It is fair to say that no-one expected a pandemic in 2020 or the incredible price and volume surge from mid-2020, a European war in 2022 or the cost-of-living crisis.
And who knows who will win the general election in 2024 and what that will mean for housing? In addition to all that, I think we have had 20 housing ministers since 1997. That is one per 15 months.
While there seems to be a lot we cannot be certain of when it comes to external influences on the property market, there are two aspects we can be sure of.
Firstly, there is a national shortage of housing supply with rising demand.
Secondly, there is no shortage of global wealth interested in buying property in a stable, developed nation with strong law and order, a first-class education system and a high quality of life.
And rule one of economics is that if demand exceeds supply, prices will rise until we reach an equilibrium, which is achieved when price increases to such an extent that it suppresses demand.
There are several factors that sadly mean that cannot happen quickly in the property market. These aspects include the fact that there will continually be rising demand because of babies being born, home leavers and the population increasing due to immigration.
All these aspects push demand for property, while there is a constrained growth in supply.
Successive government’s house building indecision, NIMBYs and ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything’ or BANANA’s will ensure it. The current difference between demand and supply is 1.8:1.
If one looks at YouGov data for the past year, there remains solid consumer confidence that property prices will rise in the next 12 months.
Both prime, which would be the £700k-plus homeowners, as well as the mainstream are much more confident of an increase than a decrease, 11:1 and 5:1, respectively.
Interestingly, the prime property owning audience is now 2.4 times as optimistic as their mainstream peers, and there has been a sharp divergence since January.
Based on the data, it seems that the wealthier you are, the more confident you are.
So, will I predict what will happen to the property market in granular detail? No. But I can confidently say that the property market is strong, especially in the prime sector. Good agents will always succeed as they get unfair market share.