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House prices are up, bring on the recovery

 Published on: 14th August 2013   |   By: Nik Allen

beach hut

This Dorset beach hut recently sold for a cool £200,000

Hurrah house prices are on the move again – a sure sign that the economy is finally picking up.

New figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) show house prices are rising at their fastest rate since 2006.

Buyers are returning to the market in all areas of the UK. In fact the biggest increases have been recorded in the West Midlands and north east.

The reason I am so happy to see house prices on the rise is it symbolises a return in consumer confidence. As a small businessman I am acutely aware of how tough it has been out there over the past couple of years.

When the banks were being rescued and the Euro zone was on the brink, everyone, understandably, tightened their belts. But it reached a point where you couldn’t turn on the television or radio or take a glimpse at the internet without facing a barrage of doom and gloom predictions. A bad situation was made worse by constant speculation about how we were on the brink of financial Armageddon.

Thankfully my business was robust enough to survive the recession but not everyone was quite so lucky. Firms I had worked with for years – and thought were invincible – went to the wall. Others managed to fend off closure, but only just.

So it seems a recovery is finally on its way. This got me thinking about the British fascination with owning bricks and mortar (perhaps the best example of our obsession is the fact that a beach hut in Dorset will set you back a cool £200,000).

Other European countries don’t have the same pre-occupation and people are happy to rent for their whole lives. Only 42 per cent of Germans own their own home. In Holland and France the rate is 55 per cent (in Bulgaria and Lithuania the rate is a sky high 97 per cent, if anyone has any ideas why please let me know).

Even though the Germans, the models of economic common sense, aren’t hung up on home ownership, I can’t help it – to me owning my own is an important achievement. Owning my home gives me a great sense of security. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me that it isn’t really important, I won’t be selling up any time soon.

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