Perhaps, after all this time, our secret is now out. Perhaps the world – or at least the rest of the country – is cottoning on that the grim Portsmouth of popular imagination (industry and fighting sailors) does not tally with reality. Perhaps our main story today proves life down here is good.
To recap, we are reporting that a national estate agency has found Portsmouth is the second most in-demand area in the country in terms of housebuyers; that is to say that for every house that goes up for sale, here on average there are more potential buyers than the rest of the country.
And not only that, but many estate agents have said that not only is there a high demand, but that there’s still a steady stream of homes coming on to the market; in short, there’s a property boom.
Now in many ways, this is great news. It means that people who already live in Portsmouth and are looking to move can afford to do so, which implies a certain degree of prosperity in the city and happiness here.
The fact that several agents also told us that many people were moving in from outside Portsmouth – and specifically London, is a sign that Portsmouth is seen as a vibrant place, and a city on the up.
After all, many places in the south – and many much more dear places to live – no doubt look enviously at our green seafront, our calendar of top-notch events such as Victorious, the Great South Run, the America’s Cup and so on.
However, without wanting to accentuate the negative too much, there has to be a word of warning; simple economics will tell us that if demand outstrips supply, prices will rise.
That’s great if you are already an owner of a house, but less so if you are trying to get on to the housing ladder. Soon the relatively low prices that are attracting outsiders will be no more.
So it’s good that the politicians we speak to today recognise that providing affordable housing is a hugely important factor. While we recognise the benefits of being in demand – and acknowledge that success sometimes literally comes at a price – we cannot neglect the effect it could have on our city.