The best client I ever had

Friday, November 09, 2012 by Ed Mead

Many years ago I started a relationship with someone who turned out to be my best client ever. He doesn’t know this, but he was a rare animal insofar as he looked at each move he, and later his family, made as a home move, not an investment. He recognised that values could go down as well as up but that he was buying into the same market he’d just sold into. Occasionally he’d make a bit of a balls-up but he was also sanguine enough to take the rough with the smooth.

I’ve probably moved him seven times in 30 years, sadly that’s now slowed as the Stamp Duty issues make a discretionary move unaffordable. He will only move these days when he has to, but back in those halcyon 1% days he moved as he wanted to.

 

This juxtaposes horribly with a conversation I had last week with another client for whom the current property market has skewed his outlook. He is becoming typical though and it’s difficult to argue with his logic. He has a decent house south of the river and is looking to move out of London where many of his mates live at an easier pace. BUT, usual property value pub talk has oscillated between how badly values in the Country have fared as against those in London seemingly still inexorably rising, or at least holding fast.

This chat has freaked him out so badly that he can’t bear to sell up in London as the fear of seeing the value of a country house erode is too painful. So he’s going to rent in the Country and let out the house in London.

 

We shouldn’t judge anyone for what they do with their own property but it would be fair to say that this is now becoming common enough to have a significant effect on stock levels. The latest D&G Barometer clearly shows there are 30% fewer family houses for sale than this time last year and this is one of the prime reasons, it also explains why rental stock is significantly higher than it was.

 

It’s perhaps just the latest example of how looking at your property as an investment has seemingly taken over from looking at it as your home and of how the current paradigm has shown up vividly the difference between the Country and London property markets.