The recession is over: ask Leighton Buzzard

I live on an estate of sixty three houses built into woodland. Over the last five years of the recession few have changed hands. Until recently there were six for sale. Several involved human tales. One was because the middle aged woman has serious arthritis and the couple want to move into a bungalow. Another is due to a retired civil servant and his wife finding themselves unable to cope on their pension. Occasionally it is difficult to see their personal despair.

Now four of the properties have offers and are expected to sell quite quickly. Brochures from estate agents suggesting “We need houses in your area to meet growing demand” are being pushed through the letter box. A new estate agency has opened up in the town. Is Leighton Buzzard coming out of the recession?

The financial services sector thinks so despite there being little increased activity in the new issues markets. The FTSE100 is up and down and attracting attention. There is more comment on the proposed privatisation of the Royal Mail, Lloyds Bank and possibly part of RBS.

The Governor of the Bank of England is waving a cheerful “goodbye” despite being denied a final tranche of quantitative easing. Annual new car sales are up 11%, professional services have risen by 4.9% and 4,000 people have reserved a new build home using the ‘Help to Buy equity loan scheme’ which started in April (the buyer needs to find 5% of the purchase price and the Government provides a 20% interest free loan for five years).

Inflation fell to 2.4% in April helped by reduced fuel costs. Some economists are predicting a modest growth in GDP perhaps as high as 1.8%. The Eurozone seems to have stabilised. There are bullish factors everywhere.

The commuter trains from Leighton Buzzard into London are full. Luton Airport seems busier than ever and there are four new taxis in the town. The local doctor’s practice (part of a Clinical Commissioning Group) is building a massive new extension. ‘Mr. Splosh’, run by Eastern Europeans, is cleaning more cars than ever before.

Life in Leighton Buzzard is not too bad.

What recession!?


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