Monday 11 December 2017

Brendan O'Connor: Maybe it is time to stop thinking of property as a no-go area

If we have learnt anything from before, it is that following the herd might not be the best option, writes Brendan O'Connor

I will never call the property market again. I have made many predictions in my life that were correct, even on the property market.

I cautioned many times about the wisdom of building an economy solely based on selling each other houses and not actually making anything or selling actual things to the rest of the world. I called property expert Liz O'Kane on, of all places, a New Year's Eve show at the end of 2008 when she said that property had bottomed out. Down the years I called lots of stuff right. But I'm told if you go reading about me on the internet (which I swear I never do -- do you think I have a death wish?) you will find a lot of references to a piece I wrote the year before that in which I said the smart, ballsy guys were buying property. In fairness to me, at the time, and unfortunately for all of us, they were, and with our money, as it turned out. But still, bit of an old hostage to fortune. In the good old days that would have been chip wrapper but of course d'internet being d'internet, that is the one article of the thousands I have written that you will find everywhere. But then, that's their job on the internet.

So in short I won't be calling the property market ever again. In fact, I note that most economists prefaced their predictions for 2012 this year by saying that all bets were off because things are so unpredictable. Try and get an expert to tell you where to put your savings and he or she will faff around for hours without giving you a straight answer. I see even the mighty FT resorted to suggesting arable farmland as one of the last safe havens recently.

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