27th May 2018 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

Moving in the right direction

For a few years now, I have found myself discussing politics more often than the usual drivers and influences behind a mature market such as this. I suspect this will continue as we become ever more entrenched in the heat of battle when it comes to Brexit, Corbyn, Trump’s new world order etc. In order to try to cut down on the waffle and avoid repetition (the biggest challenge when writing regularly about a market that can remain in a consistent state for months leading to years) I have decided to highlight stories or anecdotes that I feel to be relevant, interesting and informative in the hope of providing more context to the market in general. Rental demand surges in prime London as supply levels drop We are seeing the first signs for some considerable time that rents may be starting to rise, with several large agencies noting that tenant demand is increasing fast in prime London, while the supply of rental properties is reducing. Foxtons, who have more offices on the ground than most, reported the number of people searching for rental accommodation in London “increased significantly” across the capital in the final quarter of 2017. LonRes data just released showed a substantial 23% drop in […]

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15th January 2018 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

Is uncertainty the only certainty?

On balance 2017 was a pretty good year. If you were able to put down your newspaper, switch off the TV and chose Classic FM over Talk Radio, you probably found the world was a relatively content place. I am of course talking primarily as an investor but also from a prime London property perspective. I believe it was the first time in history that the FTSE recorded a gain in each and every month of the year. The euro zone kicked firmly in to life ahead of expectations and some of the returns in emerging markets, particularly the more mature Far Eastern markets, were blinding. Fortunes have been made on cryptocurrencies and no fortunes lost in Bond markets, despite many strong predictions. Meanwhile, no crash materialised in the prime London property market, to the contrary, despite a continued easing off in prices in general, the very top end appeared to show signs of a mini resurgence in transaction volume. I should add however that I do not in any way look to close my eyes to some of the real horrors experienced, and being experienced, during the year or to belittle the very big issues of our time. 2017 […]

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1st June 2017 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

Stepping Back In Time

Voters!….they don’t do what the media tells them, or what the politicians expect from them and what the majority reading this, want from them. No surprise perhaps when the world’s leading democracy votes for a bogus businessman/reality TV star. The UK has flirted with extremes over the past 12 months. Firstly in pursuing a zero compromise, hard Brexit (surely off the table now) and then coming within a few seats of electing a Marxist government (with the focus so much on Corbyn, it’s easy to overlook his henchman John McDonnell who is real old school hard left). Commentators often rather smugly say the electorate get what they want and this implies the UK wanted uncertain, impotent leadership over strong and stable. The final insult to anyone who thought that they understood politics and the will of the people, was labour winning ‘true blue’ Kensington where property values are 6 times the national average. A logical explanation for this could be that the percentage of foreign buyers (who don’t get to vote) is now so high that the core vote is closer to being made up by the considerable number of council tenants that are spread throughout the borough. Some believed […]

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1st February 2017 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

What’s In Store For 2017?

In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis it was often said the only certainty was uncertainty. As we head in to 2017, the degree of uncertainty across the globe can sometimes seem off the scale. My last missive made reference to the impossibility of avoiding any mention of Brexit, as we start the new year this looks like being trumped (apologies for that). By the second half of the year we may well be fixated on the Eurozone, or , God forbid, something bigger. Sometimes you feel like drawing the curtains and reading a good book or watching a movie, one of my favourite Sunday afternoon films is ‘It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world’…..just saying. Understanding, let alone predicting, the property market presents quite some challenge these days. This isn’t to say the property market is any more uncertain than other markets or investment sectors. In fact it is perhaps a little easier to understand as I would argue history has shown us a couple of clear patterns over the past few decades. Firstly, when it comes to the broad domestic market, it is above all about interest rates and how the market responds accordingly as these rise […]

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20th January 2016 by Hugh Obbard Property Insight 0

Not quite a level playing field

As far as the property market goes, 2015 was dominated by politics. The year started in trepidation of the May election outcome and ended with bewilderment that the supposed best case scenario of an outright Tory victory has proven likely to be more painful than a victory by Ed Miliband’s Labour party. Taxing times Despite the Government facing little in terms of true opposition and thus having the supposed freedom to do as they will, the Tory party is far from behaving as one might have expected. Much is made of the Chancellor’s austerity measures, yet the national debt keeps rising and he flunks the truly tough decisions on welfare etc. With cuts in spending only able to go so far, it comes as little surprise that the rich (a precise definition open for some debate) would be paying more through increased taxes as illustrated below. An often quoted statistic is that one third of all income tax is paid by the top 3,000 earners (29.9 million pay income tax in the UK) When it comes to property, it seems the market is not to be trusted and Government intervention the order of the day with a big slug of […]

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