When This Man Speaks, it’s Time to Listen


Back in the early 1990s when we were looking for properties for our clients, I met Mr Tony Pidgley, the founder of the Berkeley Group. I was wheeled in to meet him for a quick handshake, as if being introduced to royalty.

Mr Pidgley certainly isn’t royalty, but he has gone on to build one of the UK’s biggest, and some would say most reputable, housebuilders.

He is known for his astute reading of market cycles and has made himself and his shareholders a log of money over the years by correctly guessing the direction of the London market. Like him or not, he knows his stuff.

In a recent interview, he said that London is cheap compared to other global cities and that interest rates would remain low for some time.

Importantly, he believes the depressed London property market has bottomed out and was set for recovery. Some might argue that his views are hardly impartial and he has a vested interest in talking up the London market.

However, he has a reputation for speaking his mind and has made both bullish and bearish predictions in the past, which have been proven to be correct.

It could be argued that the Brexit fiasco has already been factored into prices, and it is all upside from here. If that is the case, the issue is not if but when the market starts rising again.

It is a brave man who bets against Tony Pidgley when it comes to the London market. His track record says it all, and if he is buying land there, we should all take note.

As you can probably guess, the above headline is nothing to do with either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.

Whatever your political persuasion is, the promises regarding housing that both parties have made in the run-up to the election are fanciful to say the least and at worst are blatant falsehoods designed to woo an unsuspecting and vulnerable section of the electorate.

Boris has promised ‘at least a million homes over the next five years’ as well as ‘lifetime fixed-rate mortgages’ requiring deposits of only 5%. He also promised 30% discounts on new homes to local first-time buyers (with the support of contributions made by developers).

Jeremy has promised to spend £75 billion on affordable homes, with a commitment to build 100,000 council homes a year and 50,000 ‘genuinely affordable’ homes.

It is worth noting that most analysts agree that there will be insufficient funds for all the promises made and none of the governments in the last twenty years have lived up to their election promises when it comes to housing.

Once the new government is installed it will say market conditions will have changed, necessitating a re-think. Other priorities will take over and housing will inevitably be downgraded as a priority.

Some will not agree with my view above and feel that I am being too cynical. They may be right and only time will tell.

The inevitable will happen though; the housing shortage and rising rents will continue for the foreseeable future.


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