Is this the 'end of the beginning'? Part 1

Churchills famous words resonate around us now.

Our greatest leader was talking in 1942 of the hard-won victory in North Africa over massed German forces. Britain and its Commonwealth Allies had battled hard to show what Churchill argued was not the Beginning of the End of the Second World War but was the first sign that it could be won.

History shows he was right, in the end.

Drawing sepia-toned and romanticised comparisons with our current fight against what is being dramatically known as the ‘Invisible Enemy’ – Covid-19 – are too easy and perhaps even unhelpful. 

We live in a vastly different world in 2020.

Yet there is one echo I can find in this history for today and that is that none of us knows, when the dust has settled from Covid-19, what will be the New Normal.  

American unemployment is at unheard of levels and still rising, even middle-class Americans say they find their ability to save has been seriously compromised by Covid-19 and employers are expressing increasing disquiet about their ability to operate.

The picture is similarly grim here, though we have yet to see the full statistical picture.

Savings are of course for what our grannies all used to say, a rainy day. It is a sentiment with which the Family Building Society wholly concurs. Metaphorically, days do not come much rainier than these.

With interest rates a razor blaze’s width above zero and inflation at whatever level always lurking in the shadows, the pressure on savers is at its brutal worst. 

What we do know is that there has been a dramatic collapse in consumptions in the UK – what economists categorise as Personal Consumptions. That’s everyday purchases to you and me. 

Spending on every commodity except groceries, holidays, online shopping, DIY/home products and alcohol and tobacco has collapsed by more than 40 per cent, on average, compared with April 2019. Perhaps no surprises there given the circumstances.

It has been widely reported too the property market is in stalemate both residential and commercial, though for entirely different reasons.

The Family Building Society can full attest to the difficulties faced for borrowers and lenders right now because, well, we are both.

There is no doubt that Property - whether as a home, workspace or investment – is going to be at the very heart of the New Normal.

We understand this and whatever happens next, we’ll be right there with you to help if we can.

Because, possibly, the only way from here is up…

Written by Steve McDowell

The content of this blog is Steve McDowell’s personal opinion and comment, and views expressed here are his and unless specifically stated, are not those of Family Building Society. The content on this page is not intended to be advice in any circumstances.