Meet the Press

Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers, hear on the radio or see on the television.

Nowadays one usually knows when the property market is hardening up. The number of TV property programmes goes down dramatically. Presenters disappear from view because they don’t have a view to present any longer, or certainly not one they want to air to viewers. They can no longer sensationalise about making big money from new home off-plan purchases, buy-to-lets or fix-ups.

But the media always seem to offer lots of ‘expert’ opinions on the property market. From newspaper and broadcast journalists to eminent economists, they all find something to say. The trouble is they rarely all seem to agree. While one says the market is rising, another says it is falling. Every now and then an expert manages to report that the market is rising and falling in the same sentence. This is hardly surprising as none of them is clairvoyant. So, no matter how expert anyone thinks he is, nobody really knows with real certainty.

Many of these spokespersons are not working day-by-day in the front office of a local estate agent, and they are often the innocent mouthpieces of received wisdom. Property statistics and trends do not have the immediacy of the stock market, in property they take months to filter through and then distort the up-to-date truth.

So don’t believe everything you read in the press about the property market. The media can be up to three months behind the market and the national newspapers cannot reflect local market conditions that can swing wildly from county to county and even from town to town.

So without the TV presenters to offer us their views where is one to go for the right advice? Who does one turn to when the going gets tougher? Like most things in life, when you need someone to show you the way it is best to find someone who has been that way before and knows the path well.

Nobody can really be a true expert forecaster in property. But experienced estate agents are experts in the present. They can uniquely deal with the market they are in, and skillfully help buyers and sellers to make the best of the prevailing conditions. Estate agents aren’t foolish enough to try to foretell the future. But at least they understand the here and the now and do know a thing or two. They know what is going on in their particular marketplace from day to day

So the property expert isn’t the building society or bank manager, the neighbour with a keen interest in other people’s property or the friend who has always said what a nice house you have and it will sell for a bomb. The real expert is the one who is buying and selling local property every single day of the week. If he doesn’t know what is really going on no one does.