Scotland’s first minister Jack McConnell, who is known for sitting on the fence on most issues of any importance, was surprisingly outspoken when he said he would not be supporting England.This has probably raised his profile and popularity in Scotland more than any policy decision he has made. And David Beckham, who we always turn to for guidance where politics are concerned given his obvious knowledge about current affairs, effectively gave his blessing to McConnell’s stance by saying he respected his views. Well, thank goodness that debate’s over and we can enjoy the footie. But could first-time buyers and others struggling to get on the housing ladder benefit from the World Cup if it causes a slowdown in the housing market? They could if there’s any truth in the findings of recent surveys concerning what people plan to do with their time and money over the summer months. Rather than house hunting and saving for deposits it seems most people are packing their bags to go to Germany or somewhere sunny to watch Rooney – if the poor soul’s foot is better – et al in action. Alternatively, some are planning to jet off to somewhere remote where they can avoid watching a bunch of overpaid men running around. One of the most recent surveys by American Express Travel Insurance reveals that one in eight Britons are planning to book a holiday in an attempt to avoid the football-related proceedings. Not surprisingly, of the people doing this 56% are women. Another 2% have booked holidays abroad where they know they can still watch the World Cup, 2% are travelling to Germany to watch the matches live while 28% are staying home to catch as many matches as possible. And whether drowning their sorrows or celebrating, fans will be spending a lot of their hard-earned cash in bars while watching the games on their hols. Halifax Travel Insurance estimates the average fan will spend 312 per week in foreign bars. Of those, 40% will head for British-themed bars. The thought of drunken England fans getting merry after a day in the sun in the nearest Beckham bar makes me almost glad to be at work in Glasgow. Any money left over that could have been put towards a deposit on a house is more likely to be spent by men having to appease their neglected better halves. Halifax says one in 10 predict that their or their partner’s football focus will end up causing an argument during their break. Virgin Money reckons fans will spend 635m taking partners out to compensate once the World Cup is finished. And women are unlikely to find their partners willing to trail round estate agents with them even if they are in the country as it’ll be difficult to drag them away from the TV screen. Virgin says more than 3.75 million fans plan to watch every World Cup match on TV. We won’t know if this obsession with footie over the summer will have an affect on the housing market until the figures on completions start coming through over the next few months. But it’s hard to believe there will be no slowdown if these surveys are based on any kind of fact. If your clients can drag themselves away from the televised action it could be a good time for house hunting.
The World Cup has finally kicked off in Germany, following the controversy over whether all Brits should follow the England team or if it\'s OK to side with the opposition.