Rat and Mouse
Entries in November 2005
Wed
30
Nov

There's a nice piece over at the Telegraph which digs a little dirt on the property TV genre. For instance... the woman soundly chastised by Sarah Beeny for poor business sense, who has since launched a property development company worth a couple of million. Or two other Property Ladder victims who afterwards became minor celebrities and had to go around in disguise. And then there's my own personal favourite: the family whose House Invaders revamp extended only to the walls that would be on camera. Read the rest, here.

Kirstie & Phil - the animation [September 21]
Is there an unofficial Sarah Beeny blog? [June 21]
Rat and Mouse mail... Kirstie's lovely, let's not talk about Phil [November 19]

More in this Category - _Other

Nov30fsa.jpg

Lie to your partner if you must, but for God's sake don't lie to your lender. Or you could be charged with fraud - according to this piece over at BBC Online. The problem is with self-certification mortgages, and lenders found encouraging self-employed applicants to exaggerate their earnings. The FSA has recently gone "undercover", sending mystery shoppers to almost 50 mortgage providers and, in truth, they don't seem to have uncovered much in the way of institutionalised dishonesty, but they believe it's still going on. And in any case the self-employed don't need too much encouragement. They've set up a website... Mortgages Laid Bare... with a handy "tools and resources" page aimed at showing how much you can really afford. The internet's hardly short of mortgage FAQs, but this is about the best guide we've seen yet.

More in this Category - _Other

Thanks to the loyal Rat and Mouse reader who tipped us off to this story in today's Telegraph even before we got there ourselves. Apparently, Lane Fox have just sold a house in Knightsbridge that you would think left little room for improvement, fresh, as it was, from a £3 million renovation (including, they say, a £125,000 shower room). But the new owners clearly have very exacting standards, because it's all coming out and the house is about to get a total, bottom-to-top, refit. The Telegraph suggests scouring Knightsbridge skips. Don't bother. We're planning on making friends with the builders.

More in this Category - SW7
Tue
29
Nov

Kensington & Chelsea has the highest concentration of private security in the country, with fearful residents paying £1,000 each to club together and have their residential streets patrolled by the ex-police and ex-military. But the borough also has a historically low crime rate. And, according to this, it's not only unwelcome visitors who end up feeling intimidated by the area's private police.

More in this Category - W8

It might differ in its reading of annual house price inflation, but Nationwide's report, hot on the heels of Hometrack's, paints another picture of an underwhelming November in which prices managed to just about hold their own. But where Nationwide shows an increase of 2.4% on the year, Hometrack showed a fall. Read Reuters, here. Or download Nationwide's actual pdf of inaction, here.

More in this Category - House prices

Scary isn't it? But that's exactly what a survey by MSN (as reported here on Channel 4's money portal) has uncovered. One in three admitted to misleading their partner, friends, even financial advisor (how's that for counterproductive?) as to their true level of personal debt. The theory is that the primary lie is really aimed inward... and that the perpetrator of the lie is actually too stressed and frightened to face up to their own situation.

More in this Category - _Other
Mon
28
Nov

After sixteen consecutive monthly falls, the Hometrack index stopped dead in November, leaving a fall of 2.5% over the year. More, here.

Rightmove reports - asking prices up [November 21]

More in this Category - House prices

Anybody interested in emailing the Rat and Mouse some property book recommendations? The strange, the useful, thrillers... all welcome. If enough readers respond we'll post recommendations and reviews in enough time for you to add them to your Christmas lists.

More in this Category - _Other
Fri
25
Nov

We're watching this thread developing at the Channel 4 4homes forum. Somebody had an offer accepted, now she's losing a bidding war. The house had been on the market for over year. Somebody else has been trying to sell their mother-in-law's gaff for 18 months, now a buyer wants to gazump at £5,000 over asking price. Somebody else reports being gazumped many thousands over asking price. What's going on? It's only a handful of people, but if it's proportional... Are these the renters who've been sitting the market out, waiting for a crash, now returning en masse and in a panic? Why not send us your gazumping stories, so we can see if a picture's emerging.

