Mayday! Mayday! May Day Market Mayhem!


The RB Morris Dancing Ensemble, Dunny-On-The-Wold May Day 2009, Best in Show.

“I’ll try anything once except Morris Dancing and incest…” So said the conductor, impresario and legendary sh*gger Sir Thomas Beecham. A quote that has provided his name with a longer legacy than either his musical or his sexual endeavours.

So, this month, we shan’t be discussing incest (much) but we will, briefly, be discussing Morris Dancing.

We shall be sticking to our Pagan Festivals motif (qv Yuletide and Easter) and our Maritime Metaphors (qv Surf’s Up) as we discuss May Day, and Mayday.

So, on the one hand we have May Day; the ancient pagan festival of Spring (this time not appropriated by the Christians, but by the Internationalists, or Communists, to celebrate the oppressed Workers of the World, and latterly appropriated by the Morris Dancers to celebrate…to celebrate what exactly? Being a beardy tit?).

And on the other hand, we have Mayday; the international distress call – apparently corrupted from the French m’aidez! (help me!) by air traffic controllers at Croydon Airport in their mangled communications with Le Bourget Airport in Paris in the 1920s.

Same letters, arranged in the same order, but absolutely no other connection.

Or is there?

Because as synchronicity would have it, they are both apposite to this very day. For if we labour (Day?) the metaphors a bit further, the Good Ship Rampton Baseley is close to sending out a distress call as we are truly inundated with action in a mad, mad market, and we are also heading into the May Day holiday weekend.

D’you see what I did there?

You really could not wish for a better, busier market; lots of quality stock and lots of quality buyers. Quick stat attack (boring I know, but a necessity for veracity);

Year to date compared to the three-year average:

Buyer registrations up 82%

Offers received up 76%

New Instructions up 107%

Sales agreed up 104%

Houses sold over £2,000,000 up 237%

Aha! I thought you said that stats were boring. Well, they are, we all know that, but one or two are QI (quite interesting). And I think this one particularly QI, worth a pause, before we head off to overly familiar sexual congress and perhaps the Maypole…

I have never, in 19 years of servitude, seen the top end so good round here. We took a house on the other day in the mid-£4,000,000s, we had 45 viewings in 10 days and it was agreed almost 10% over asking price. To a CASH buyer!

You see, the media would have you believe that everyone from the smart suburbs of London is moving out to Surrey in a covid-induced, mass-migratory hysteria. Apparently, they all want more space (to park the Range Rover?) home offices, and they no longer have to go work (the City) as much.

This is indeed true but as with all headlines only partially true.

We reckon migration to the sticks is up by about 18% from normal. But how much of what is happening now would have happened earlier but didn’t because of Covid, or has happened now because covid brought it forward? Who can tell? Certainly not me.

But what I can tell is about the Boxing Day Effect.

Quick resumé.

Boxing Day is traditionally Rightmove’s busiest day. Why? Families are locked-down. They spend time together. They might even talk…they’ll certainly argue. Consequently, if they are indeed still speaking, they make plans. They decide that the home/partner/both (delete as appropriate) is no longer fit for purpose. They decide to move. They go onto Rightmove.

We’ve just had a sporadic, year-long Boxing Day – yes, imagine if someone had presented that concept to you last year!? Utterly ghastly.

Anyway, during this protracted incarceration, people did decide to migrate from Suburbia to Surrey in search of space etc. However, and crucially, just as many people decided to migrate from over the river to our neck of the woods in a similar search for space. Also, many, many people it seems, decided to upsize locally. They’d saved cash (nationally some £1.75bn), their jobs were secure, their kids were back in good schools, they couldn’t face commuting, they couldn’t face getting in the car to buy a pint of milk, they couldn’t face the banality of country life (replete with beardy men waggling sticks and bells, and overly familial sexual congress). They were Londoners, and London was calling (from the faraway towns….). Look, let’s not muck around here covid has changed a lot of things in a lot of ways, but it has not changed the weather (outdoor kitchens!?) and it has not changed the fact that London is one of the world’s greatest cities.

So, they had decided to make London their long-term home.

Four years of Brexit idiocy, followed by a year-long Boxing Day, had kept them out of the market, plotting in dark corners, and stockpiling cash. And when the vaccination program sounded the all-clear this Spring, they came charging out and started hurling the wonga around.

The result, Mayday! Mayday! May Day Market Mayhem!