Words by Neil Maxwell
I like to have stats and figures to illustrate my articles, especially when so much is so uncertain in the housing market, but frankly, at the moment I don’t know which ones to rely on, with so many contrary indicators and information. It’s hard to tell which way is up and which way is down, but I can tell you, with some conviction, where the ground is.
Driving down the A27 from Chichester to Portsmouth and the M27 to Southampton, the amount of new homes that are being built, or have been built, is phenomenal. None of the new homes seem to be struggling to sell, which highlights not just the shortage of housing stock, but the need for more homes to be built across the South east.
My geography teacher, predicted back in the late eighties, that a time would come, when from Chichester to Southampton, the different settlements would eventually be linked by housing developments, forming a megalopolis along the length of the South coast. It was a concept I found hard to believe at the time, but It’s something that’s happening, the signs are palpable, and I think we have to embrace and plan for it.
I think Portsmouth could be at the heart of any future development, because of all the things that make our island city such a popular place to live, which we possibly take for granted. For example, most amenities are within a reasonable walking distance on the Island, and if you don’t fancy walking, they’ll be a bus along shortly, or if you feeling adventurous, take a scooter or an electric bike. Ferry links to Europe, trains, coach stations and airports are all close to hand. Contrast this convenience with living in the middle of the countryside or small town, where everything is a car journey away and buses are non-existent, we’re well positioned to be one of the best parts of that megalopolis.
It’s this popularity that perpetuates our housing market and means there are always deals to be done no matter what is going on in the economy. Yes, recent weeks did create a lot of uncertainty as the country held its breath waiting to see what would happen next, but I’d like to think we’re through that now, and although there have been some shifts in the housing market, people are still keen to move, and they are being realistic about their asking prices, so it’s not all bad news.
Regrettably press and media outlets seem focused on bad news stories, rather than looking for good news stories. One of the other great things about living in our island city is that there is a strong community spirit. And while some of us might be worried about getting the best price for our house, there are others who are worried about their energy bills, or even finding shelter for the night. So as we look forward to Christmas, let us also think of those who need our help and support right now, from food bank donations to a kind word, we can all make ourselves be part of something better.
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