As I trudged cautiously through the deep snow in freezing Hertfordshire it warmed the cockles of my heart to think of the New Year ahead and wonder what opportunities will present themselves.

A return of competition to the mortgage market, a rise in interest rates, further property price increases, the return of first-time buyers, a new Government, a world cup win? There are many questions to ponder.

Already we have seen a couple of positive reports; one by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply suggesting that the UK’s Service Sector had enjoyed the strongest growth in new orders for two years, and another from Zoopla.co.uk stating that house price confidence has returned to levels not seen since before the credit crunch. This states that 81% of people expect house prices to rise in the first 6 months of 2010.

On the other side of the coin, however, we also have Nationwide’s monthly index of Consumer Confidence falling by its sharpest margin since November 2008, as many continue to worry about job security and tax increases. The full scale of the public debt means that most people are fully aware that there is considerable pain to come, whoever wins power in the forthcoming election.

Political posturing began in earnest on the first day back and does anyone else have a feeling that this campaign is going to be a messy business on all sides? The only thing to look forward to is the planned series of televised debates between the Party leaders which is well overdue and if nothing else should make some entertaining viewing. To be honest I am yet to hear anything particularly “vote-winning” on either side as yet, but we live in hope!

For most in our industry I suspect the first quarter of this year will be a crucial one and I hope we do not see any other casualties.

Wishing you all every success in 2010 and remember, as Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”

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