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The Current State of the Property Market in the United Kingdom and Europe
The United Kingdom enjoyed serious property boom for over a decade. The property boom slowed down when the economic meltdown commenced in 2008. During the boom years the value of property in the United Kingdom soared, and in some cases the value of properties rose by over 200 percent (Cameron, 2005:5).
One of the main factors for the boom was that the economy had a long period of sustained growth, furthermore the interest rates were regulated by the government and kept low. Added to these factors was an upsurge in property investments fuelled by both local and foreign investors. Finally the government kept a tight control on the number of new houses built during that period, so that effectively demand outstripped supply (Cameron, 2005:5).
Currently, the bubble in the property market in the United Kingdom has burst and the market is currently undergoing some reforms. Prices are no longer rising as fast as they were some years ago and there is now an oversupply of houses in the property market as home owners are reluctant to sell in this current state. The effect of this is that supply of properties out stripes demand in residential property (Ruddick and Moore, 2010:1).
The economic slowdown affected all sectors of the property market, however the price of houses in London are slowly picking up and this is due to the weak pound that has made a lot of foreign investors to come in to the UK and invest in properties (Evening Standard, March 30, 2010).
Stake holders are arguing that the Carlsberg review of residential properties should be the bench mark for carrying out reforms in the residential sector as well as all the other sectors of the property market. Furthermore, the reforms currently going on is aimed at producing better and more information to customers, this lead to the introduction of the Home Owners Information Package (HIPs).
The government plans to regulate the property market, especially the estate agents so that it will no longer be an all comer’s affairs. Finally, there is now a standards board in the property industry, although they have limited powers.
On the other hand, the residential property market in Europe is different from the property market in the UK. The residential property market in the UK encourages people to buy their own homes, unlike in Europe, where the emphasis is more on long term renting (Oswald, 1999:10). Credit is readily available in the UK in order to assist home owners to buy properties, unlike in Europe where it was not easily available (Oswald, 1999:10). However all this has changed as the residential property market in Europe is undergoing some reforms that has had a great effect on the residential, commercial and industrial properties all over Europe. It appears that most European nations are copying the UK model and are now encouraging its citizens to be home owners instead of renting. Spain is a good example (Oswald, 1999:7).
Furthermore, with the opening up of the EU, Europeans can now move to any EU country and acquire property, this factor has greatly affected the property market in the EU, because capital can now be moved easily and investors in one part of the EU can take advantage of cheap properties in any other part of the EU.
Finally, it appears that for eight years starting from 1990, the reforms and gains of the real estate market in the United Kingdom were modelled on the system of the United States; however for six years starting from 1998, the property market in the United Kingdom appeared to be harmonized with that of its European neighbours (Lee, 2009:32).
Commercial Property and Industrial Property
Commercial properties are scarce in the UK and demand exceeds supply. This among other factors led to a boom in the commercial property sector. However there appears to be a slump at the moment as Commercial property in UK was also affected by the global economic down turn. However current reports indicate that the commercial property sector in the UK is picking up and investors are starting to snatch up prime commercial properties (Evening Standard, March 30, 2010).
The commercial property yield in the UK is quite impressive and high compared to its European neighbours.
On the other hand, commercial properties in Europe also appear to be booming. The European economy is recovering and a lot of foreign investors are investing in commercial properties in Europe (Oswald, 1999:7). The economic meltdown has also affected the growth of commercial property in Europe and the sector is also undergoing reforms just like the market is undergoing in the UK. Most EU countries have put legislation in place in order to allow real estate investment trusts (Oswald, 1999:27). This legislation will make it easier for foreign investors to invest in the commercial property sector and inject the much need funds in order to keep the commercial property sector booming.
Finally the demand for industrial property is low in the UK. This is due to the fact that a lot of industries are closing down due to high cost of labour and the strong Pound Sterling. Companies are moving their operations to Europe and other areas where it will be cheaper for them to operate. While in Europe the demand for industrial property is booming, due to the stability of the Euro as well as the economic prosperity in the Euro Zone. Furthermore due to some recent EU Directives, setting an industry in some EU countries is now a lot cheaper and easier than it used to be.
