On Friday night I spent 4 hours in Cardiff that were 4 hours that I will never get back and I could have been doing something really productive; like washing my hair. The choir was great, the Band of the Welsh Guards as national-pride inducing as ever and the goat was simply outstanding doing its goat bit. The match? Well, a win is a win, whether you win pretty or you win ugly, but you know that you are not worshipping at the altar of sporting prowess and finesse when the crowd start doing a Mexican wave…half-way through the first half or Fusilier Llywelyn (of the four hooves) moves across the try line better than either side’s Number 8. Ah, well. My wife chose to wear a blue scarf and was constantly greeted with, “Bonjour” in a Parisian via Pontypool accent. A classic case of people assuming something whilst knowing nothing. It was an evening of great expectations that sadly fell a long way short of the mark. Speaking of expectations and poor performances, it is not just the sporting press who have felt short-changed. As is our wont, Cheshire & Co have-on more than one occasion-blogged about something that is now making the property headlines; in this particular case, the demographic of potential house purchasers known as “second-steppers”. According to Savills, who have conducted some sort of survey, the number of transactions for those looking to move on from their first starter home is down 25% on the 10 year pre-credit crash average (that just slips off the tongue, doesn’t it?). This means-according to Savills-that there have been 5.26 million fewer transactions “than expected”. Here is the rub or the $60,00 question: how on earth does one arrive at that comment supported by those figures? ‘ Less than’ or ’10 years ago’ I can work with, but “expected”? Who was expecting what under what conditions? Wiffly-waffly, or to use a well-worn phrase from my Army days, “Big hand, small map”. When I thought about it, the Savills’ report is typical of certain parts of corporate estate agency. By about July 2016, the various managers will be asked to begin preparing their forecast and budgets for 2017, with an agreed signing-off date of November 2016. This is understandable due to size but what must also be understood is that it will not necessarily be realistic or accurate by the time that it is published for public consumption. Again, we have blogged before about the numerous assistance schemes that are available to help people get onto the first rung of the property ladder. Is this to be seen as genuine help or a well-executed political move? Does the end result differ if it is one or the other? Whatever contributed to the Savills’s survey results differing from what the soothsayers had uttered, at no point in their report did they proffer the possibility that many of these ‘buy our next house’ possible purchasers who bought their first property pre-crash are quite happy to sit on their increasing-in-value asset rather than strap themselves up to the hilt in debt. In life making assumptions can be a dangerous occupation or as my old CO would say, “Assumption is the mother of many a F$%^ up”. Wise words.