The Market – an update (more of the same)

Last month I blogged about the state of the market – you can read it here. It was all about London.

My latest edition of Property Data has arrived and it’s a familiar story – as you can see from the graph below. The market is better than the same period in 2011, but not quite as good as 2010 – in terms of volumes.

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 13.21.19

But once again the skew towards London is marked:

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 13.21.42

So it doesn’t really tell us much of a story. The only real difference from last month was the fundamental shift in the average net yield – it has shifted to 7%. This is a real weakening of the trend that had seen a steady improvement. In my example last month – had you used the initial average yield to value your £100,000 income (worth £1.602m a year ago) the value today would be £1.43m. These are averages and don’t really mean very much!

Locally I think we are as busy as we have ever been. I have a number of properties under offer (both buying and selling) and I seem to be looking at lots of opportunities. The latter can be quite speculative – but that is quite a good sign.

I am reasonably upbeat about 2013 – even though deals are harder to do than ever.

Award Winners….

Last Thursday night we had a great night out at the Nottingham University Conference Centre. We won an award – for the second year running – Property Agent Of THe Year. Voted for by our peers this was great news! The award evening has become the major focus of the property industry.

The evening is sponsored by Insider magazine. I was fortunate enough to be asked to judge the categories we weren’t enetered in (!). It was good to award prizes to some of the really good projects in the region. One of my favourites was the Lewis & Hickey scheme at The Folk House in Mansfield. I had judged this building for the Civic Trust Awards last year and loved it. It was good to see them win – especially as I was a guest on their table!

But we also had two other winners on the table. Nottingham University won an award for the Mathematical Sciences Building on the main campus and Ken Carter from Gleeds won a lifetime achievement award.

It was a champagne evening – rightly celebrating good things that have happened!

All too often at the moment we seem to be surrounded by bad news, so it made a change to be celebrating!

We’re feeling a bit chuffed with ourselves…

The Olympics – not quite the moneyspinner?

I was in London this week; despite the warnings about not being able to move for the crowd of millions heave-hoing from one Olympic venue to the next. I needed to be be there for a number of meetings.

It was amazingly quiet! St Pancras was a bit busier than normal, probably down to the kettling one-way system – and the people stopping to be given free ice creams? Oh, and the very confusing signs.

I suspect that what has happened here is that the ordinary working population of London have stayed away. They have worked from home. Or travelled at times when the paying crowds are ensconced in their seats. In the week I heard an interview with a hotelier from the Lake District who told us that the Japanese tourists had all but gone – presumably at the Olympics. But in their place were some crafty cockneys – who have clearly abandoned ‘the smoke’ for the quieter lanes of Ullswater et al.

I had also heard some stories about Hotels trying to charge over-inflated room rates (£500 per night) who had seen bookings tumble and they were having to offer at £75-100. It serves them right for joining the rip-off Britain ranks.

But I can’t help but wonder if London (or perhaps more importantly – the UK) will have really benefitted from the games? Have the influx of people simply cancelled out those who are there everyday ordinarily. I can’t help but wonder. I guess though that we’ll never know. The evaluation of the cost benefit analysis of the games will be clouded by fuzzy headlines – around ‘profile’ and ‘feel-good’ rather than hard cash.

Nottingham – hosting world art!

It looks like Nottingham will find a place on the world map next month.

Between the 7th and 16th September Nottingham will play host to the World Event Young Artists 2012. We are described by the organisers as a cultural city. I like this!

The event is billed as ‘A world of ideas in a week‘ – which is no understatement as our fair city plays host to music, gastronomy, visual arts, performance, film, literature and applied arts. It’s no small event – with 1,000 artists from 120 Nations plying their wares here for 10 days. What is really exciting for us is that its is the first event of its kind. It is intended to celebrate the talent and artistic excellence of young people from across the globe.

The artists are all aged between 18 and 30 and the event is part of the Cultural Olympiad. A painter and decorator, an acclaimed pioneer of Black folk music, a tweeting Town Crier and a Chinese computer game designer are among those performing!

This is more good news for Nottingham and a reinforcing of the importance of the creative heart of the City. Our newly formed creative quarter is gaining momentum. The presence of such a body of talent from around the world should do us no harm at all. I can’t wait to see what sort of events will take place.

