Greed is Good
Nick Churton of Mayfair Office takes a look at what makes the
property market go round:
When Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko in the 1980s film, Wall
Street, said, “Greed is good” it seemed a rather
Well, greed is rather good in property. Greed works. Greed
– or to put it more gently, ambition - fires the market. It
is people’s ambition, however humble or grand, that makes
them seek new homes for themselves, their families, their jobs,
their asset bases, their pets, their toys, their lifestyles or
their statuses. It was ever thus.
But ambition also maintains the status quo. The ambition of a
purchaser to buy a property for as little as possible keeps in
check the ambition for a seller to achieve as much as possible. In
this respect greed works because it forces realism into the market
and provides a platform for deals that are acceptable to all sides
- albeit sometimes grudgingly. In a way the friction of conflicting
greed provides the heat that ultimately forges market value.
The trouble comes when one side is more ambitious than the other
– a little too greedy than is good. Greed tempered by reason
is one thing. Blind greed is quite another. An unrealistic offer is
as useless as an exorbitant asking price. Both get nowhere.
This is a time of greatly conflicting property market reports.
Some commentators say that prices are still going down –
great for buyers - while some say prices are creeping up –
great for sellers. All, somehow, blame the current economic
conditions. But they miss the real point.
Despite the Greek, Spanish and Italian fiscal precipice, the
Euro Zone conjecture, the lack of discernible growth in the UK, the
ambiguous US economy, the Arab Spring, the booming London luxury
property market, global trade protectionism, the drought, the wet
weather, the Olympics or the Duchess of Cambridge’s wellies,
if a purchaser makes a reasonable offer, and a reasonable seller
accepts it, both will achieve their ambitions – even in this
market and despite what else is going on in the world. That is the
On the face of it an estate agent’s job is to sell
property. In reality it is to manage the expectations and ambitions
of buyers and sellers - reasonable or otherwise - to achieve
agreeable results for both sides. After all without that no one is
going anywhere - however ambitious he or she is!
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