BREAKING NEWS – 5 top stories 18/12/2020
SEASONAL UPTICK ON PROPERTY PORTALS – REALLY?
Every year property portals, and this year it is ZPG championing the fact that there is an annual spike of activity around Christmas and the New Year on all platforms. Whilst this is true, there is a massive disconnect between Aunt Lizzy tuning into her favourite property website and drooling over a bungalow in Bude, in between sherry trifle and the Queens speech, and actual transactional business.
Whilst ZPG pours agents cash into their own brand advertising – with quirky TV advertising, I think the sad reality that 60% plus of England is in Tier three may make January 2021, a no-go zone for market activity.
HIGH STREET OR HIGH RISE
The High street buckling under pressure before Covid-19 due to online retail, high rents etc may now find that the move to repurpose commercial units into multi-level housing will be a bit easier.
There has just be announced new governmental consultation around class E buildings and whether they can come into the residential fold, perhaps saving the bacon of commercial landlords facing financial ruin due to voids. Class E covers a lot of hospitality centric businesses ravaged by lockdown, cafes, coffee shops etc.
It also covers closer to home financial services, and retail. Maybe the high street will become more high rise a pattern that has been increasingly prevalent.
ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING WHO CARES?
In a blistering report complied by the Treasury it has come to light that a significant percentage of agencies dealing with real estate with a capital value in the top echelon, are not complying with basic AML.
This takes the form of either not making annual application to HMRC, or allowing their membership and disclosure lapse by not paying the annual fee levied on all agents and those in the property sector who need to register. Yet again asking the question, why is there not enough policing of statutes? And why are agencies who fail to comply not immediately closed until they comply as the cost is minimal to register.
UK PROPTECH ASSOCIATION NEW BOARD
The UKPA recently announced its new look with Dominic Grace, Ami Kotecha and Alex Edds joining the board. They will strengthen the existing team of Kristjan (The Viking) Byfield, Helen O’Reilly, Louisa Dickens and Sammy Pahal, with James Dearsley still very much in the mix – having been a founding member.
With real estate becoming increasingly a digital affair, many agents would do well to see what the UKPA can offer in terms of advice and collaboration.
OVER THE POND OR OVER HERE?
Forbes publication, looking forward into the 2021 property market in America has pundits giving very similar views to the UK. Confidence high, brisk market but in themes that reflect the under currents here, Tendayi Kapfidze, LendingTree chief economist comments,
‘There are some downside risks to this outlook. The economy will be recovering as vaccines lead us down the path of normalcy, but the labour market could remain weak. A tepid labour market recovery would be accompanied by tepid income growth.
Job losses are moving up the income scale and transitioning to permanent losses from temporary. Lending standards are likely to tighten further as the end of forbearance and foreclosure moratoriums are a wild card, potentially weighing on home prices in some areas. The rent crisis is another wild card and could bleed in the owner-occupied market via adding supply or affecting the financial markets.’
Maybe all that is certain, is there is no certainty and with as much potential good news around vaccines and the dawn of a new year – 2021 looks to be a difficult call to make for everyone.
If you have a view – please let us all know by emailing me at [email protected] – Andrew Stanton Executive Editor – moving property and proptech forward.