Bank of England’s 2% target and real incomes rising. But it’s clear that households are still struggling with the legacies of the cost-of-living crisis, with the level of prices still historically high in some areas.”

Doesn’t look unfair, but can be wheeled out from now until 2030 I’d imagine. Not easy to come up with meaningful commentary every month, of course……

Consumer demand is, ultimately, on shaky ground. B2B is where it is at, and the hope and the commentary is aimed at Labour grasping the nettle and doing what they’ve said, and being pro-growth and pro-business.

That leaves the gilts and swaps. It’s been an “up-week” for yields – booooo. Opening at 3.917% and closing at 4.025%. It was mostly a drift upwards, with some bizarre activity on Friday (but not first thing in the morning).

The basic tale of the tape is that the restated growth figures mean even less reason to cut rates particularly quickly. The number of times inflation was cited in the CBI reports already discussed will not have helped – they are influential. The market did test 4.075% on Friday and clipped back – but regulars know I am often talking about the psychology of closing either side of 4% on the 5 year. This is a close above. The market seemed to react to US news that came out pretty much spot on consensus, which was strange, but it was perhaps the commentary that accompanied these results from the Federal Reserve.

Thursday closed at 4.023% on the 5y gilt and 3.928% on the swap, so the risk premium got closer to -10 bps this week. We could do with that being as negative as possible! One year ago it was 4.885% so let’s be extremely thankful for being nearly 1% lower than that.

Macro done, then. Next week the house price indices, the final PMIs for June, and the Bank of England money and credit report which needs watching and reporting on!

That leaves a few reports of interest for this week. Let’s start with the Bank. The stress test – an annual event. The most important thing to understand – these are not predictions, or projections – just a genuine attempt to work out where the holes in the system are if x, y or z were to happen – and were all to happen at the same time.

There are only two basic ways in which a shock can occur. Supply side – disruptions to supply chains globally, whether it be geopolitical, medical, or celestial! An event that causes significant increased inflation. In this event – Bank Rate rises to 9% and stays there for a year.

Bet that one caught your attention. 9%! Gulp. Remember – it is a stress test.

The other shock would be a demand shock – think recession/depression. Bank rate goes straight back to 0.1% and remains below 0.5% for two years in this scenario. Don’t get too excited – it isn’t a prediction (and you might have 20% of people not paying rent, or something silly like that, in the face of such an event).

In both of these cases, UK GDP is assumed to drop by 5% (about twice as bad as the 2008 crisis), unemployment rises to 8.5% (basically doubling from here), and house prices fall 28% (almost double the prior maximum drawdown). Nearly impossible – not likely, that’s for sure. World GDP falls 3% (typically it still progresses at over 3% per year as a rule). Commercial Real Estate tanks, as does the stock market. Longer dated bonds have larger term premia (the yield curve gets steeper).

These are “tail-risk” scenarios – very unlikely, but the exact point of a “stress test”. This isn’t for “Things aren’t going that well” – a year like 2023 for example! The results of the test are not with us yet – these are just the parameters.

The parameters are very interesting. It says a lot about the concerns and the mindset at the time. This year looks “good” inasmuch as, there is inflation risk to the upside as I have been saying for some time – and also, the supply side shocks most likely at this time seem to be geopolitical. It’s a realistic worse-case scenario.

The parameters for last year’s test were set in September 2022. I was a vocal critic of them at the time, because they only provisioned for base rate to go to 6%, and at one point just post-Truss, the market was predicting a top of 6.5% base. Beyond the stress test! The Bank had no real answers when I challenged them on it, apart from to try to shut me down/up.

They also stuck with GDP down 5%, and unemployment to 8.5%, but last time had property prices down 31%. Perhaps property has proved more resilient than they expected, and didn’t want to overcook it this time around! They also assumed CPI inflation at an average of 11% for 3 years, with a peak at 17%, and household incomes down 13%.

So there are understandable tweaks this year, to fit the parameters of the 2024 world as discussed. When the report is finalised for 2024, I’ll be sure to come back to it!