More in this Category - _Other

Nov25arsenal.jpgThe Times reports on the scramble for notional apartments at The Stadium Highbury Square development. The word is that most rooms with views have already been snapped up by investors, whether professional or new-style pension investors taking advantage of SIPPS (which can already be applied to purchases of properties as long as they won't be fully built before the 2006/2007 tax year). The apartment won't be completed until between 2008 and 2010, which also makes you wonder whether there's whole bunch of flippers out there, too. Except... the prices:

Properties are selling quickly despite the eye-watering price tags: one-bedroom flats start at £290,000 and a mere parking space will set you back £30,000.

Even accounting for a hefty discount for buying off-plan, it's hard to see how the private investor, unable to squeeze out a bit more bulk discount, can be too confident of a profit, paying up to a third more than postcode market value. The Times's Paula Hawkins asks the sensible question: are middle-class Arsenal fans letting their hearts rule their heads? More, here.

Arsenal season ticket with that, sir? [August 16]

More in this Category - N5
Thu
24
Nov

Nov24celebration.jpgWe're one thousand posts long... one whole thousand snippets of mainly London property-related news and opinion and gossip and porn. And we're looking forward to the next thousand. If you want to know more about the Rat and Mouse, why you should consider advertising with us, sponsoring us, sending tips to us or just continuing to read us... there's more shameless self-promotion after the jump.

More in this Category - About

Blimey... it was just a little end of the day post intended to point out the irony of somebody who can't sell their own house giving everybody else a lesson in how to present a property for a quick and easy sale. And yet it's received more mail than anything since our totalled Foxton's Mini picture or the infamous "hey you tossers" letters. Perhaps we're hearing from people with barn conversions, or faux-marble, or barn conversions in faux-marble, but we doubt it. Perhaps they're just offended by Huff's sweeping dismissal of anything that didn't toe the line and conform to her own very narrow, unimaginative and deeply class-conscious parameters of good taste. There's definitely something about Huth's piece that has made Rat and Mouse readers angry. But it's always possible to pull something constructive out of a negative postbag, and we're glad to report that the correspondence does build up a much clearer picture of how to present your house for a quick and easy sale. Avoid "middle class tat", "naff artwork", "clutter", "pretentiousness", and "dark rooms". Anything else?

More in this Category - _Other
Wed
23
Nov

So here's novelist Angela Huth giving some tips to Telegraph readers about how to sell your home:

Avoid estate agents. Take your own photographs and employ your own designer to produce the brochure. Avoid "estate agentese". Big up the garden. Point out architectural features. Don't physically nudge the buyer. Oh yeah, and don't have bad taste (Huth doesn't like "new developments with rural names", "barn conversions with faux marble kitchens", "furniture placed around the edge of the room", "depressing" urban features in country houses...). The trick is to have exactly the same taste as Huth ("nothing later than Victorian, large windows, no beams"), in other words good taste. So her place in Oxfordshire ("often referred to as the most desirable house in Oxford") must have been snapped up. Right? Wrong. It's still on the market... after one year and counting.

More in this Category - Estate agents

There's a cautionary American view of the UK property market courtesy of Bloomberg's Matthew Lynn today. He suggests Mervyn King's recent upbeat comments are the sound of a man congratulating himself for first averting a rise in inflation and then perhaps averting a housing price crash. In fact for getting it just right. But we're not out of the woods yet, says Lynn, and points to rising unemployment (the longest stretch in 13), high levels of personal bankruptcy and low levels of economic growth. He urges caution.

More in this Category - House prices

Nov23money.jpgIn an interesting Guardian column, Jonathan Freedland takes issue with the super-rich... the handful of uber-bankers set to receive the kind of City bonuses that high-end estate agents have forecast will boost the top 10% of the London property market this year. He says something rarely heard since the 1970s... it's not fair... and compares the Notting Hill houses currently being converted back from up to half a dozen flats into single dwellings with a recent Shelter report pointing to half a million families living in cramped conditions, three-quarters of whom claimed their lifestyle was damaging their children's development and/or education. In the run up to a bonus season that has already, apparently, had one salivating London agent marketing a Kensington three-bedroom apartment (on the market at two and a quarter million pounds) as a "starter home", Freedland asks whether enough might finally be enough, and might it be time for a bit of old-fashioned taxation, before Labour's growing wealth gap leads to a civil dissatisfaction strong enough to express it itself? Read Freedland here.

