A Psalm of Live, 7th stanza - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - American poet, 1807 – 1882: “LIVES OF GREAT MEN ALL REMIND US WE CAN MAKE OUR LIVES SUBLIME, AND, DEPARTING, LEAVE BEHIND US FOOTPRINTS ON THE SANDS OF TIME.”
When told about two of the key topics for this month’s magazine, I thought of the sands of time. I am sitting on a balcony looking across London, from east to west. Many of the taller buildings in my field of view were not there 5 or 10 years ago. Today, they are landmarks and reference points for people navigating around London. They are offices, homes, and hotels. What will the skyline look like after another decade has passed?
This week also taking place is the Labour Conference. Labour has recently suggested some significant changes which might impact investors. Right to Buy for private tenants is one. The Tory Party will hold its own conference at the end of the month. In the meantime, the Supreme Court has just ruled that Boris Johnson, the PM somewhat ‘overstepped the mark’ when he prorogued Parliament. Next, add in the Brexit cliff edge; Donald Trump plus his foreign policy agenda; and, the state of the world economy plus interest rates. Just what is an investor to think of all the changes and the potential implications?
Footprints in sand quickly fade - the same for the clouds sliding by the London skyline. The points highlighted in the prior paragraph will not matter to most property investors. Turbulence? Yes. Will the long term landlord still collect rent and see regular demand for what they offer? Certainly. So, be careful about being distracted by the noise. At the same time, figure out the real threats to your future.
You and I cannot predict the future. We can be informed. We can contemplate what might happen and how it will impact our portfolio, our business, or our latest project. What we cannot do is control, or directly influence, the environment in which we live or operate. We can choose to move or to change sectors. We cannot decide how the external environment should be and then make it so. We get a vote, yet the vote does not determine the investment landscape. We are actors on a stage; we are not the stage. We walk across the sands of time; we do not control how the sands will shift after we pass.