As Christmas approaches, I look forward to one of our most popular traditions – the seasonal ghost story. Many people are unaware that we have some of the UK's most famous ghosts here amongst us in Gloucester and its environs.

At the end of October the government launched a consultation looking into ways of making the house buying and selling process faster, cheaper and less stressful.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced he wants to hear from people all across the sector including estate agents, solicitors and mortgage lenders. He said “we want to ensure that we address issues across the whole sector, from ways to tackle gazumping and reduce time wasting to increase commitment to a sale.”

I noted some interesting comments in a Lloyds Bank Press Release issued last month.

It revealed that so-called Second Steppers believe it is harder to move up the property ladder than it is to get on it in the first place.

Can you remember what you were doing in 1994?

In the UK, it was the year that Tony Blair was elected Labour leader, the Channel Tunnel opened and the first National Lottery draw took place.

I read with interest a recent report from mortgage monitor Moneyfacts which confirmed there have been 15 months of consecutive increases in residential mortgages and that there are now over 4,500 different mortgage options available to home buyers in the UK.