Rich to get richer than Richie [November 8]

More in this Category - _Other
Tue
22
Nov

Buy-to-let brokers Landlord Mortgages have been sneaking around again, posing as potential tenants (scruffy) and landlords (shifty) on the same property, so as to test the discrepancy between what the agent tells each party regarding a sensible rental. London didn't come out too well, with agents over-representing rental incomes by a scary 25%. But nationally, where last year the overall trend was an 8.5% discrepancy, this year it is no discrepancy at all. They even managed to find agents in Manchester underquoting rentals to landlords by 25%. Still, the sensible thing is to do like Landlord Mortgages, and go in there as a tenant before you admit you're a landlord, not least to find out how your potential customer is going to be treated. I recently approached several Putney rental agents to choose somebody to find me a tenant for a studio flat. I entered each office as a prospective tenant looking to rent a studio flat. One agent was so dismissive he talked to me without looking up from his desk. When I revealed I was actually a landlord he got up and wiped his hand before offering it to me. Yuk.

More in this Category - _Other

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper was forced into an admission yesterday that the government's £725 million key workers' homes scheme has been all talk and targets, with 36% of London homes put aside for teachers, nurses and police still empty. In the South East as a whole (where the figure is 35%), that's nearly 200,000 new homes. More, here.

More in this Category - _Other
Mon
21
Nov

The Rat and Mouse - taking London property news. And shoving it.

UK skies... the rise and rise of the British skyscraper [FT]
South London lows... house prices fall in Merton [Wimbledon Guardian]
Great Portland buys major development site on South Bank, plans include residential [AFX News]
What happens to Morgan Spurlock's body after he lives for 30 days in nothing but a luxury London apartment? [Telegraph]

More in this Category - _Other

And speaking of shunts, George Galloway is the target of some ire, today, from the chief executive of the National Housing Federation, David Orr. Galloway has been accusing Tower Hamlets council of selling out its tenants in stock transfer ballots. Orr responds by accusing Galloway of scaremongering, and points out that housing associations are non-profit making organisations, accountable to the tenants and to government. He believes they're the most cost-efficient way of bringing Tower Hamlets' social housing up to Decent Homes Standards, and accuses Galloway of cheating tenants out of home improvements in order to further his own political career. Galloway - whose arguments have a tendency to puff up into a big bubble of pomposity, half truths and Dickensian adjectives, before bursting and raining xxxx down on everybody around him - may turn out to be Defend Council Housing's worst enemy. More, here.

Trots v tenants - the battle for Clapham Park Estate [February 18]

More in this Category - _Other

His name's Jonathan Hunt (yes, rhymes with shunt), he's known in the trade as the hardman of London property, but we know him as the man who, back in 1981, founded Foxtons. And the news is that the Sunday Times has been digging around in the Land Registry files and discovered he's recently become Lakshmi Mittal's new neighbour, spending £14,073,287 on 10, Kensington Gardens. It's a seven-storey, Grade II-listed mansion, and plans are afoot to build an underground sports complex, including a pool under the garden, which will be accessible via a sliding tennis court surface. Hmmm. The full story, here.

More in this Category - Estate agents

From mid-October to mid-November, this is the second consecutive rise in asking prices, according to Rightmove. Not only that, it's a considerable gain, of 0.8%, and is accompanied by rising enquiries and a slightly lower number of properties on estate agents' books. More, from Reuters, here. The report itself isn't on the Rightmove website yet. But when it arrives there, we'll bring you the link.

House prices - glass half full [November 15]

More in this Category - House prices
Fri
18
Nov
Liz Thompson, lettings director of Marsh and Parsons in Notting Hill, cites one client, a senior Barclays Bank executive, who sold his house in the area for £4 million and is now renting at £1,800 a week in the same locality. "Uncertainty in the sales market is persuading a lot of people to step outside the market and rent, while they do something else with their money," she says.

Today's Times weighs on in on that old perennial... is it really so stupid to rent? The piece cites historically low rents, the ghost profits associated with selling and trading up on a rising market, and comparisons between the housing market and other investments. It's a good read, and it's right here.

The truth about waiting [November 14]

More in this Category - _Other

Back in 2003, 53% of Brits thought that property prices would outperform shares in the next 12 months. In the latest survey by the Association of Investment Trust Companies, that figure's down to around 30%. When narrowed down to reflect the views solely of those actively investing in the property market, then it's more like 9%. More, here.

