Published 14 December 2018

Bright side web‘May you live in interesting times’ is an ancient Chinese curse, and in 2018 it is clear that someone has invoked it for all of us.  At the time of writing Theresa May is still Prime Minister, but by the time you read this… well, who knows?  I’m not sure we are any closer to knowing what the future holds for our country, and I sense a mixture of uncertainty, apprehension and worry.

However, it’s Christmas, so it is a good time to be reminded of how blessed we are to be living in Norfolk, no matter what political machinations may be taking place in Westminster and Brussels.

I’m not one for clutching at blindly optimistic straws along the lines of ‘at least the heat from your house burning down means your daffodils will come up early this year’.  I genuinely believe that there are grounds for feeling optimistic this Christmas.  So let’s look on the bright side.

In the residential housing market, despite all this uncertainty, things are pretty healthy.  House prices have risen by about three per cent during the year, a modest and sustainable increase which is slightly above the rate of inflation yet a little below the average rate of wage increases. 

The much-vaunted crash simply hasn’t occurred, and while I don’t want to make myself a hostage to fortune, shows no sign of happening in the next 12 months either, unless our politicians really let us down.

Alongside this, and somewhat bucking the national trend, our locally-based house builders seem to be thriving, with construction rates in the county holding up well.  As well as providing much-needed new homes into the market, this local success story is boosting the county’s economy and creating jobs for its residents, both of which are very positive.

As a major tourist destination, Norfolk has also benefitted from a renewed interest in the staycation.  Owners of holiday homes have seen good returns this year, and all of those visitors are spending in local businesses.

The current uncertainty doesn’t even seem to be dampening activity looking forward.  We have motivated buyers and sellers queuing up to get moving in the new year, and it looks like January will build a good foundation for 2019.

I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of the political crisis which Britain is facing.  But it’s not all doom and gloom, and we should never forget just how lucky we are to live in this wonderful county.  There are still plenty of people from elsewhere who want to come and live in Norfolk, because they know what a great quality of life we enjoy here – and that will continue whatever happens with Brexit.

So as someone once sang, keep on looking on the bright side of life – and Merry Christmas.

Clive Hedges | Residential Partner

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