The opening weekend celebrations include open air live music events and visual projections on the Market Square. Internationally renowned DJ Gilles Peterson will curate a day-long event at Nottingham Contemporary featuring a range of World Event Young artists and his own live set to close the evening.

A good news story for Nottingham….

The Boss – aka Springsteen

It doesn’t seem a week since I was playing in a muddy field on the Isle of Wight. The festival this year will be remembered for the rain and the mud – it was epic.

But as I blogged in the week there were also a few bands on too. And some good ones at that.

I was interested to see that the NME published their list of the best acts of the festival in the week by listeners and they suggested:

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Pearl Jam
Madness
Biffy Clyro
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Elbow
Miles Kane
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
The Vaccines
Feeder

Well, I’m with them on Bruce. He was amazing – belting out (literally) hit after hit interspersed with some new stuff from “Wrecking Ball’ for nearly three hours. This is a showman at his best – with an incredible stamina for a 62 year old. I last saw Springsteen (with the E Street Band) in 1993 – a period when I think he was at his best, or so we thought. They were the days of Born in The USA and Dancing in the Dark.

But last year ‘The Promise’ was released – music he wrote in the late 70’s but never recorded after a dispute with his record company. I love that stuff. It still sounds like 1978.

But the highlight of the set for me was ‘Because the Night’. A song he gifted to Patti Smith which gave her the springboard into the UK. This song is in my top ten soungs of all time, so playing it was a real bonus.

I have been asked by several people whether he is worth seeing, my response, he was worth the price of the ticket – £175….

Without doubt ‘The Boss’.

PS I don’t agree with the NME on all of their list – Pearl Jam were rubbish!

Festival – Top Gear To Tips

I am sure you weren’t worried about me; I survived, Ray Mears like, the Isle oF wight Festival 2012. I was going to write a rant-y sort of blog about the inability of the organisers to spot the unfolding car-crash, but thought I would try to share some tips and observations for any festival- goers for the future. A sort of Public Service announcement – but in my pictures …

1. FOOD – don’t bother carrying it. It’s heavy and when you can have Jamie Oliver cook for you, it seems pointless. And anyway £7.50 for a salted beed sandwich is a bargain in anyones book? Wash it down with a £4 bottle of Bulmers. (TGTT – take a handful of wonga)

2. MARKER PENS – Beware the marker pen. And if your friends think it is funny drawing a penis on you need to think about some new friends. If you think it’s funny make sure it is not on your forehead – as Vim on Monday for back to work day isn’t so good. (TGTT – look up Vim – your granny used to use it).

3. SHOES – sensible footwear is optional. But your white disco dancing shoes may well have looked good on Mr Travolta when he was ‘Staying Alive’, but trust me this is not a cool look. TGTT – Rigger Boots. Essential.

4. TROLLEYS – The supermarkets are so kind, they only charge the first person £1 to ‘borrow’ their trolleys. So useful for carrying Beer and / or friends. TGTT – make sure you’re not the first to borrow – you don’t get to keep your pound.

5. JUST WRONG. Nuff said. TGTT – No.

6. LONELINESS – sometimes Festivals can seem a lonely place – with only around 55,000 other people it’s easy to seem isolated. If this does happen, there are usually lots of trees, who don’t want to get you pregnant or seek a long term relationship. TGTT – If in doubt hug a tree … aaaah. Oh and yellow moustaches are not cool – especially on girls

7. TRACTOR – If you can, remember to bring your own tractor. This helps immensely and saves you waiting for one of the hired hands to drag you out. TGTT – if you are towed onto the car park, treat this as a very bad sign.

8. ELF & SAFETY – no matter where you go, you must beware of the dangers around you. Here an impromptu pond has been turned into a potential death trap – so the fences have been ‘placed’ to show how you must beware. Stay away from the water children, you can drown in 3″ of water TGTT – That’s an urban myth, if you drowned in 3″ of water, you must have been trollied.

9. COMPETITIONS – don’t take on bets where they suggest that they have a bigger frying pan than you, they probably do. TGTT – Betting the locals is foolish.

10. WATCH OUT FOR EACH OTHER – especially if you have friends who are a bit smaller than you, some easily can disappear. The signs are tragic when it happens, a shoe here, a brolly there. TGTT – look after the small people.