More in this Category - House prices
Thu
17
Nov

Home Information Packs... there's an implementation date just announced, and it's June 1, 2007.

Kirstie - seriously angry... and sexist... and pursued by Prescott [November 9]

More in this Category - _Other

A few minutes well spent, playing this, courtesy of 3Form design.

More in this Category - _Other

That's according to research by floorpan and virtual 3D walkthrough people Metropix. They found that estate agents working for small firms (less than four offices) perform an average of 28% of their work outside of the 9-5 working day; and for the larger firms, the figure still only drops to 21%. In fact, one in six surveyed claimed to be working after 11pm and before 6am. Unsurprisingly, there's regional variation; and (also unsurprisingly) more London agents work longer hours. Not the longest, though... that honour goes to the estate agents of Essex, for whom 40% of their work takes place out of traditional hours. Clearly some of this can be explained by buyers opting for post- and pre-work viewings. And, in the case of those Essex agents, the rest can be explained by using some daylight hours for essential modding and shopping. Incidentally, Metropix is an interesting site, and if you're a private seller using the internet, you might want to think about heading over there to get yourselves the kind of professional-looking floorpan the agents use.

More in this Category - Estate agents
Wed
16
Nov

Nov16flipper.jpgAm I being uncharitable... or is this, from First Rung, a little less than a valuable guide to property investment? Suggesting flipping to first-time buyers in a (mostly) stagnant market is a bit like issuing drunks with guns. Somebody's going to get hurt. Not to mention that fact that if you can safely afford to flip you can afford to buy and you won't be reading First Rung. Somebody's been taking advice from this guy:

An investor we heard of recently bought a house from an elderly seller who wanted a cash sale without paying a real estate sales commission. Her asking price was about £30,000 below market value. The investor had access to cash and closed the purchase within a few weeks. Only then did he discover that the good-looking house was riddled with damp and wood rot damage that would cost about £25,000 to repair. The house also needed a new roof.

That's one way to start your career as a property developer. Get stiffed by an old lady.

More in this Category - _Other
Tut tut. London estate agents Chard Associates were fined £18,000 last week after being found guilty of placing their boards outside properties where they had no legitimate interest - a practice known as flyboarding.

According to the Telegraph, here.

More in this Category - Estate agents
The minute I walk through the door of my £3.5m Chelsea penthouse, I feel very much at home. The white piano, the Oriental-style gold wall-screens, the silver lobster on the dining room table, the rooftop views over the houses of people poorer than myself - these are me to a T.

But the Independent's Christopher Middleton never really finds out whether it's him to a T, although he does spend a night at 35 Benham House in the King's Chelsea development (on the King's Road). It's a kind of try-before-you-don't-buy experiment. But being a journalist (or perhaps the bed was just so damn comfy) he finds all his neighbours have gone to work by the time he gets up, and he spends his day wishing the show flat's bread was edible and the TV tuned in. Seriously, though... it reads like a bit of a wasted opportunity. Those of us who can't afford to live in these kind of pads tell ourselves they're soulless and lacking in community spirit. But, apparently, the gym is packed from 6-8am. Pity he didn't get up a bit earlier. I wonder what a packed 6am gym is like when it's attached to King's Chelsea? Competitive iron pumping? Friendly financial markets gossip? Anybody out there know, and want to spill the beans?

More in this Category - SW3
Tue
15
Nov

The Rat and Mouse - sampling and remixing London property news

Council house queue doubles since Labour comes to power [Guardian]
Rosie Millard slags off her Hackney tenants [Times]
Kensington & Chelsea Council considering Yorkshire style locals-only housing [BBC]
Mortgage brokers reprimanded after arranging loans for the broke [ThisIsMoney]

More in this Category - _Other

That got your attention. And it's not a long way off the angle taken by, first, the Conservative Party, and then the Daily Mail. Here's Tory local government spokeswoman Caroline Spelman, expressing her outrage to the Mail at this attempted breach of security on her knicker draw:

"The forthcoming Council Tax revaluation and rebanding will mean an army of nosy clipboard inspectors invading people's homes, including their bedrooms.

Those filthy, meddling, left-wing, sicko, bedroom-invading perverts. Prescott's office describe the claims as "scaremongering", and point out that inspectors have had the authority to enter homes since 1992.

