A few interesting aspects of my life, work and career:
I was born after the second World War and was the middle child of a three child family whose father had left Edinburgh University with a medical degree, a post graduate qualification in surgery and an ambition of becoming a Consultant Surgeon in London.
My father chose to be a medical professional, as opposed to choosing a more lucrative business career.
When I was about 5 years old and after they had saved for some years, my mother and he were able to scrape enough together to buy a detached 4 bedroomed house near the hospital where he worked in North London. Relatives happily lent my parents some of the money to allow the house purchase to take place without a mortgage. At the time, purchasers were thin on the ground and mortgages even more scarce.
Our new and larger house had been empty and on the market for some while. It needed fully re-wiring and had no central heating. The carpets from our old house were re-used in our bedrooms. We did our own decorating, only employing decorators to do such things we couldn’t, such as wallpapering the ceilings!
I became aware quite early on that the price of houses, even in those days, was accelerating fast, while people like my father could only earn enough in salary to support their families. This especially affected those who had to make mortgage repayments.
After leaving school and college with O levels and two A levels I was fortunate to obtain employment as a trainee valuer at a London Borough with the prospect of qualifying to become a Chartered Surveyor. I started this training in the late sixties. It involved both day release and later a lengthy correspondence course allowing me to sit exams taking both myself and several other trainees over four years to accomplish. I achieved my RICS qualification in 1974. The knowledge I gained together with over 50 years worth of experience whilst taking numerous jobs around the country has certainly provided me with a stimulating career.
It’s been clear to me all along however, that things were very far from well, in terms of the lack of fluidity of housing market activity and with buyer satisfaction in housing markets across England and Wales being left wanting.
Having married and after starting a family of our own, we chose to leave London and move to the country. We started a new life after having bought a derelict cottage in Worcestershire by auction. I started to renovate this, doing most of the work myself by having a gap in my employment. Like my father, I attempted to build a family home without getting a mortgage but I failed to achieve that so I had to take one soon after.
Even in the eighties, earnings as a regular surveyor were not exactly in the luxury bracket, yet house prices were continually accelerating between occasional slumps. It had, by then, become a known trend that house price levels were exceeding regular earnings in the amount of their increases.
Having chosen more saleable houses reasonably well, my level of earnings was effectively doubled by the increase in value of the houses we owned and occupied. One just had to move whilst prices were on the increase and you could soon double your earnings from the increases in capital values able to be obtained in just a few years!
It then became clear that some people were scaling-up their house buying activities and reaping more profits than ordinary people could ever imagine. There was a succession of property bonanzas over the following years. I myself monitored this as a professional valuer but chose to stay on the sidelines, only owning the house we lived in at any one time. Yet even so, doing this was still enough to enhance my earnings quite substantially.
Around the turn of the Millennium I was a building society panel valuer and saw, first hand, how market prices were being influenced during that time.
It seems that by then, the government itself had cottoned-on to the trend of allowing house prices to inflate as part of their macro-economic policy – if one chooses to be perfectly objective about this. It seems this has since become an integral part of being able to keep our economy in surplus nowadays. However, the question remains – for how long can such a policy continue, without some form of downside starting to take effect? I believe the whole method and process of house marketing, including the residential planning systems, needs reformatting for the twenty first Century. My interest in publishing my thinking on this has been driven from that belief.
It is being said today, at long last, that it’s time for a change.
Which political party is going to be bold enough to put such change into effect?
I hope you enjoy looking through this web site full of fresh ideas and proposals as to how such change might be achieved in practice.