As we enter the start of the holiday season it is at this time of year that we reflect on the past year and what it brought to us in terms of the property market both in sales and lettings.
I think it is clear from everyone’s point of view that this year has been unprecedented, and no one knew in January how this year would unfold and how we would have to deal with so many different issues and situations.
Firstly I think it is important that Alison and I as directors of Boothroyd & Co heap praise and admiration on the whole of our team who have shown incredible ability to deal with 2020 flexibly with unfailing dedication and professionalism.
With considerable activity in both the sales and lettings market, the year started well and up to the middle of February we thought it was going to be another good year. In early March the advent of Covid-19 raised its head in a serious way, and we thought that trouble was afoot. We were right!
Following the national lockdown in the spring the team adjusted to working from home, some being on furlough, others working through, but everybody pulling together and realising that we were in difficult times but we still had sales to progress, lettings to make happen to get people into homes, essential maintenance to carry out whilst at the same time trying to earn an income to the business to secure the future.
At the end of the first lockdown for the property market we were told that the office could open with only 12 hours notice. At that point John Ansell as the General Manager did an incredible job setting up rotas for working, introducing extra health and safety procedures, employing contractors to install screens within the open plan office and utilising the remaining offices. All his hard work and that of the team soon started to pay dividends and from that point on even during the second lockdown the office has been busy, productive and efficient on both sales and lettings implementing new legislation, always trying to do the best we can for our clients but being aware of the social distancing measures that we had to and continue to undertake for both our clients and our staff.
Although we have been in extremely challenging times, HS2 has started development all around us which is evident and sometimes annoying with traffic lights and delays. New residential developments at Common Lane and Warwick Road are continuing to be built and appear to be selling well. The main shopping area in Kenilworth has seen some major changes with the closure of Poundland and one or two other major retailers that unfortunately have been victims of the pandemic , together with smaller retailers and businesses. However it is not all negative, there have been new coffee shops opening within the town which seem to be doing sterling business and it is possible that a market town like Kenilworth will benefit from individual retailers who are keen to show their entrepreneurial spirit in the town. I am not sure that this is the case within major city centres where there are going to be structural changes and major anchor stores will disappear when the internet becomes the norm for big ticket retail shopping.
Even though we have been through such a difficult year, I think it is important to realise that perhaps many changes that have taken place are not unexpected but possibly would have happened within a decade rather than a year, particularly in terms of home working and flexibility, changing shopping patterns and delivery, and an increased reliance on technology.
At Boothroyd & Co we are prepared to change, move with the times, invest in technology and systems that improve our delivery of service to you as our clients to make sure that you always have the best possible service despite the circumstances.
Alison and I along with the senior management team of John Ansell, Caroline Jones and Gary Simcox thank you for bearing with us, understanding the difficulties that our business had to and continues to endure and remaining loyal and valued customers.
We would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and we hope you have a successful and improving 2021 when the geography of the country will return to a more normal pattern, social lives will become easier coupled with our changing working lives and people will still want to move and relocate and rent to and within the town, becoming part of the wonderful community of Kenilworth.
John Boothroyd FRICS
Chartered Surveyor and Director