Not a day goes by with yet another report on house prices and every day we are confronted with a different statistic. Boom or bust in equal measure!
The UK and the London property market in particular, has become increasingly fragmented and hitherto ‘standard’ indices such as Halifax, Nationwide et al are not only pointless but intrinsically flawed; just like the banks themselves. Halifax? Surely a relic of a bygone era? Even Rightmove and Zoopla are now well behind the curve: People seem to think that because they are operating online, their yardsticks are somehow more ‘up-to-speed’ … wishful thinking!
In today’s post-crash age, it’s all about a case from region to region, city to city, quarter to quarter, street to street… and yes, even which side of the street! Buyers have become by far more sophisticated and this ‘so-called ‘boom’ bears none of the characteristics we have witnessed in previous speculative cycles. Interest rates are low and as long as they remain so, buying a property will remain cheaper than renting one. Furthermore, the UK and, again, London in particular, have become ‘safe-haven’ destinations for foreign buyers for all the obvious reasons – not just for oligarchs but, indeed, across the whole wealth spectrum. Only yesterday, it was reported that London has become the world’s most expensive city for companies to locate employees, overtaking Hong-Kong. The reason for that is simple: Demand is outstripping supply. The so-called London ‘property bubble’ is a myth.