It is very hard to predict a moving target.
Yet many are trying to, calling the current situation the ‘new normal’ and predicting all kinds of changes, almost all of which go against (and in some cases radically), long term trends.
Some of the talking heads – it appears to me – haven’t stopped for a second, looked in the mirror and said to themselves, does this really apply to me? Will I do what I am saying once this episode passes? Will most (or any) of my work colleagues, friends and family do what I am suggesting?
Many of the more common suggestions – working from home, social distancing to stay, radical changes in jobs, finance and in short, the way we live – are against human nature. Most of us are village people. We need social interaction and not just the digital kind.
I, for one, cannot wait to get back down to our local café and the corner pub. I am a loner by nature, but I am missing meetings, face to face conversations and even arguing. Well if I am honest, I miss the faceoffs the most!
I also don’t like predictions. Many want me to put a number on a future outcome. I resist doing such as it really is guesstimating at best. BS more likely.
I rather limit my endeavours to foresight. I know that sounds quite up myself, but I am into trying to understand the shape of things rather than presuming their exact structure or mould. I think that is more accurate and useful. To understand is better than blind acceptance.
So, I will say, for example, that house prices could rise – because of these reasons (list them) and the quantum is likely, based on evidence at hand, to be between 3% and 5% over the next 12 to 18 months. But I won’t try and be more exact than that. I won’t say anything like prices will rise by 4.9%; yet many of my contemporaries do.
The decimal point – which seems to feature glaringly in such gibberish – I always find quite amusing.
In short predicting is a mugs game. And more like a fool’s errand given the current circumstances.
So, when will this be over? Will the economy recover? What shape (an L, U, V or W) will any recovery take? I really don’t know. All I know is that this too shall pass.
All I want to say to you at this juncture is the following:
One, have a safe Easter. Enjoy it the best you can. Spend some time – online no doubt – with those that matter.
Two, my Missives, following the Easter Bunny or The Resurrection (take your pick) will continue to focus on foresight; the important housing market trends, which I believe will continue to shape the housing market and our urban landscape once this respiratory illness is better controlled. I won’t be leaping to any short-term conclusions or joining the COVID-19 noise.
Third, I am open for business. That business has several heads these days. We can help you with your housing market and residential project deliberations. Foresight remember not predictions. And to find out more go here.
Forth, some of you want some fiscal certainty at this time of flux. When it comes to things economic, I have a lot of time for Michael Knox. Michael’s most recent outlook paper – relax peeps it is short, to the point and it is in plain English – is available here. Michael is into foresight too, not just plucking numbers out of thin air.
Fifth, you are likely to have some spare time on your hands over the coming weeks. When it comes to foresight, may I suggest the following titles. They are well worth the read or listen.
All the best to you and yours.