The five major skills that I acquired in the university are as follows: communication skills, multi-tasking, organizing skills and time management skills, IT skills and interpersonal abilities.
The main purpose of communication is to convey one’s message to recipients. Good communication takes many forms such as speaking, writing and listening (Heller, 1998:6). I gained my communication skills in the university through course work presentations, seminar discussions, formal training sessions and face to face meeting with my course leader. These range of activities helped me to acquire my verbal and communication skills in the university. I improved my verbal and communications skills in the university by devoting time to the three key elements of effective communication, which are, effective initial preparation, effective structuring of my material and effective delivery of my material (King, 1992: 14).
Finally, the art of getting one’s message across effectively is a vital part of being a good manager (Heller, 1998:1). Communication skill will help me in future because no matter my status within an organization I will be giving instructions to my colleagues, superiors or juniors and these instructions can range from simple instructions or requests to complex instructions.
I also gained IT skills and interpersonal abilities while studying in the university. We had a specialized IT unit in the university that offered training and support to students. I went for many lectures and training that the IT unit organized on campus.
We had a large IT laboratory on campus and each student had a password that allowed the student access to any of the personal computers in the IT laboratory and there was always an IT specialist to offer technical support to any student that was experiencing difficulties.
Inter personal abilities is basically about getting on well with your colleagues. I was in a university with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I also lived in the hostel and I had three flat mates all from different cultures and backgrounds and we to share the same living room and kitchen. These are the factors that helped me gain inter personal skills while studying in the university.
The explosive growth of information technology in recent years highlights the need and importance of IT skills (Pearlson & Saunders, 2006:7).
In future if I work in an organisation I could be asked to take on any tasks that require different skills at different times. Finally, most organisations are now a mix of people from different cultures and backgrounds, therefore my interpersonal skills as well as communications will benefit me, if I find myself working in such multinational organisations in the future.
One other skill that I gained while studying was multi-tasking and organizing skills. These two skills are essential skill (Crenshaw, 2007:15). I gained this skill by taking part in different activities in the university. As an undergraduate you are introduced to many different activities and some of them have no relationship with one another. I was introduced to so many different activities that involved different tasks to accomplish. I gained organising skills by been involved in many societies on campus. The effect of this was that I had to organise my time effectively and efficiently between my course work and my other activities on campus. This skill will help me in future due to the fact that I can cope in a busy working environment. Furthermore, I can be versatile and engage in different activities that are not related. Finally, I will be able to organize and balance my personal life and my working life.
The last key skill that I acquired while in the university was time management skills. Time management is all about determining one’s priorities. There is usually a lot to accomplish in the university. When you acquire this skill you can then be able to determine your priorities. I gained this skill my making a daily ‘to do’ list the day before and I usually organized my list in accordance with three criteria: the importance/urgency of the task, the amount of time available and the quality of time available (Morris, 1996:73). This skill enabled me to be in control of my personal life and academic life. This skill will help me function well under pressure and make me be in control of my work load in any organisation I find myself working for in future.
- Cameron, G (2005) The UK Housing Market, Economic Review, University of Oxford Journal, Oxford
- Crenshaw, D (2007) The Myth of Multi-tasking, Key Organisations System, London
- Heller, R (1998) Communicate Clearly, Dorling Kindersley, London
- King, A.G (1992) Effective Communication, Blackstone Press, London
- Lee, S (2009) Is the UK real estate market converging with the rest of Europe? Journal of European Real Estate Research, Vol.2, Issue 1, 18-32
- Morris, B (1996) First Steps in Management, Library Association Publishing, London
- Oswald, A.J (1999) The Housing market and Europe’s Unemployment: A Non-Technical Paper, Economic Department, University of Warwick, Warwick
- Ruddick, G and Moore, M (2010) UK Housing Market: Double Dip Fears, Telegraph on line can be assessed at <
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/houseprices/7539267/UK-housing-market-double-dip-fears-subside-slightly.html >
- Scott, P (1996) The property Masters: a History of the British Commercial Property Sector, Spon E & FN, London