Genuine Optimism for 2016
With less than two weeks to Christmas, I got the call for my December article from the publisher. Demands from our clients are high with pending transactions and agreements being under pressure to be completed by Christmas and I have to write an article!
What is it about Christmas and this particular date to have to have things done by? Why do we allow ourselves to be put under such apparent pressure? Why do we put others under the same pressure?
Is it the proximity of the calendar year end, or is it because we want a break with a clear head and conscience? It isn’t anything to do with the religious holiday. If it were, we would be under the same pressure at Easter. There is some pressure coming up to April and the financial year end, but nothing that compares with Christmas.
It is the same every year, (worse last year as we moved to our existing offices a year ago to the day after 25 years at The Old Gatehouse) but in fact, it is quite helpful because some matters which have been allowed to drift are more often brought to a head quickly as the psychologically significant, but otherwise thoroughly unimportant date (economically) of Christmas Eve looms.
We have done some of our best deals historically at this time of year. I get asked every year “can you have a look at this, or that tomorrow – you must be quiet coming up to Christmas”. What sort of business are these folk in I wonder? Why can they possibly think that we are sat around twiddling our thumbs? We fit all, or most requests in, but some can be difficult.
One such came in yesterday. “Oh Mark, can you have a look at a building I want to buy? We have agreed a deal. We just want to make sure we’re getting value for money. Oh yes – remember to bring your ladders. It is four storeys high but the stairs have been removed for security purposes. We need to finalise the contract by Christmas (why?) and will also need a structural survey”.
We will get something done for this new client in time, but why the need for Christmas? Does the vendor change into a white mouse on Christmas day? Of course not. It is a convenient date to aim at so we all start the New Year afresh.
2016 looks to be shaping up nicely with much that will be reported, but the most important ingredient – confidence – is slowly coming back in the regions and locally. It is interesting to see that the OECD latest report on economic growth in the UK is very optimistic, even inflationary growth is projected through 2016. This is likely to include base rate increase(s) to stem demand through the year. We do not need to hold anything up in the regions, but discussions concerning regional devolution may also play a part.
Meanwhile, whilst the economists make their forecasts, and the politicians argue over devolution, to say nothing of the vote on Europe, industry and commerce continues to fund public services and the profit motive remains the real power house in the north. Bring on 2016!
Written by Mark S Hanson – BSc FRICS