I also reported this week that I was feeling positive that there was any suggestion that the Bank of England’s preferred method of quantitative tightening would be under scrutiny – this is where they sell bonds to the secondary market, rather than holding them to expiry. Selling them crystallises a loss, which the taxpayer then has to pick up. Boooooo.

It turns out, though, that the closest for hope that I can find buried in the Bank’s website is this:

“The Bank intends to communicate any future sales schedules for 2024 Q4 or beyond following the MPC’s annual review of the reduction in the stock of purchased gilts over the next twelve-month period, which is expected to be announced alongside the MPC meeting on 19 September 2024”

Well – it would need to! But, let’s see if they stop selling the bonds and just let them run down organically. They are artificially keeping the bond price up 10-15bps I think at the moment with their constant bond sales.

The other publication of note by the Bank this week was the Financial Stability Report. The Financial Policy Committee (chaired by the Governor) meets quarterly. The remit – as a reminder – to maintain financial stability, and to support the economic policy of the Government, including growth and employment objectives.

The intro to the stability report notes what a number of market commentators have been saying – in spite of a relatively risky geopolitical environment, on the face of it, markets are continuing to price in a “benign central case” outlook – i.e. the markets are assuming none of the somewhat teetering hot wars, that are currently taking place, are going to have larger or further reaching consequences. On the flip side, you can find plenty of material online about how World War 3 is already underway!

The Bank assesses that some of the current geopolitical challenges are more concerning and proximate than they were 3 months ago.

They also see the banks as in a strong position, and describe borrowers (households and firms) as resilient under pressure (seems fair). They do note that risks are crystallising in the US real estate market (there has been much larger growth in the US than the UK – the UK prices are actually down in real terms since 2019 at this point, whereas the US real estate prices are up over 20% in real terms in the past 5 years) – and the US average draw rate on a new mortgage (bearing in mind they have a tendency to use 30 year terms on real estate loans) is closer to 7% where ours is around 4.75%. Their average house price of just under $500k compares to ours of under £300k, but of course wages are far higher – median incomes are $75k compared to £38k in the UK, so you can see the comparables – but over 20% increase in real terms since the pandemic can’t be described as anything other than “frothy” – if you compared the average rebuild costs, for example, this would further strengthen the case that the US market is overbought at this time (as a broad statement).

They also mention the French elections taking place over this week and next as a risk that markets have reacted to – markets dislike uncertainty and at this time, markets dislike the idea of the election of the far right into one of the Western World’s established democracies – causing the cost of debt in France to increase significantly since Macron’s snap election announcement, and causing some to speculate – perhaps correctly – that this might be the best thing to happen to the UK for some time. This is because, by default, the UK may become comparatively much more attractive as an investment destination and there may be an edge by not being in the EU, if what the bookmakers are pricing as a long odds-on chance does play out as the markets expect.

Being the investment destination of choice by default isn’t the best, but does make me grateful that we have a centrist party likely to win the election next week, at least.

The Bank also notes that Risk Premia are compressed – particularly on US equities. This is the reward over and above the government bond yields – and the point is that there is limited upside for buying much more volatile shares “including for more leveraged borrowers”. This is a sanguine observation – but I am always reminded of the old “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” argument.

Then, one of the sentences that sends a little shiver down the spine. A reminder that we are nowhere near the “soft landing” or even no landing, just yet. “Although financial market asset valuations have so far been robust to large increases in interest rates and recent geopolitical events, the adjustment to the higher interest rate environment is not yet complete and market prices remain vulnerable to a sharp correction.” Gulp. I’ve spoken of my back of the cigarette packet point of view that whilst the 2-year fixes are 80% or so dealt with, and have been refinanced, 70% or so of the 5-year fixes are still running at low rates – and that’s just dealing with the housing market, bear in mind.

The Bank points out there is a large proportion of leveraged and high-yield market-based corporate debt due to mature by the end of next year, which to some, right now, will look like an iceberg and they are struggling to steer their liners away from it. The Bank notes that it could cause losses that reduce risk appetite, or spike liquidity demand and affect core markets. I’d describe that as a live risk, and I don’t believe rates will be much lower than 4.25% or even 4.5% when this debt matures – although the yields could and should look a bit more like 3.5% on 5-year debt by then (which is only a 0.5% haircut on today, bear in mind!).

