July 26, 2013

Bob Hunt is chief executive of Paradigm Mortgage Services


Whisper it quietly but the UK seems to be riding the crest of a feel-good wave at present.

Whether it’s attributable to the uncharacteristic sporting prowess being displayed across a number of disciplines from SW19 to Sydney (by way of the Champs-Elysees); the heatwave that has been baking Britons for the past few weeks; the national pride surrounding the birth of the future king or a heady concoction of all of these factors, there certainly seems to be more smiles on faces at present than at any other time in the past few years.

If recent research is to be believed, it’s not just ice-cream sellers and barbeque vendors who are basking in the good weather and cheerful mood enveloping the nation either, with the housing market and wider economy also standing to benefit too.

Indeed, according to Lloyds TSB’s Spending Power Report, consumer sentiment is currently at its highest point in the survey’s three-year history.

Attitudes towards household spending, employment stability and the housing market are all trending in the right direction, meaning estate agents and mortgage brokers can capitalise on the patriotic positivity.

A clutch of other reports also concur with Lloyds TSB’s findings, with financial information company Markit’s own index claiming consumer confidence is now at its strongest for at least four and a half years which is essentially since the global financial crisis first hit.

Its survey found that not only had sentiment among mortgage holders improved to a new high, but that those living in the private rental sector were more optimistic than previously about their prospects of making the step on to the property ladder. 

While it is not exactly new information that the weather can help house sales, as buyers are more encouraged to traipse around potential properties in glorious sunshine than howling gales, it is interesting to note how seemingly unrelated events can feed into the bigger picture.

You may be hard pressed to find a mortgage broker or estate agent who directly apportions the uptick in their business to Chris Froome’s prowess in the Pyrenees, but one bit of good news after another has helped to create and sustain the good mood that can influence whether people choose to buy now or postpone a purchase.

In much the same way as chaos theory claims that the flap of a butterfly’s wings can eventually trigger a tornado on the other side of the world, so too can small developments feed into a bigger chain which culminates in increased activity in the housing market.    

The media has an important part to play in all of this too and can have a real impact on consumer confidence.

The more people read about economic doom and gloom, the less likely they are to feel positive about their own financial prospects but, conversely, positive press can serve as encouragement even though their own situation may be modest. I can understand that bad news often arouses more interest and subsequently sells more papers than good news, which is why it’s all the more uplifting that the affirmative stories are outweighing the bad at present.

Here’s hoping for an Ashes series whitewash and the property market boom that will surely follow.   




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