More in this Category - _Other

Nov15glass.jpgNationally, although prices have fallen, according to the RICS, they've fallen at their lowest pace in 15 months. Great. And... sales are up, and the number of buyers traipsing around houses has risen again for the fourth consecutive month. For us, though, that glass is about three-quarters full, because house prices in London actually rose in October, for the first time in 18 months. More, here.

More in this Category - House prices
Mon
14
Nov

There's an interesting piece in the Telegraph today suggesting that it's not just the grown-up children who are moving back in with middle-aged homeowners, but the elderly parents too. Just as twenty-somethings have been hit with long-lasting post-college debts, pensioners are now struggling to pay for power and council tax... resulting in a sudden surge in three-generation homes. A survey reveals that 858,000 homes may currently comprise three generations. It sounds oddly old-fashioned... a pre-war domestic set-up. Forward, not back, wasn't it, Mr Blair? Find the full article on the other side of this link.

More in this Category - _Other

People never seem to learn. We heard the same thing last year, and the year before. Now there's a survey by the Alliance & Leicester showing that of the 21% of homebuyers who have put off buying a home in recent years because of talk of a price crash, almost three-quarters have lost out financially as a result. The average waiting time, before giving in and realising it's just not going to happen, was ten months... enough time for the average home to rise by £34,000. More, here.

More in this Category - House prices

Nov14anastacia.jpgAccording to the Mirror, she's having such a good time here she's looking for a London property. More (although not much more), here.

More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Fri
11
Nov

That's according to a report by Scottish Widows. And a fifth reckon it might be at least a decade before they can even think about grasping a rung of the property ladder. But before we get all huffy about house prices still being too high... remember that 44% of those surveyed blame student debt - a whole other evil - for forcing them out of the market. And the report appears to take for granted the idea that all twenty-somethings want to buy. Yet we know this and this. Anyway, more, here.

More in this Category - _Other

It's just around the corner from Clapton BR, on Cleveleys Road, and it's described (by Stern Studios) as "a one-bed self-contained cottage". It sounds like it's in pukka condition and well-kitted out (int. Smeg/Bosch dishwasher, granite work surfaces, new boiler, rewired etc), although we're not sure what we think about the "slime-line radiator". It's on at £137,500.

More in this Category - For sale

They can't expand up in Hampstead (planning restrictions) so, if you'll pardon the expression, they're going down. The Ham & High reports on the number of basement excavations currently taking place in the posh suburb. But over at the Heath and Hampstead Society, they say enough is enough. Basement excavations are apparently endangering the structural integrity of neighbouring houses, as well as damaging tree roots.

More in this Category - NW3

Nov11rustycar.jpg

A survey of 120 estate agents by used car dealership Network Q, reported here by Reuters (who apparently don't have better things to report), suggests that an old car parked in your driveway can reduce the value of your house by 8% or even prevent viewings. If it's in your neighbour's drive, it can damage the value of your own home by as much as 5.5%. Clearly, there's little science in these figures, but the message is obvious: offer your neighbour a couple of hundred for the wreck, then get it towed to the house you want to buy and adjust your offer accordingly.

More in this Category - _Other
Thu
10
Nov

left unchanged at 4.5%.

More in this Category - _Other

Nov10Brandts.jpg

While we await the non-news from the Bank of England, why not cast your eyes over this guide to getting yourself a 50s-style kitchen? They say hi-tech is over, to be replaced by retro-modern-with-a-bit-of-colour-and-proper-shoes. It's a look I like (and so does Mrs Brandt, as you can tell from the artist's representation of a typical scene in the Brandt kitchen).

More in this Category - Design
Wed
09
Nov

It sounds as if Colin and Justin have had easier clients. Drafted in to revamp the Hamiltons' Battersea flat, and provide the couple with an excuse to show their faces on Channel 5, they were met with resistance. Christine insulted their clothes. They called her "an old bitch". She called them "absolutely vile". They called her "a heat-seeking missile in slingbacks". And then it all went downhill. You can watch the results tomorrow... Colin and Justin's How Not To Decorate, C5, 8pm.

More in this Category - Celebrity homes
"We still live in an essentially stereotypical way where men earn more than women and women drive men - most men don't know what on earth is going on around them," she says, pouring a tiny pot of camomile tea.