The Bank also notes the vulnerabilities of commercial real estate generally, and particularly points to equity values dropping fairly dramatically in the US. They note the risk of being tainted as fruit of the poisonous tree even though our commercial real estate has not suffered as much.

Next, the Bank points out that whilst debt to income ratios have continued to fall in the face of decent nominal household income growth, and low unemployment, that many UK households including renters continue to remain under pressure from higher living costs and higher interest rates – however they do calm the nerves somewhat with the next observation.

“The share of households spending a high proportion of their available income servicing their mortgages is expected to increase slightly over the next 2 years, but is likely to remain well below GFC level. Mortgage arrears remain low by historical standards and are expected to remain well below their previous peaks.” I noted where they were close to GFC levels in the granular detail when I analysed the FCA quarterly data earlier this month – but agree, the relative position is nowhere near as bad as, say, Q1 2007 when the writing was already on the wall.

Overall – debt vulnerability looks better than it has done over the past couple of years, with high risks concentrated in pockets of highly leveraged corporates.

The Bank moves on to Private Equity next – a sector that absolutely flourished and made the very most of the very cheap money of the 2010s and early 2020s. The thing to watch is the debt maturity – when does the debt drop off? Valuations can also be opaque and, frankly, unjustifiable (bit like some vendors, eh?). The Bank sees that there are some risk management practices to PE markets and loans that need improvement.

The Bank then goes on to suggest that the credit conditions in the mortgage market are reflective of what’s going on at the moment. This is them marking their own homework, as usual, but overall I am inclined to agree with them. People are not being offered loans they can’t afford, ultimately.

They close with their typical concerns over the “non-Bank” sector or shadow banking lending sector, as they often do, but as usual, have no real answers to their lack of oversight or data here. They do note that hedge funds have been increasing leveraged positions of late – learning to trade in the new world of more expensive lending, ultimately.

That concludes the stability report summary. Nothing revolutionary in there, but a good reminder of where the land mines still lay on this path immediately ahead of us as an economy.

I also wanted to take a look at the Zoopla house price index before finishing on my soapbox for this week about mindset, and tax changes. Zoopla finally sees house prices at 0% over the past 12 months (in their defence, they didn’t see much of a drop – I don’t recall Zoopla suggesting much more than a 1% drop at any stage in this most recent cycle, so they have been very flat indeed). They expect a 1.5% rise in their index by the end of the year, now; I think this is an underestimate of where the ONS will be at, as already discussed numerous times, but it doesn’t look like a terrible prediction given the stop-start nature of the current recovery from the doldrums of late 2022 and 2023.

They also maintain UK house prices are currently 8% “overvalued” (their quote marks, not mine). I think this is fundamentally incorrect – BUT, it is important to draw a distinction between listing prices, and estate agent practices around overinflation listing prices in order to win business (which really, really isn’t needed at this time as there is so much stock!), and then the price that houses ACTUALLY transact at. Remember Zoopla is operating from its wide database of market prices that people actually LIST on Zoopla at, so we need to be careful with turns of phrase like this.

They still see southern England dropping as a market and the rest of the UK increasing. They also point out that the election seems to have thrown no-one off their balance and the market is ploughing on. They have demand 6% up on last year, and sales agreed 8% up (which correlates very closely with Chris Watkin’s figures). They also point out that 75% of the projected sales for this year (which they still have at 1.1 million) are either complete or in the sales pipeline (which is simply because we are now halfway through the year!)

They see the prices of semis and terraces up, and of detached and flats down – the differences are very marginal, so I wouldn’t read too much into that.

They do see activity slowing in the market anyway, however, given that we are approaching the summer period.

Zoopla doesn’t go into much detail about their affordability measure, so it is difficult to critique effectively – however, it does take into account household incomes and mortgage rates. I have critiqued some of it openly on LinkedIn in the interests of trying to provoke debate and also get some more detail, but find myself shouting into a void, unfortunately. (for example – are they using real household disposable income, or average incomes – there has been a 4% cut in basic rate tax of late to consider…..). So, I can only speculate – and my sense is that their measure could do with an overhaul. Nevertheless, I have used their graph as this week’s image, because it puts things into a nice historical perspective (I don’t think we can accept that houses in Q4 1989 were basically twice as overvalued as in Q4 2007, say, but I have written before about the late 80s and how bad the situation was, and how it corrected itself).

