With 2022 now well underway, Dorian Gonsalves shares six reasons why he is feeling optimistic.
At the beginning of every year, I am always asked if I will predict what might happen in the coming months, and whether I think any future developments may or may not be beneficial for the business. This is always challenging, as sadly none of us have a reliable crystal ball and let’s face it, who could have predicted the global pandemic that has affected the entire planet for the past couple of years? However, despite some of the doom and gloom stories that are currently hitting the headlines I do think there are several reasons why we can be quietly confident about 2022 and this month I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you.
All the latest data shows that the Covid pandemic is finally releasing its grip on the nation. Restrictions are lifting, and life is gradually returning to normal. This means that more people are growing in confidence about getting out and about, returning to work in offices, shopping on the High Street, eating and drinking in restaurants, and from Belvoir’s point of view, will no doubt be tempted to consider the house move that they may have been delaying. Covid meant that a lot of people were naturally worried about people coming into their house for viewings, and tenants mainly stayed put. A growing sense of freedom can only be good for all franchisees and business owners whose livelihoods were impacted by the pandemic.
Belvoir’s franchisees are incredibly committed and driven to succeed. They worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure their businesses survived and thrived, and our franchise support team also worked extremely hard to provide franchisees with constant support and advice. In addition, we have a very strong senior management team and Board of Directors.
Although there is some uncertainty over inflation and interest rates, most people are on fixed rate mortgages and therefore unlikely to be immediately affected by moderately low increases. It was interesting that first time buyer transactions increased by 35% in 2021, and analysis shows that half of all house purchases were attributed to first time buyers.
Following the retirement of my colleague Mark Newton earlier this month, Belvoir announced the appointment of Michelle Brook to the Board. Michelle has been MD of Brook Financial Services following its acquisition by Belvoir in 2017 and has a wealth of experience in the field. Our financial services division has been an area of huge growth for Belvoir in the past five years. On acquiring Brook in 2017 there were just 30 advisers and now we have 250, with plans to boost this number up to 300 by the end of the year. This enables our franchisees to enjoy new income streams and develop a ‘business within a business,’ with many now benefitting from having a resident adviser based in their office. Developing new initiatives that allow franchisees to develop new income streams will be vital for the success of businesses in 2022 and beyond.
There is currently a shortage of rental properties, and tenant demand is extremely high. Lockdown highlighted shortcomings in properties and now tenants are keen to move, so they can realise their dreams of outdoor space and home offices etc. As a result of shortages, rental yields are higher, and this is boosting investor confidence and tempting landlords back into the Buy to Let market.
Like many areas of the business world, the rental market is faced with increasing regulations. It is becoming more and more challenging for businesses to remain legally compliant. This is, of course, where being part of a reputable franchise can be hugely beneficial. In addition, from Belvoir’s point of view, it means that more landlords are likely to opt towards having their property managed by a professional agent who can use their expertise to relieve some of the concerns over compliance. With Belvoir now in its 25th year of unbroken profit growth, I am confident that whatever challenges 2022 brings, our business will be able to withstand them, and our franchisees will continue to survive and thrive. That, for me, is more than enough reason to be optimistic about the year ahead.