Nov9kirstie.jpgAh, bless us. Anyway, the point of today's Telegraph interview (in which super-chameleon Kirstie Allsopp is variously described as a person who writes in a Wendy House, lives with pretty things, is more Monica Bellucci than Mary Poppins, is part Care Bear) is that Kirstie is angry about sellers' packs. They're going to cripple an already crippled market, she says. Double cripple it. The (very good) reasons are: there's no cap on costs; there aren't enough surveyors to go round; buyers would choose to have their own surveys anyway; the mortgage companies still haven't agreed to accept sellers' packs; the packs may have a shelf life, and the market can be slow; estate agents may have to take out expensive insurance (passed on to us) if they're held responsible for the accuracy of the packs. They're all good reasons to distrust HIPs, but the best is arguably the failure of mortgage providers to sign up for the scheme. And then... the bombshell:

She did a programme on good and bad post codes, and his beloved Hull came out particularly badly. "His department was on the phone saying he could show me a good time in Hull," she says. "I mean, he should have been running the country, not chasing after some two-bit television presenter.

See? That's Kirstie. Who else could resist a good time in Hull with John Prescott?

More in this Category - _Other
Tue
08
Nov

It's a historic moment and I hope you'll all remember where you were when you learnt that the price of an average London home topped £300,000 for the first time. The number - £300,329 - is based on Land Registry figures which show a year-on-year increase of 4.5%. Biggest winners were Haringey, Kensington & Chelsea and Camden, with increases of a very impressive and old-fashioned 10%. More, here.

More in this Category - House prices

Nov8richie.jpg

Savills estate agents are expecting some impressive growth (5%) in the prime Central London for 2006, on the back of big City bonuses and a shortage of property. They also expect the top end of the London market to drag the South East region with it, and forecast a 3% rise. Anywhere else the in the country? You're out of luck (a 5% drop, but picking up again in the next three years). Clearly, the market doesn't split into prime Central London, the South East, and the rest of the world, and if Savills could predict price movements with that kind of accuracy they'd be wealthy enough to buy up all that prime Central London property themselves (oh, right)... but the basic message is one we've been seeing pretty consistently for the last year - a shortage of fabulous London homes for sale, a surplus of not fabulous London homes for sale, and a market that will bump along unsteadily for a few more years. No crash, though. Sorry. More, here.

More in this Category - House prices
Mon
07
Nov

Nov7parking.jpg

The Sunday Times isn't the only broadsheet to focus on London carparking. Here's the Telegraph, wondering aloud (okay, in print) whether the big future development profits are going to come from carparks. Ross Clark talks to John Law, of York House Developments, about the 86 parking spaces he's almost entirely sold (for £132,000 each, apparently) under a tennis court off Kensington Church Street. It's a question of planning. Years ago developments sold with parking... now they don't. And councils are granting many times more permits than there are spaces.

More in this Category - For sale

God, not another did you know you could by an entire grid of four-bedroom homes in Glasgow for the price of a single garage in central London stories... (like you can park your car in Glasgow and duck over to Quaglino's... like you can park your car in Glasgow and expect it to be there when you return...). Actually, this is the mother of all expensive London garage stories, because the Sunday Times have put together a little guide to garages currently for sale, from a £300,000 single garage behind Egerton Crescent in Chelsea (features: "in addition there is a rainwater drainpipe..."), to an underground parking space off Kensington High Street on the market at £95,000. More, here.

More in this Category - For sale

Nov7cocaine.jpg

The thing about cocaine, they say, is that it doesn't break down. So, after your body's done with it, it's still easily traceable. Even after an industrial sewage plant has done with it, it's there, in the river, or the sea. Which is why a couple of Sunday Telegraph journalists took to the Thames with a bunch of Italian scientists and a bucket... to gather waste samples both post- and pre-Beckton and Mogden sewage treatment. (Bet the editor hadn't told them about the pre- bit and just sold them a day out on the river.) So, the results were startling:

Tests found that 37,638 doses of cocaine, or 150,552 lines, are consumed in London every day, nearly 16 times more than the government figure of 2,397 doses. Astonishingly, scientists even found that water from the Thames already treated by sewage works still held an estimated concentration of 20,000 doses, or 80,000 lines, of cocaine.

