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Phil Spencer - Take Back Housing Market Forecasting Control!

It’s that time of year already: Halloween’s happened, Bonfire Night’s blown itself out, and there’s now a feast of festivities leading to Christmas.

There’s one other tradition too - the predictions of the housing market for the year ahead.

This winter, whether we like it or not, there’s more mainstream media interest in house prices, numbers of transactions and rent increases than ever before. That’s because these are seen as barometers of the economy, which is the focus of much more attention than usual thanks to our current era of stubbornly high inflation and even higher interest rates.


If, you sometimes tire of ‘UK-wide’ housing market forecasts, laced with generalisations and averages which don’t square with your own experience and your own patch, why not use November to make things local.

It’s the perfect time to create a local market forecast for 2024 of your own, tailored specifically to your audience.

And it means you can control the agenda for your local area, especially if you send your analysis to news websites, newspapers, and opinion formers in your own community.

What Data To Include

The good news is that you have all the data you need at your fingertips - even if you don’t necessarily realise it!

I would include non-confidential data like numbers of appraisals and viewings you’ve done during the year, typical ‘time on market’ from winning the instruction to exchange of contracts, the ‘most successful sale’ - perhaps because it was the quickest, highest priced, most well-known local house, or whatever - and maybe a map of which streets and neighbourhoods saw the most sales and rentals.

On top of that, give your expert opinion on how the market is going now street to street, neighbourhood to neighbourhood; forecast how you think things are going to change in 2024, at least the early part of the year, with justifications for your predictions.

These facts, figures and features will all show your experience and expertise in the area. They are not only informative, but they are priceless marketing - and they give you a really impressive edge over the competition.

And don’t be afraid to be honest: the market isn’t going to be bad next year (Zoopla, for example, expects prices to dip no more than two per cent and transaction volumes to be similar to this year) so if you think something similar will happen in your area, say it.

A report saying nothing but ‘prices will rise, more people will buy and sell’ looks a little too comfortable to today’s well-informed population, so playing a straight bat makes sense.

Presentation Is Key

Work out in advance how you want to present this ‘market forecast'.

Of course, digital is the obvious way - it should sit on your agency website as soon as you complete it until, say, late February.

But perhaps there’s a case for hard copy versions to distribute to sympathetic shops and businesses in your area; there could be some dropped to doctor’s surgeries and dentists; you could even take an advertisement in the local newspaper using the material as copy.

And naturally have some that you give to favoured clients (or hot leads you want to convert to actual customers).

Whatever formats you choose, it’s worth getting the presentation done properly - remember this isn’t just an exercise for your team in the office, it’s a marketing project too.

Then What Happens?

We’ve all seen websites with old material sitting on them, and there will be nothing worse than your shiny forecast for 2024 still sitting online - not updated - in, say, June next year.

Of course, it would be excellent to update the exercise, say, every three or six months. I appreciate that’s not always possible with tight staffing and - fingers crossed - much busier times ahead once winter draws to a close.

But even if you aren’t resourced to create your own custom-built forecast or market snapshot more than once a year (and therefore you take it offline once business returns to full swing in March or thereabouts) you will have had good marketing miles from this one.

And, dare I say it, you could use other digital resources such as the new highly localised market reviews created by my own MoveiQ Pro initiative - if you feel these could help your agency then do please get in touch.

So that’s it for now. I’ll be back in a month’s time for what is, remarkably, my final column of 2023. Until then…

Phil Spencer is a presenter, author, businessman and property investor. Phil’s consumer advice platform Move iQ, is a website, YouTube channel and podcast. Each preserve and reflect the same impartiality that consumers trust and base their property moving plans. Move iQ Pro, is Phil’s resource to support agents and has recently launched a video marketing product. Contact amanda@moveiQ.co.uk to find out more. 


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