Call me a sad so-and-so if you like but sitting here on Boxing Day morning my memory suddenly told me that 2010 is my 20th year as an independent estate agent in Ely. I joined Osbornes Property Services in December 1990 and by 1994 we were Clark & Stewart. 2006 saw us become David Clark and Company but, out of 30 years as an agent, 20 recent years have been spent in Ely. In addition I started my property sales career here as a trainee with Ekins Dilley & Handley in the High Street premises now occupied by the Cambridge Building Society.
If we could have chosen the worst moment in time to begin a new estate agency in Ely then 1990 was it! It taught me a great deal and I still have a photocopy of the bank statement that shows us going from red to black ink. If I ever need pulling back to earth then a quick glance at that statement usually does the trick.
The years have passed and we are back in that part of the cycle in the property market yet again although the last few months have felt to me like 1992. Sales then weren't booming but were achievable with the right marketing, pricing, presentation and effort.
December 2009 enjoyed exchanges and completions in good numbers but the cupboard of available homes for sale was becoming decidedly bare. Anyone reading this who is contemplating moving home in 2010 should contact me early in the New Year to arrange a free market appraisal. We're looking to make our 20th year a good one!
Predictions for 2010? If mortgage lending volume holds up then I believe we are in for a year when transaction numbers are likely to at least match 2009 with the possibility of rising numbers. We may see upward pressure on the price of sought after properties in desirable locations. Will the stamp duty threshold change back to £125,000 from £175,000 and VAT returning to 17.5% have an effect? I reckon the impact will be marginal but may cause some additional negotiating at the point of sale. 'First Time' properties are the ones likely to bear the brunt of this as the changes have most impact on both buyers and sellers doing it for the first time.
Right, no more keyboard clattering until the New Year! I'm off to Berlin for a few days break with my family and to celebrate my birthday on the 28th - 39 again of course.