This Week in Property: The Latest News (13th August 2021)

Take a look at what our CEO Gill Fielding has to say about this week’s property news…

Washable undies

I’ve just read that 81% of people now have a subscription for something or another and that number has risen dramatically during lockdown. Curiously you would think that these subscriptions are for downloads and entertainment but apparently only 46% is downloading or streaming and – wait for it – 8% of subscriptions are for cheese: 7% are for chilli sauce: 12% are for a beauty or grooming service and 7% are for underwear!

This is bonkers, it just shows that people have a desire and a drive to spend money. Many people have to spend as a habit and some are doing it just for personal validation or value but the rest are doing it because they’re bored!! Spending is a hobby for some but of course they could be investing that money and creating wealth but to do that they need to find another hobby to occupy their time and fingers.

I have a suggestion – do laundry, as underwear is washable, you don’t have to reorder it new every week!


The right for equal pay

I’m from an era of the struggle of equal pay for an equal job and of course this was the slogan if you like of the women’s pay movement but it applies just as well to the current debate about people working from home on a permanent basis. From my experience and in the vast majority of jobs, there is no way that a person working from home does an equal job as someone working in the place of business or the office.

This is because many tasks involve equipment or stock or processes that can only be done in the workplace. There are also the ad hoc issues you can resolve with a teammate over the desk in the office whereas if you have an issue at home you have to schedule a video call or make a phone call and that clearly takes longer than just speaking immediately to a colleague. In most cases therefore, the office worker is subsidising the home worker and that’s just not fair. There are obviously exceptions where a home worker can and does do exactly the same job as an office worker, but these situations are rare.

If people want to work from home and the business accommodates it those workers need to be paid less sadly than people who are prepared to get up and travel and engage at the place of work, otherwise that’s not equal pay for an equal job.


Winchester Wonder

Winchester is a lovely town and it now has the accolade of being the least affordable city in the country Halifax has declared it to have an affordability ratio of 14. Now the affordability ratio is calculated by taking the average salary and expressing it as a ratio of the average house price and the higher the ratio the less affordable homes are with the salaries involved.

It’s a sensible calculation and one we do all the time on all our property courses as it gives an indication of the potential house price movements either up or down as prices become more – or less – affordable for the workforce. Obviously if people don’t earn enough to afford a mortgage to purchase the average home, then they cannot buy and demand drops away leading to the prices starting to soften and fall. It’s a very clever technique and calculation that our people use daily.


As a property investor I would never be interested in buying a property in an area like Winchester, lovely though it is, as the price is just too high for the average person and that consequently creates a risk for the investor where a property in an area with a lower ratio doesn’t. I love all these calculations and formulas and it’s lovely to see this one being spoken about in the mainstream media.


Climate dilemma

I read today that the US is pushing OPEC to produce more oil so that the US economy can get back onto its normal – and sad to say – petrol guzzling path. This comes in the same week that we have had the most devastating climate predictions and there’s the fundamental dilemma of the modern world.

Our economies are traditionally based on oil and heavy manufacturing which is so devastating to the planet but to stop that economy would lead to social deprivation and loss of jobs. it’s a tightrope we now all need to learn to walk. We need economic growth but that has to be in the form of non-oil based products and services. We need to find another way to support ourselves and our world that doesn’t also lead to mass destruction. Tough call.


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