Guest blog - Graham Norwood on the future for property agents and developers

9. May 2009 12:13

I was delighted to hear the other day that Graham Norwood has published a new book - the well-timed title 'The Housing Downturn: Picking up the Pieces'.

It sounds like it's full of useful stuff:

  • The first book to analyse the effects of the housing downturn
  • Comment from a range of senior industry figures on what they believe led to the downturn
  • Structured guidance for estate agents and property developers on how to survive and grow their business.

Graham is a well-known and highly respected property journalist, author of several books, and a regular contributor to The Observer, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, FT and an equally impressive list of foreign papers and property industry journals. He has kindly covered a host of stories for our clients over the years, and has been a thoroughly nice person to work with to boot!

Graham also has an unique insight into the property world, so I have great pleasure in publishing this guest blog and helping to promote his book. My copy's on order. I hope yours will be too!

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From Graham Norwood
9 May 2009

There are looks of deep concern on the faces of estate agents and developers all over the country. They've had an extraordinarily bad time with no sure end in sight.  

But talk with them - as I do all the time, as a property journalist - and sooner or later a smile will appear.

The reason is this. The housing market’s runaway train, with its prices soaring from 1993 until 2007, has finally stopped. But it was not down to the estate agents.

A few tabloids and their readers may still think agents and developers are the devil incarnate. But most of the country – no, make that the world – blame the banks and not the property industry for the slump in house prices and the broader economic malaise gripping the globe.
 
But surely there is something that the property industry can learn from what has happened? Well yes, there’s plenty to learn, and that is why I have written a book setting out how many agents and developers fell by the wayside in the downturn following late 2007.

Did these agents and developers have to fall? Were they as well prepared as they could have been, ahead of what was an inevitable downturn? Of those agents and developers who struggled through the slump, are there lessons they could teach the rest of us regarding their business models, their attitudes and their skills?

I think so, because it would surely be a mistake to simply wait for an upturn and assume all will then revert to the same world that we inhabited in the decade to 2007.

My book does not pretend to have complete answers but is perhaps most useful in raising questions, the classic role of the journalist during the ages.

Luckily I have been able to speak with most of the country’s leading developers and agents, and draw on some international examples. I come up with some suggestions about how the residential industry in the UK can move forward to avoid reinventing the wheel – and tripping over it when the next downturn comes.

Will you agree with my conclusions? Possibly not. But now is the time for all of us to think how we can move forward from now.
 
Click here to see 'The Housing Downturn: Picking up the Pieces' on Amazon.

 

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About the author

Liz Male

Liz Male is a PR and communications professional specialising in construction, property and sustainability in the built environment. This is Liz's blog on the foundations of good communications, covering everything from the basics of media relations to topical ponderings on strategic comms issues. Follow Liz's more concise thoughts on Twitter: @lizmale

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