This Week in Property: The Latest News (19th August 2022)

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

Magnificent Magnolia!

I presented at a conference with Ann Maurice back in the day. She’s the Californian House Doctor and she does home makeover TV programmes. Anyway, I remember her saying that what you need to do is go for the ‘ahhh’ factor and not the ‘wow; factor when doing up a house. And by that she meant ahh as in comfort and homely rather than wow as in glitz and gloss. And I’ve now read an article confirming that view as a house owner couldn’t sell their house because it was too done up! They had spent a fortune on gold painted stairs, fabulous wall coverings and exuberant touches and had even shared their design tips with 30,000 instagram followers but the agent wisely told them that the reason the house wasn’t selling was that it was a ‘marmite’ house. They had 12 viewings but no offers until they painted over the gold hallway, stripped the fancy wallpaper and repainted the house in magnolia. They spent £340 and then secured their buyer in 48 hours. It just goes to show that most buyers just want ‘ahh’ and they don’t want ‘wow’!

Property crash???

Rightmove have just published their monthly figures and apparently house prices fell by just over 1% between July and August. It represents a drop of £4,795 on an average property. Many media outlets have taken the opportunity to create eye catching and scary headlines about this but then if you read the Rightmove report fully it goes on to say that this is completely normal for August and has nothing to do with the cost of living crisis or inflation or the economy. The 1.3% drop in August was in line with the average drop seen that month over the past 10 years, Rightmove said and they are still expecting high price rises over the full year. So completely normal and expected then and nothing much to write home about. Apart from the fact that everyone writes home about property prices (even me!) because it’s the nations obsession. Sad though that not many people – journalists included – read to the end of the report to get the full and balanced picture.

Mathematical Misrepresentation!!!!

I was brought up in financial services and I’ve always been frustrated by the fact that in financial services you can’t say anything much about your product but if you’re selling a sofa for instance you can make grandiose claims for its quality etc with no come back. That’s not fair. And I was incensed again today when I kept hearing, and then reading about, the latest pay rise figures. Now to get this clear we’re all talking about pay RISES not pay DROPS and yet that’s how the latest statistics are being reported: as a 3% DROP in wages. No it isn’t! it’s actually a 6% RISE in pay over the year but compared to 9% inflation it means that the wage has 3% less purchasing power – on average (and that means it might not even affect you depending on how you spend your money) . I know it’s semantics and it’s actually the same thing factually but emotionally it’s completely different. Many people are scared about their money and don’t understand how it works and negative headlines and panic style of representation about finances is MISrepresentation and frightens people, often into making the wrong financial decision. If we’re going to tightly control the underlying financial services then we have to control how those financial services – and all their component parts – like wages and inflation – are reported. It’s frustrating and annoying for people like me who are trying to get some positive messages about money out there to be constantly undermined by mainstream media. Ok Moan over!

I see a red door and I don’t want it painted black……

I’ve just read about a property investor that paints her houses in different colours to create a rainbow in the street. I think she paints houses other than her own and the benefits are huge. Apparently, it creates a sense of community – so I guess you connect with the people in other parts of your rainbow – and it’s lifted the spirits of the locals and it’s also created a mini property boom in the area (Gloucester) because people want to live in a brightly coloured house. A local agent says they’re able to market these houses at a 10% premium to other streets in the city. The investor, Tash Frootko has painted 5 streets and aims to continue. What a fantastic win-win. The locals feel part of a community, it’s brightened up a part of the city plus she’s made more money through her efforts. A really positive investor and a really positive story.

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