This Week in Property: The Latest News

There have been a lot of change in the property market this week, take a look at what our CEO Gill Fielding has to say…

Rightmove record

Apparently last Wednesday Rightmove recorded its busiest day ever with 8.5 million visits. That’s a lot of people looking at a lot of property and I suspect that’s a combination of people looking to move once lockdown has ended together with the normal spring bounce that we see every year.

It’s staggering though to think that so many people are looking to buy and sell and I wonder what will happen when the lockdown restrictions are ended. It will certainly boost the economy as house moving generates massive amounts of work for many sectors and no doubt the government will want to keep that going.

Although I have a slight concern that people might be looking at Rightmove for something to do in lockdown – perhaps they’re bored of  Netflix? On balance I suspect there is a lot of pent up activity waiting to happen in the property market and I have no doubt this week’s budget will give support to that in some way.

It’s always about accommodation

I’ve been reading this morning about a proposed theme park that’s going to be built on marshes in north Kent.

The trouble is that they need 2,000 construction workers to build it and they have nowhere to live during the build – which is expected to take a couple of years. The park is expected to open in 2024.

One of the current proposals is that they house all the construction workers on cruise ships on the Thames which is a very bizarre solution but a solution nonetheless to the short term problem.

However, when the park is built it is expected to create 17,000 jobs and am I the only one thinking well if they can’t find accommodation for 2,000 construction workers how on earth are they going to find accommodation for 17,000 theme park workers?

As usual it’s the accommodation that is the stumbling block because we just don’t have enough and living on a cruise ship will get tiring eventually no matter how glamorous it may sound.

Very little thought is ever given to the accommodation issue with major projects but it does create an opportunity for property investors who may be able to provide some accommodation to help. If I were a new property investor starting out I would look into the north Kent area as a possible location.

Government housing plans fail once again

We all know that we don’t have enough housing in this country and every government always says that they’re going to do something about it – but they never do.

In the 40 odd years I’ve been watching the property market there has been an announcement most years about building plans and without fail they don’t materialise for one reason or another.

Today’s excuse is cost (who knew building houses cost money!) as it’s been announced that two thirds of the proposed affordable homes to be built in London now won’t be built because costs have risen. I understand that costs rise but shouldn’t some planner have built in a cost contingency to the project to allow for such things? Even small investors do that – or should do.

I suspect there’s also a political motive. Once the big announcement has been made the government leaders turn their attention to the next big thing and completing on promises just doesn’t seem to factor in their schedule. Shame. As usual it will fall on private investors to provide accommodation for all and we should thank them for that.

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