I love Christmas and always have done. Normally I go over the top and try to make everything perfect at home and at work. I always think back to when I was growing up, my mum and dad would do absolutely everything to make sure we always enjoyed the festive season.
It sounds idyllic but the house was always decorated to within an inch of its life, food was plentiful and there was always lots of presents under the tree (I still believe that Santa had a lot to do with the presents though), most of all the house was always filled with love.
I know that not everyone has such a fantastic time and I am fully aware that for some people, Christmas can be very difficult for many, many reasons. Covid-19 and especially this newer Omicron variant have certainly played a big part in this year’s celebrations.
It seems strange to think that taking lateral flow tests or going for a PCR test are now part of our daily routines. I have friends and family affected by these things like my dad, who has just had an operation, so has had to be careful not to get any form of illness especially Covid, or his operation would have been cancelled.
Another friend needs to see a family member in a care home and has to ensure that he is safe, so he takes a flow test every day. We recently had a party at our house for a select few friends, we asked all of the guests to take a lateral flow test prior to coming to ensure that the event could take place with a real sense of security.
I managed to do most of my Christmas shopping online this year, not as a preference but as a precaution. I had to go in to the city just once in the build up to Christmas and I will admit it was not a pleasant experience, it felt suffocating and isolating having to wear face masks and not being able to read people’s expressions as their faces were covered, it also felt uncomfortable to see some people not wearing masks (I know that there are some people that are exempt), but without wearing their lanyard or badge to show this, it caused a sense of worry.
When you hear that the Queen has cancelled her family Christmas celebrations you have to ask whether this virus will ever let us have a normal life again?
Going in to 2022 feels like going in to the unknown again. Will pubs and clubs be forced to close over the New Year celebrations? Will sporting events have to be held behind closed doors? Will theatres and concerts have to be cancelled or rescheduled (yet again)? The biggest question that is worrying everyone is will we need to go into another lockdown?
The housing market has seen a bit of a boom during these Covid days, as home owners are now looking for bigger and better homes to live and to work in. Houses are being snapped up as soon as they come on the market and rental properties are in the highest demand for a decade.
Interest rates have been at their lowest for a long, long time, even with the quarter percent rate rise, borrowing is still cheap. Combine this with the fact that most people have stated that this year they have not spent nearly as much on Christmas, holidays, clothes, concerts or anything else as they normally would have, makes me wonder if we might see another New Year house buying boom.
At Cross Keys Estates, we introduced a new customer portal called PropertyFile. This is a clear online window for a seller to see what marketing has been done for their property and what viewings have been booked, as well as what the feedback from these viewings was.
If you are a landlord, this portal will show you all actions that are related to your rental property such as any maintenance issues, inspection reports, viewings, feedback, marketing and what offers to rent have come in. In short, this portal gives you direct access to see what your agent is doing for you and has already proved hugely popular with our existing clients.
So far over the last four years, Cross Keys Estates have seen an increase in the levels of business for the first quarter of each year, but this year we have also seen the closure of several well known and established estate agents. These closures could be due to the increased pressure from the online agents and this has also resulted in agents having to lower their fees whilst the running cost for estate agents have increased year on year.
I go back to my previous comment about going in to 2022 as entering the unknown; Cross Keys Estates finish their second decade as a leading force in Plymouth’s housing market. I am confident that if you decide that this is the year that you move, you could not be in better hands than that of the award winning Cross Keys team.