Dutton Gregory Partner and property expert Paul Sams shares his thoughts on what 2020 will bring for the housing market and the difficulties that may lie ahead for industry professionals.
“Personally I am cautiously optimistic for 2020. We have a Government with a majority that like it or loathe them, now have the ability to pass legislation. Whilst not wishing to rake over the many sides of Brexit but once it has happened we can all get on with our lives. Too many times I have heard clients, agents and developers use that as an excuse to not do anything. I listened to a radio interviewer with a surveyor the other day where he suggested the market would do well in 2020 when uncertainty was banished. Given that surveyors are generally negative by their very nature, the positivity genuinely shocked me. Giving a positive clear message, like our more successful politicians is clearly the way to go. 18th century English philosopher Edmund Burke, wrote
"Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field."
I expect to see technology playing a bigger part in the housing market as we enter the next decade. Living in a world where I can order something from my smart phone and expect to receive it the same day, it won’t be long until consumers expect that in conveyancing.
We are already seeing the benefits at Dutton Gregory of using the likes of integrated InfoTrack systems into our case management system. I have seen some great new “add ons” from various technology companies in the past few weeks. I have done most of my Christmas shopping from my smart phone (in fact all of it!) so that is what I expect most people will want with their conveyancing moving forwards. I was told the other day on a matter that my replies to legal enquiries were with someone’s secretary for typing up - they had the enquiries for eight days at that point. With my clients, eight minutes is too long to have not progressed matters and a lot of them will expect it quicker than that.
With the almost daily attempt to “phish” for details to try and commit fraud against our clients, along with the constant threat of cyber-attack, the need to rush to use new technologies does need to be weighed up against the constant need for vigilance.
As a profession, we all need to work together to protect ourselves and our clients from fraudsters. In all seriousness, this obsession with believing that using the 1980’s “yuppie” fax machine for protection needs to end because my eight year olds can hack a fax. Cyber security is clearly getting better though given the fact that many fraudsters are resorting to cheque fraud as people are not au fait with cheques anymore!
Going back to my first points, I know that Brexit and investment in the NHS seem to be top of the list for Boris Johnson’s new administration. However, if they could spare a few minutes to resolve the section 8 issue surrounding long leases, and the perhaps more rampant issue of section 121 of the Law of Property Act regarding rent charges with a couple of simple lines of statute, the conveyancers of this country would surely thank him, even though some may do so through gritted teeth.”
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