This Week in Property: The Latest News (2nd July 2021)

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

Toilet turmoil

When I was a child the loo was outside the house down the end of the yard and you flushed it by pulling vigorously on a rusty chain and there was a physical satisfaction to that but nowadays toilets are flushed automatically or by verbal command or by a button press and the ‘smart loo’ is now the thing to have with sales of high tech toilets doubling in the last year. Maybe it’s to do with the pandemic and people spending more time at home in the comfort of their own bathroom but the smart loo craze that started in Japan has taken off in the UK and we have, apparently a growth in the ‘shower toilet’ – and for one I’m not sure I want to be soaked every time I pop in for a quick wee.

New options include LED lights that switch on automatically, deodorising, adjustable heights, adjustable water temperature and an air flow dryer as well as the now fairly common hands free automatic toilet flush. One new smart loo allows up to 5 users to save their personal toilet options (just imagine checking everyone else’s preferences!). I’m not sure I like it. I get nervous when a voice speaks to me out of the toilet bowl (is that meant to encourage you to go?) and of course the more options there are the more chance is that it will go wrong and as I say I just want to pop in for a quick wee and not spend a while deodorising after a shower wash and a quick blow dry. My old east end outdoors toilet had its challenges but overall I think I preferred it to the new smart loo.


Who wants more pie?

I’ve been intrigued to read to today that Greggs have announced that their recent sales levels are above pre pandemic levels. Since non essential shops have been able to open Greggs have sold more pies, sausage rolls and cake than before. Now that’s weird. You can see that they might go back to the same sales as pre pandemic times but as we know that not everybody is out and about yet or back to work, the passing footfall must be lower than normal and consequently fewer people are eating more pie per person!

There could be many reasons for this: we’ve all got used to eating more pie in lockdown or we’re all comfort eating but I suspect it’s the pure joy of being out and seeing a pie shop and being able to go in and buy one! Simple pleasures have now taken on huge importance. Now I’m off to get a sausage roll.


Who’s in the closet?

We have all got used to those TV programmes where a person delves into their past to find out about their ancestry but there is now a rising craze in delving into the past of where you live. I think this is understandable. We know that when people feel vulnerable they often look to the past for some comfort and support and the pandemic has created many mental health difficulties as we all feel uncertain and fragile. Consequently many people are looking for some certainty and foundation to their lives in order to get through lockdowns and they are looking in their closets! An estimated half a million people in the UK are looking into the genealogy of their home to find out if the past inhabitants had a blameless life or a life of intrigue or mystery.

As a hobby it’s interesting but actually interesting information about the past can help sell a home as it gives the property more appeal. It isn’t just the houses of the recent rich and famous that boost a sale: it’s information about the features in a home and who might have lived next door. So have a look and see who lived in a house like yours, you may be surprised, and you may make your house more valuable.


Post Brexit investment boost

I have a bee in my bonnet about the negative communication we received about Brexit and in particular how the UK would be damaged if we left Europe. Yeah right. The predicted fall out never came, business carried on, property prices continued to rise and investors continue to flood into the UK, especially into the financial services sector, where the UK has always been the world leader.

Analysis by E&Y shows that the UK remains the most attractive destination in Europe for financial services and foreign companies invested in 56 financial services projects in the UK last year, seven more than France the second most popular location. Britain accounted for £1 in every £5 of global financial services investment in Europe with London being the leading European city. It’s not about Brexit for me it’s about the constant negativity and doom mongering that we get from the media when there is absolutely no evidence for it.

I know bad news sells but bad news distorts: people change their behaviours and become fearful and that’s not right. I don’t want deliberately positive news, I just want fair and responsible reporting of facts based on evidence – surely that’s not too much to ask?


House rises predict Euro fall out

As we’re deep into the Euro football tournament at the moment I have started looking at the respective property price rises for the nations involved. We know that the UK is sitting on approximately a 10.2% annual price rise – but does that beat the Germans? It turns out that it does as Germanys recent annual price rise is 8.1%; France who are now out of the tournament only managed a 6.4% annual rise and Italy who are looking strong in the competition managed only a 1.6% rise.

Maybe the property price rises don’t reflect the nation’s football teams progress through the competition as Turkey went out early but recorded a massive 32% annual property price increase and Slovakia another early faller, 15.5%. however it does show that property price rises are strong across most of Europe indicating that the UK’s recent price rises have little to do with the stamp duty holiday which didn’t occur in other countries.

Property prices remain strong across the board due to lack of supply and high demand as people want certainty and to feel settled and put down roots during the pandemic. It’s an interesting way to predict football results though – but less accurate than Paul the Octopus who correctly predicted 12 out of 14 results from the 2010 World Cup!

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