Philip Macdonald - Time to look on the bright side of life

PUBLISHED: 11:29 19 December 2011 | UPDATED: 12:28 19 December 2011

Philip MacDonald MD of Abbotts Eastate Agents.

Philip MacDonald MD of Abbotts Eastate Agents.


Admittedly, there are continuing problems in the British economy, but nothing like those which are gripping the Eurozone and, whether you agree with David Cameron’s use of the veto or not, it is important to remember that:

a) the UK is the second largest net contributor to the European Union after Germany and:

b) the Union exports more goods to Britain than we do into Europe.

Talk of ‘isolation’ is, consequently, spurious – they need us rather more than we need them! So isn’t it time for the politicians and the rest of us to stop talking the economy down?

Even at 5pc, and reducing, inflation is well below the 25pc the country endured 40 years ago and there is certainly a lot of money waiting to be spent by large pension funds and other potential investors.

But, they need to have the confidence to make big financial commitments, so our industry has to show them the way.

For generations, property has led the country out of recession, and we need to focus on that now.

Across the eastern region, we are going to benefit from a multi-billion pound injection of capital into the energy sector, creating, I’m told, 20-30,000 jobs for an average working lifetime.

Many thousands more jobs will be added via the ‘supply chain’, which means anything from making sandwiches and managing security to financial and communication skills. This means there will be a demand for new housing.

We have an expanding tourism market, already worth £1.75bn, and can look forward to hosting several Olympic teams, celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee and enjoying Benjamin Britten’s centenary, all of which will attract more people to the area, many of whom will have never visited before. These new audiences will range from singles and young couples, to families and downsizers approaching retirement.

This will allow us, in the property sector, to capitalise on new and exciting opportunities for which we must prepare if we’re to avoid losing out. We must reach these new audiences, promoting the range of property which can suit every need, offering excellent value for money and an attractive lifestyle.

What better way to engage than to work with Visit East Anglia, the new tourism organisation, linked into the Local Enterprise Partnership?

The main impediment to success over the last couple of years has been the lack of mortgage funding for first time buyers, but the purse strings will relax when the long-term employment prospects for our local communities are clearly articulated.

I keep meeting businesspeople who are desperate to find the right recruits, with the right attitudes and interpersonal skills, so be assured there are jobs to be filled.

Finally, we have an Enterprise Zone, covering Lowest and Great Yarmouth, offering all the financial benefits designed to attract inward investment.

Things may not be perfect, but isn’t it time to look on the bright side of life? We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise our game and rise to the challenges – 2012 should be the start of a real property revival.

Happy New Year.

Philip Macdonald, is managing director of Abbotts Countrywide,

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