I don’t disagree with this for the moment though: “Mortgage rates are expected to remain in the 4-4.5% range for the rest of the year. This supports sales volumes and low, single-digit levels of house price growth. House prices in the South of England are expected to continue to under-perform the UK average as they realign with incomes”. They also note that income growth is the key to supporting sales and demand – I would go a little further and suggest that continued inflation will help to support nominal price growth, and there will be some continued nominal inflation as discussed.

On that subject I ran a poll on LinkedIn this week. What will the inflation rate be over the next 12 months? Options I gave – below 2%, 2-2.5%, 2.51-3%, Above 3%. The votes were 13%:41%:19%:27% so 2-2.5% was a fair winner, although my personal vote (after the poll closed) is still for >3%, and I think more like 3.2% as it goes (so only just over 3%). However – expectations can be as important as reality, and let’s see how (and when) core inflation adjusts and the numbers that are pumped out after July’s energy price cap drop.

So – indulge my soapbox point for a few minutes – because I think there is a useful debate here, and potentially some learning points. I was lucky enough to attend a political debate with the 5 main parties and their candidates for election in Solihull this week, and took my eldest children along as a taste as they’ve shown some interest in the election.

It was held at Solihull School – an independent school that has been in the town since 1560. An institution, if you will – an institution I’m proud to say that I attended thanks to a 100% scholarship back in the 1990s. That does offer me a somewhat unique viewpoint; my parents had to make sacrifices just to afford the bits that were still more expensive than state education, whereas 95%+ of my peers seemed, comparatively, to come from much better off families.

That experience left me with no chips on either shoulder though, thankfully. It interested me, it gave me something to think about – it didn’t inspire me, but teenagers can be volatile as many will know. I did little of meaning with my degree, or the non-vanilla career pathway that I have ended up following until I was 24 or 25.

What it also did is instil within me a strong drive to give my children the same opportunities that I had. Sadly, the 100% scholarships are long gone. Fees are up well above inflation as many will know, but the school is not owned by private equity or profit maximisers, so I feel very fortunate on that front. When I signed my first two children up, on paper on that day, I couldn’t afford it – but on my forecasts I could, and it changed my forecasts to “I’m going to work as hard as I need to to afford it”.

Now, there are a number of points there. I’m lucky enough to have a pathway and opportunities where the harder I work, the luckier I get – although I’ve always loved that phrase and seen it play out in real life. That’s worked for me, thus far. There’s a bit in that saying missing about risk management, of course, and risk versus reward – but no saying is perfect!

So – there we were on Thursday night, and I had pre-submitted a question which was approved for me to ask it to the assembled company. It wasn’t answered very well (these are politicians, right) and I’d deliberately stayed away from the VAT topic, as I knew it would be relatively incendiary.

The event was open to members of the public, for pre-booked tickets that were free, but nonetheless it wasn’t the “safe environment” or the walled garden of the other parents who, you would expect, are vehemently against the VAT situation (not all of them – more on that later).

Nonetheless, the VAT question was asked via 3 questions, which all came in a row, and made different points:

  1. Does the Labour administration realise this will make private schools more selective, more elitist, and disadvantage people from minority ethnic backgrounds, making them less diverse (based on household incomes from different groups)?
  2. Does the Labour administration realise how many SEN children are schooled in the private sector because the local authority simply can’t provide for them?
  3. Does the Labour administration think it is right to penalise those who are prioritising their children’s education over other discretionary spending?

This was a tough gig for the Labour candidate, who is polling fairly strongly in what used to be one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. However, all she could do was wheel out the party line which I hadn’t heard.

“All parents are equally aspirational for their children.” I had to restrain myself, to be honest. My want, on reflection, was to invite that candidate on a tour of some of my portfolio, where I’ve been in the past and observed exactly what aspirations some of my tenants do and don’t have for their children and what they prioritise. It felt like a line from the communist manifesto.

