By Your Call Publishing | ,

Celebrity Interview - February/March 22

Bursting The Bubble?

Underneath the easy-going niceties (and some immaculate clobber) that make Phil Spencer such a perfect fit for light entertainment, lurks a ruthless edge. You couldn’t become a prominent property expert, nor last two decades on Channel 4 hit show Location, Location, Location, without firm, singular views on the state of the housing market.

“There is often a perception in the housing market that the experts are totally clued up on what’s to come, but we’re keeping things schtum!” begins the 51-year-old presenter. “The truth is we’re as in the dark as anyone else at times; yet the task in hand is to examine the detail, listen to financial announcements and spot the trends.

“If you can do that, then you can give yourself a pretty good steer on what’s to come.”

Certainly, in these post-lockdown days, the housing market in some areas has never looked better, with accelerated growth and a buoyancy that many feel cannot sustain itself.

“I hear the words ‘property bubble’ used a lot; I have done for years,” he smiles. “The thing is, the use of the world bubble implies that it can pop, and I don’t agree, even if the price rises that took place in 2021 cannot continue indefinitely.

“It will be interesting to see how 2022 plays out, but as ever in the UK, when you have a real housing shortage, to the point where I don’t remember a single year when enough houses have been built to meet the government target, prices will increase.”

Phil Spencer’s caution when it comes to making bold statements is perhaps reflective of the fact the expert has, in the past, been a victim of the vagaries of the housing market and its intrinsic link with economic circumstance. His company, Garrington Home Finders Ltd, went into liquidation in 2009 as the financial crash took its toll, yet the Kent-born consultant still steadfastly believes that getting on the housing ladder is beneficial to all.

“I have always been a firm believer in home ownership. There is no greater cementing of security than in bricks and mortar.”

For people already with mortgages, Spencer also has some guidance, “I’d encourage them to look for opportunities to add value to their properties,” he says. “Don’t rely on the market doing that for you. I believe the market will continue to rise in the long-term, but in order to generate equity and to help fund a second move you need to beat the market, to outperform the market, and the only way of adding value to a house is making it bigger or better.”