11. MEN FOLK – should keep some dignity. It’s not big and it’s not clever. TGTT – mud wrestling is not for the UK.

12. MUSIC – It is why you go, so please don’t spend all of your time talking – listen, there are some talented people who have come a long way. Here Suzanne Vega performs in the rare bit of sunshine. TGTT – if you don’t want to listen to music, go and watch the football.

And finally… The students generally stick together. You can see them, they tend not to have a bag, but bring the all-important quilt and pillow – over their shoulder. When it rains this is not a good start. Also bright young things – a Gazebo is NOT a tent.

Just trying to be helpful….

The Invest in Nottingham Club

As I intimated last weekend, I went to the Invest in Nottingham Club AGM last week. I’ll shorten the club to IINC…

The Club has grown significantly in the last couple of years. There are now 158 members (up a third) – and last year 23 events were held. I went to quite a few (and was at the heart of the MIPIM one!). The Club met with around 1200 people at these events in the year. That’s a good reach!

Of course it’s not all parties! The Club have become the organisation who can mobilise a group of people if the City get enquiries from companies looking to come to set up shop in Nottingham. In the year they helped with 149 enquiries. Sadly we didn’t land Standard Chartered or the Green Bank, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

The club work alongside the Invest in Nottingham Team at the Council. And this is perhaps the way forward. As Public Finances continue to get squeezed it is going to fall to the private sector to help. I think we are at the start of that road. It takes time for the Council to get comfortable with getting into bed with the Private sector.

One of the big issues is that we often disagree with them (you already know I do!). But I see no reason to apologise for that. Paul Southby, Chairman of IINC put it succinctly – “we don’t have to agree with the Council all of the time, it’s healthy to have a debate. It is a part of a grown up relationship to disagree”.

So what about 2012/13? The club have set some goals – it still focusses on the growth points – Bio-Medical, Green technology and the digital and creative classes. But the key one for me is the City Centre. We must make sure that the City doesn’t slip further in retail tracings! But that’s a very big subject!

The Estates Gazette Awards 2012

My firm like winning awards – it’s a great accolade. So, it’s that time of year again when I would love you to vote for us. We have been nominated as Estates Gazette East Midlands Property Adviser of the Year again. But some of our pesky competitors have too.

It even makes the MD smile!

So this is a shameless plug for us. Apologies up front!

It’s really easy to vote – all you have to do is click here. Then scroll down to the ‘East Midlands’ and select ‘Innes England’ under the ‘Property adviser’ tab. Voting ends on 5 April.

Thanks if you do vote – it really is appreciated. This is the most important award of the year; it’s voted for by our clients and contacts. We can’t vote for ourselves (if we could obviously we would!).

Geneva Motor Show in pictures….

As I’m now back home I’m able to get some proper wi-fi – and an ability to upload some images from the Geneva Motor Show yesterday. So, when pictures speak a thousand words, there’s less words… Enjoy!

The Bugatti Veyron

The Lotus Evora S

The Pagani Huayra

The Maserati GranTurismo

The Mercedes SL63

The (only) Lamborghini Aventador J

The big question – which one to buy….

Nottingham – Invest in Nottingham Club Reception

Our second event in Cannes is always a popular one; a reception in an Irish Bar on the Quayside in Cannes. And I’m pleased to say the sun came out for us. When we first arrived in Cannes it was cooler than usual -but the last 24 hours have seen a return to blue skies. It was about time!

This was an event sponsored by the Invest in Nottingham Club – the private sector part of Invest in Nottingham. I think it was a success as we had around 250 people crammed in. There were Architects, Agents, QS’s, Developers, Engineers, consultants and some Investors. We also attracted a number of Press too. There was fantastic atmosphere and clearly we were very visible.

There were no glitzy announcements, just an opportunity to meet lots of people. Team Nottingham were out in force “working the room”. It was great to see. We even saw some of the ‘opposition’ coming to check us out!

This was Team Nottingham doing what they do best – meeting people. The real benefit of this event was that the Team take every opportunity to introduce guests to people in the team who might have a connection or be able to help in some way. It’s what MIPIM is all about.

This was a great value for money event for us – and one I guess will get repeated next year.

Our final event at MIPIM this year is a smaller breakfast, which will be taking place as this post hits the presses….