Confused? Don't be - just stop watcing the news, says Keith Johnson, chairman of leading estate agent JW Wood.
If the national press are to be believed we might as well all pack up and move to Greece, sit in the sun and let the Germans pick up the tab.
“They say the British economy is, at best, stagnant if not in full decline, and their cameras easily find parades of boarded-up shops to prove the point. Retail is down, industry is down, the housing market is down, even the weather is depressing. “The thing is, have you noticed where these media commentators live, work and base their gloomy forecasts? Planet London...and if it’s happening in the capital then it must be happening all over the
“Now the Jubilee party is over, the Olympic medals safely tucked up in bed and even the Paralympics coming to a close, the national euphoria is on the wane and the media has resorted to gloom and doom based on nothing stronger than a quick look out of the ivory tower window.
“What their gaze fails to notice is the character, spirit and zeal that exist in the North-East. The region has always been the engine room of this kingdom and it remains so today with its unique sense of pride, optimism and entrepreneurial zeal.
“There is plenty to be grateful for, not least the fact that Nissan continues to thrive, that Japanese engineering company Hitachi has the confidence to build a huge trainmaking factory in the region and that the North-East bucks the trend because we are too resolute and too stubborn not to.
“So forget the national TV and newspapers and consider the facts. “The house sales market around here is tough, not least because of the media-deflating pessimism about the economy. But just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing and doing well, which is what we do here. Our figures for the past four years speak volumes – and definitely louder than pundits’ speculation. There is no doubt that 2009 was a very bad year for sales. Instructions to sell were greatly reduced from previous years and actual completions were less than 50 per cent of the boom years of 2004 to 2007.
The bubble was bound to burst and it did in 2008/9 with sobering effect, but since then sales have improved steadily each year. “Instructions to sell have remained broadly the same in the first half of each year since 2010, but J W Wood completed sales on almost 30 per cent more homes this year compared to 2010. In other words, we have sold a greater percentage of homes in the past few months, a fact that may come as a surprise to many.
“House values have not gone up and, in fact, have probably reduced by five per cent since 2010. But the dramatic falls of 2008 and 2009 have abated and, of course, if you are trading up, five per cent of a more expensive property represents a bigger saving than you lose on your own.
\"It also appears that if a home is put on the market at about its current value then there is a good chance that a buyer will be found. The trick is to ask a realistic price that will allow you to move. “This is where the expertise of the valuers and negotiators at J W Wood can give you an advantage.
“It’s as much an art form as a science, but our opinion is backed up by solid evidence of what is happening in the market today. “So stop watching the news and make your own. I can see the headline now: Happy families buy their dream homes.\"