They didn't forgetMister Groffit

YET MORE evidence reaches me that the property boom is well and truly over and a slump is just around the corner. No doubt the professionals will dismiss this as purely circumstantial. However, they are entitled to their complacency and it is not for me to intrude on their private detachment from the real world. All I would say is that as a close observer of the market over the last year, I am in a better position than most to detect those small shifts in attitudes and emphasis which suggest the emergence of a new trend.

The source of my new evidence is a local estate agent with whom I have developed something of an off-off relationship over the last 12 months. This is the firm which has consistently dismissed my endeavours to buy a new house as a childish fantasy. All my efforts to engage the agency in some kind of rapport have fallen on stony ground. Until last week.

To my absolute surprise, through the door dropped some particulars of properties new to the market for my perusal. Latterly I have equated unsolicited property particulars with the winning numbers in the National Lottery. So to find the details of not one property but three all in the same envelope was a cause for celebration.

The houses were of the right proportion, in the right price bracket and in the right condition. The only problem was that they were in the wrong part of the world. I have nothing whatsoever against the areas in question; it is just that they are several miles away from where I need to be. To be fair to the estate agent they were in the same country, but when it comes to the home of my dreams I tend to be just a little bit on the fussy side.

It butters no parsnips with me that the charming property is a short stroll from the town centre if it is the wrong town centre. You may wonder, then, why I am so animated about receiving a bunch of particulars which have no use to me whatsoever. The point here is that at last the estate agent is making an effort.

Having been ignored so readily over the last year it makes a pleasant change to know that someone has at least gone to the trouble of digging out my details even if they have then ignored them completely. This is a major breakthrough and suggests to me that life in the fast lane of the property market is beginning, for the first time, to look just a little less glamorous.

And there is more. Just a few days later I received a telephone call from the same agent.

"Is that Mr Groffit?"

"Yeees."

"Are you still looking to buy a house?"

"Yeees."

"It says here you want to buy in Richmond."

"Yeees."

"What about Twickenham?"

"What about Twickenham?"

"Are you interested?"

"I suspect that if I had been interested I would have said so on your form."

"So you are not interested in Twickenham?"

"No, I am interested in Richmond."

"So you don't want to view properties in Twickenham?"

"No, I would like to view properties in Richmond."

"Fine, I'll be in touch."

That may seem to you like a somewhat inconsequential conversation. Indeed it was. Except that it establishes for the first time an intercourse which was instigated by the estate agent. I know it was not particularly fruitful but it is a start.

To my simple mind this new- found enthusiasm for getting in touch with prospective buyers is a sure-fire sign that the market is getting a little soggy. It may be insufficient to call the onset of a slump with total confidence but we are moving in that direction.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'