I'm presuming the government figure means the government's estimation of London cocaine use... not the figure consumed by the government. Whatever, the piece is still very interesting, and it's on the other side of this link.

More in this Category - _Other
Fri
04
Nov

Nov4curbedla.jpg

We're delighted to announce that our friends from the mighty Curbed (New York's favourite property blog) have now launched on the other side of the continent, too (Curbed LA). The buzz is that Curbed intends to conquer the whole country via a two-pronged blogging pincer movement.

More in this Category - _Other

Here's news from the Ham & High that Ken Livingstone has issued orders to Barnet Council to increase provisions for affordable housing, after news that Barnet homes are now ten times the borough's average salary. The council has apparently been actively reducing affordable homes provisions by allowing developers to backtrack on agreements.

More in this Category - NW4

Hot on the heels of Nationwide's mildly satisfying 1.3% October rise, Halifax reports "no change". However, that follows a September increase of 1.2%, suggesting different methodologies and timing aren't radically affecting a message that is much more consistent than a year ago. The annual change is at 3.9%. Press this to download the HBOS pdf to your desktop.

Nationwide reports 1.3% house price rise [November 1]

More in this Category - House prices
Thu
03
Nov

Nov3superhero.jpg

According to a new survey by Barclays Insurance, British neighbours are unrecognised heroes, with 97% of us quietly keeping an eye on nextdoor's house, 74% ready to call the police at the first sight of anything suspicious, and 31% of men (17% of women) prepared to physically intervene to protect a neighbour's property. Blimey. If the other 69% are considering forming a knitting circle... count me in. Anyway, go here to sense the discomfort of an insurance company on the one hand making it clear it wouldn't ever encourage citizens putting themselves at risk to avoid an insurance claim, but on the other hand...

More in this Category - _Other

That's what Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas reckons, anyway. He apparently tells the Barking and Dagenham Recorder that cheap local house prices are drawing in illegal immigrants like a magnet. I'm guessing he's referring to low rents. Because I seem to remember handing in my passport last time I bought a house.

More in this Category - RM10

... strangely, to its lowest level since May. The future business activity index, however, is up. More, here.

More in this Category - _Other
Wed
02
Nov

Nov2R&Moffices.jpgIt's chaos right now at the Rat and Mouse offices... a confusing hub of speculation and gossip as 95% of our executive-level directors have disappeared into a meeting room to discuss a response to an expected phone call from News International, who have just bought PropertyFinder for a reported £14.3 million. Full details, here. Regarding the Rat and Mouse, we'll keep you posted... but if you've any concerns whatsoever about our continued independence in the context of the current media feeding frenzy, let me just assure you... we'll sell out quicker than free trusses at a Cliff Richard concert.

More in this Category - _Other

Nov2gg.jpg

Thanks to a Rat and Mouse reader for alerting us to our inexplicable failure to pick up this one... a 6-bedroom arts & crafts house on Golders Green Crescent. It's special because of its impressive garden, its three-owners-since-1908-new lineage and the fact that it's being sold by The Antiques Roadshow's Ian Harris, whom, it's safe to assume, has looked after it. It's on the market at £875,000; and the Times' Katrina Burroughs writes in depth about the property, here.

More in this Category - For sale
Tue
01
Nov

Nov1pod.jpg

If you caught the BBC News this lunchtime you'll have enjoyed being shown around the inside of a new bijou, 9x9x9 (ft) pod home designed by Richard Horden of Horden Cherry Lee architects. It's being tested out by German students right now, and the idea is that one day the pod homes might be used as a temporary solution for key workers. Astonishingly - and this was a real testament to intelligent design - they looked comfortable and elegant inside... as long as you don't own lots of stuff. More, here.

More in this Category - Design

October's rise was the biggest in 15 months, and brings the annual inflation figure to 3.3%. Nobody's celebrating yet, though, with interest rate rises more than possible, oil prices unstable and homes still historically expensive... expectations of very slow growth remain. More, here.

More in this Category - House prices

There's an offer on it, but the word is that it's shaky and the seller's still accepting viewings. It's a studio, but a studio in Bloomsbury, and in one of those nice 1930s blocks (Russell Court) near Russell Square tube. The main room is a healthy 16 x 12, and has a bay window. And there's a hall between the studio room and the front door, which somehow makes a difference. It's with Stern Studios.

More in this Category - For sale

 


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