They Think It's All Over (By The Jubilee)

What difference do ‘big events’ make to the housing market?

Journalists are often told (by estate agents, actually) that cheerful mood music in terms of upbeat reporting creates a feeling of confidence across the country, which translates into people being more likely to buy homes. Likewise, depressing reporting puts people in a bad mood, so they avoid buying in case prices fall in the near future.

Perhaps surprisingly I do accept that argument, and I accept that we can all talk and report ourselves into a deeper recession than we are already in.

Predictably, however, I would qualify that by saying journalists tend to report only what others say. So if we report pessimism, it’s because someone else - perhaps a politician, financier or even a property person - is pessimistic to start with.

But my point about ‘big events’ and their impact on the housing market is more specific: that is, will this year’s Queen’s Jubilee weekend in early June mark an early and informal ‘end’ to the British public’s house buying this spring?

Last year I heard many estate agents say that the Royal Wedding, preceded by months of media hype, distracted would-be buyers. This year, some of those same estate agents are saying they are encouraging their clients to market their homes early in case the same thing happens with the Jubilee.

If it is the case that the public will be distracted this way, the 2012 problem may be made worse by the exhaustive coverage of the Olympics which go on until mid-September.

The irony, of course, is that the Jubilee and the Olympics will probably create a very buoyant mood in the country. Yet they may also inadvertently damage prospects for the housing market by subconsciously persuading people to put their selling and buying plans on ice, and by the time the Paralympics closing ceremony takes place...well, we might as well wait until next year, hadn't we?

Is this true? Or is it another media myth?

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