Forecasting 2018

At this time of year, far too many people, become some sort of combination of Nostradamus and Mark Carney predicting, with complete confidence and in an authoritative tone that seems designed to deter any doubters of their infallibility, what will happen to the property market next year.

They don’t stop there, often their forecasting takes in the UK economy, global markets too, interest and exchange rates, the political landscape, indeed just about anything that they feel might impact on the value of properties for sale and to let. And in reality, Mystic Meg is about as reliable a predictor of what’s coming next. After all, who can possibly know the outcome of the Brexit negotiations or the political situation in the United States to cite just two of many factors that could throw more than a spanner in the workings of many an economic forecast?

But there are some things that we can very accurately predict, even guarantee, will have a significant impact on the property market next year and these are worth focussing on, I suggest, and planning your tactics around.

In 2018 there will be c.700,000 new born babies in England & Wales and c.525,000 people will die. A quarter of a million marriages will take place and there will be just under half that number of divorces. These are the key life stages that most often trigger a home move and there’s going to be over 1.5million of them next year.

Now, add on top the number of people changing jobs, which several reports cite as being 10-15 times in a typical career, that’s once every three years or so, or put it another way, one third of the working population will have a new job in 2018. And many of them will move home as a consequence. Then there’s the number of young adults, aged 20-34, leaving the family home. Much is made of the statistic that ten years ago 1 in 5 lived with their parents whereas in 2017 it’s 1 in 4 but that still means that 75% of them will need to rent or buy somewhere. And at the other end of the spectrum, about half a million people will reach retirement age in 2018, and many will decide to downsize and move.

For the vast majority of people, their property is a home first, an asset second, (if it’s an asset at all given how many rent today). And the reasons why people move home are principally for life stage and also for lifestyle, (not for investment which trails a distant third in the motivators). And this is what I’m encouraging our members to get their teams to focus on – people whose life stage is changing and who will therefore seek to move home very shortly. Sure the economy and political situation has an impact on confidence but it doesn’t stop people leaving home, getting married, having babies, divorcing, changing job or retiring. And by identifying these people and by working with them to help them move on with their lives, the most successful agents become trusted advisors whose clients turn to them at each and every stage. And that’s my challenge to you for 2018 – are you going to be a transactional agent or a trusted advisor? I know which group will win in the long run.

This is the final four-i of 2017. I hope you’ve enjoyed the weekly posts and thank you for all the comments, tweets, shares and feedback during the year. If you’d like to find out about membership of the Property Academy then please email me or call my direct line 01372 370815.

Four-i will resume on Monday 8th January 2018, in the meantime I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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