This isn’t about money; bursaries are still available, although they are extremely competitive of course. The postcode lottery defines 90% of the standard of education in the UK anyway – and there are inches and perhaps a few feet between the Solihull state schools, but miles between some of those and some in an area where the property prices are half what they are here, per square foot. That’s not changing particularly quickly, and that IS driven by money, but also the mindset that comes alongside.

The ideology was destroyed most by the Liberal Democrat candidates (and if that doesn’t tell you something, it should). They described it as regressive, badly misguided, and as a policy that will have some poor unintended consequences. I agreed with all of that, whilst accepting my self-interest in the entire situation – so as a fair commentator, I should recuse myself of having an opinion.

But – this was not the “best” bit. That was afterwards. The debate was chaired by the Headmaster of the school. Afterwards, there was an opportunity to approach the candidates and the Headmaster to have a more informal chat. I went to congratulate a couple of the candidates on what I thought was an excellent performance and overheard a conversation that made the hackles on the back of my neck stand up.

A family had approached the Headmaster, and opened by suggesting with open glee in their voices that the School “might have to close”. The head handled this far better than I would have, and simply calmly informed them that the school had been around for nearly 500 years and would be fine, thank you very much. They then proceeded to lecture him about how this was “fair” and “all that people want is some fairness”, struggling not to spit with their open disgust towards private schools. They had no argument of substance behind this simple value judgement.

They are entitled to their opinion, of course – but I found myself restraining myself for the second time that night. What I observed was their mindset, and their approach to life – it spoke absolute volumes. It’s fair to assume they live within relatively close proximity to the school – so, an affluent part of the country and certainly a more affluent part of the midlands. They’ve had some of the same luck that I’ve had. My luck was also in the fact that my parents valued education very, very highly. Not equally to everyone else. That meant time spent on me before scholarship exams at a young age that benefited me greatly. That’s what I was given. The rest – I’ve had to do it myself.

It’s never been as clear to me that the answer for those who openly displayed envy, and some other very negative characteristics, is still as it has ever been. Full Jordan Peterson – clean your room, and then go and sort yourself out first. Don’t expect the state to do it for you. As a closer to this debate, something that would really have upset those clapping loudly in favour of the VAT situation, on Thursday night. The “really rich” at the school – I’d estimate 10-15% of the parents – are mostly delighted by the VAT situation. Why? Because it will make the school more exclusive. They are happy to say that in the walled garden. There’s not a whisper from Eton, or Winchester (where the PM was educated) – or Reigate Grammar, a private school where our incoming PM was educated……whilst he was raised in Surrey. Before his postgrad at Oxford. Wonder how many from the middle or upper middle – willing to strive to make the sacrifices that his parents did – will be denied that opportunity by this policy…….

Here endeth the rant. Thanks for listening. I’m aware it is a divisive issue, and would like to point out that this isn’t about private schools being “better” than state – indeed, my choices have led to me following a strategy to ensure my children spend the majority of their free time integrating with other children from completely different areas and backgrounds, outside of school, to keep their feet on the ground and ensure that they live in the real world. There are endless pluses and minuses – but what I do support is a free country where those who do choose to make sacrifices get rewards. I’m willing to pay a relatively large amount of money for what I think is a potentially quite small edge. This is values-driven, no more or less than that – and the marginal benefit of education, the network, and the soft skills I believe are worth the sacrifice – that’s it.

The most successful people I know went to state school, or were scholarship pupils at private schools – there’s something interesting in that dynamic. The biggest wastrels I’ve ever met went to the supposed finest schools in all the land, and never knew an ounce of struggle. They fit the bill of the old adage “one generation to make it, one to enjoy it, one to lose it” if you’ve never heard that one before.

I’m sure this will generate a bit of debate, and I’m looking forward to it!

Well done as always for getting to the end – remember the last 2 tickets for the next Property Business Workshop on Thursday 4th July –

There’s only one way to deal with all of this continual noise and election claptrap, of course – Keep Calm, ALWAYS read or listen to the Supplement, and Carry On!