No dinner party would be complete without talk of property values, gazumping, or someone who has made a killing, or a loss, on their home. We are obsessed with our bricks and mortar. More of us own our own home than any other European country – although this is decreasing as values have risen to unattainable levels for many.
On this crowded and class-conscious island, home ownership has always been associated with status and self-worth. Indeed, up until the late nineteenth century only property owners were allowed to vote. More recently, mortgages for the masses have further fuelled the thirst for ownership.
In less than a generation the proportion of adults living in their own home has leapt from a third to more than two-thirds. The pressures to buy are huge, but first time buyers are struggling to get a foot on the ladder unless the bank of Mum and Dad steps in. Mortgages for young people can be difficult to acquire and many parents, whose property wealth has grown dramatically over the past 30 years, are now moving to something smaller, thereby releasing equity for their fortunate off- spring.
So, more than any other time, the influence of the top of the market on the bottom of the market is greater than you might expect. Many of our top end sales are prompted by a bottom end need and the skill of a good estate agent is to ensure that the synergy between the two fits the needs of parents and children alike!