Rat and Mouse
Entries in September 2007
Fri
28
Sep

The headline figures are a 0.2% rise, leaving the annual inflation figure at 9.4%. But what they hide is a London/rest of the UK split. In London, the August figure was 1.5%, and the annual figure 16.7%. Nine borough saw an annual inflation figure of over 20%, with Kensington & Chelsea leading the way with 29%. Sustainable? Unlikely.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - House prices

Well, 19 really... you can't count number 20 (believe me, or go and check). The idea is... it's expensive to move, soon you won't be able to find anybody to buy your house anyway, so you might as well make it better and live in it. All the usual suspects are there, but there are some unusual ideas, too, including epoxy-resin bonded gravel resurfacing and multi-generational split-level living for the dependents in your life. Read it here.

Technorati Tags:

More in this Category - Design

If these walls could talk - Nazi edition [London News Net]
US house prices, British jobs [MoneyWeek]
Leading the way in eco development, Living Villages [Telegraph]
More on the iPad [Telegraph]

The Rat and Mouse - because Londoners think about property every three seconds

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage

20070928Money
20070927Mail

Fight! Fight!...

Rat and Mouse gallery 10 - house price confusion [May 31, 2007]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices
Thu
27
Sep

20070927Foxtons
It's a confusing story, but it appears that Foxtons' US division - the part that wasn't off-loaded in the recent £390m sell-off - is in serious trouble. According to a local New Jersey news source, the West Long Branch office is definitely closing, having been soundly slapped by the US housing market slowdown. What's more, the company's senior vice president is quoted as saying that the company "no longer has the liquidity to operate as a going concern". Foxtons US faces - it would appear - bankruptcy.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Estate agents

HKR Architects have put in a planning application for a giant shopping and residential development opposite Ealing Broadway station. The new Arcadia Centre will feature Ealing's first skyscraper, designed by Foster + Partners, and architecture journal AJPlus has turned up the first image...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - W5

Nationwide is reporting a 0.7% rise in September, leaving the annual inflation rate at 9%.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - House prices
Wed
26
Sep

In the US, home sales hit a five-year low [CNN]
Mortgage brokers prepare for 40% drop in business [CityWire]
Buy-to-let in student towns - rip off the kids [Telegraph]
Ace property search site seeks beta testers [Nestoria]

The Rat and Mouse - because Londoners think about property every three seconds

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage

Meet Pav Sheen, Essex-trained, London-practising estate agent, self-confessed master of the dark arts, who - interviewed here - claims he's tried it all:

"We played on people's ignorance, and nudged them into making decisions, so that we could close a deal as quickly as possible," he recalls. A favourite trick would be to arrange two viewings to coincide, and when one lot had left, get someone from the office to ring, and pretend that it was them putting in an offer.

Who'd fall for that? The Tweenies?

Anyway, he's also claiming to have turned... from poacher to game-keeper... and has self-published a book for the benefit of vendors far and wide. Here's a short extract from the summary over at his website:

Chapter 7 deals with the topic of the Valuation. From the moment the estate agent steps into your home The Sales Show has begun with one objective in mind at all times, “ to get you to sign on the dotted line”. It will show you how the agent comes to price he values your home at and how he may overvalue your property just to get it on the market. It will also explain the way in which the agent achieves a high commission rate as a result of over valuing your property and ways in which he gets you to sign with his company.

It gets more sinister:

Chapter 9 talks about other sales tools an estate agent may use that are naked to the eye. How an estate agent uses word structures, different voice tones and physical gestures to subconsciously sell you their products.

And I thought my agent was just playing with his balls.

Anyway... the book - "Tips, Tricks, Traps - Everything You Need To Know About Estate Agents" - is available here. And if you're the kind of person who needs this kind of advice, you're probably in no position to notice the absence of a literate editor. Tomorrow... a special edition of Glengarry Glen Ross for CBBC.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Estate agents

What would happen, according to Stroud & Swindon Building Society, is that the average first time buyer would need to be a millionaire in order to buy a property. And the situation will have spread to the rest of the UK by 2024. Obviously, the calculation takes no interest whatsoever in the market influence of affordability, supply-and-demand etc etc...

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - House prices

Fans of Ikea and/or fans of on-screen techno-candy won't want to miss the (forthcoming) Coventry store's pop-up guide to yellow bags, tape measures and pencils. It's a thing of beauty.

20070926Ikea1

20070926Ikea6

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Design
Tue
25
Sep

BBC Radio 4's File On 4, tonight at 8pm. it's a BBC exposé of mortgage arrangers who encourage applicants to lie. If you're not from 'round here and want to listen to it anyway, you're in luck. You can listen over the Internet.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

The warning comes from the National Home Improvement Council, who are advising potential home improvers to think very carefully, and examine the value of neighbouring properties before signing up tradesmen... thus posing the question, is your house your home or an investment?

[via London Stock Exchange]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

Countrywide modifies terms of 25,000 mortgages to avoid foreclosures [Reuters]
Allotment lovers fight Olympics [BBC]
Leave our trees alone [BBC]
Famous names sell newbuilds [FT]
Borrowers told to lie about wages [BBC]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

According to the Telegraph it would seem so. This is a story of the pure and elegant flip, the one that takes place between exchange and completion (as far as the Rat and Mouse is concerned, a further sale that takes place after completion is just that... another sale... not a proper flip). Interestingly, Ed Mead over at Douglas & Gordon has introduced a contract clause effectively banning the flip.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - _Other
Mon
24
Sep

Ed Balls/Yvette Cooper: Where - exactly - do you live? [This Is London]
The house-sitter's tale [Guardian]
More on the btl, new-build mortgage fraud [This Is Money]
Property prices: the Crossrail effect [Sunday Times]
£1m homes treble [Sunday Telegraph]
But Prime London might be about to trip up [Times]
House-movers wait and see [Observer]
Northern Rock managers party in Spain while ship sinks [This Is London]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage

Did you realise that Foxtons is kitted out with the Big Brother diary room chair? From the Sunday Mirror... and an interview with Alan Davies:

You own the original Big Brother chair from the first series.
AD: ...It’s an egg chair, which have been devalued by the fact Foxtons have them in their estate agents, so now they’re just twats’ chairs.

Incidentally, I wonder how many people who grab a laugh from a Foxtons gag have actually had any kind of negative experience with the firm?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

More in this Category - Design

It's one of the things that makes London great. We can manufacturer a social divide out of anything... even a property buyer's attempt to slip us something unwanted. Apparently, if you're selling the kind of property that goes to bidding and your buyers tries to lower the price at the very last minute, it's not a gazunder, it's a bid-and-chip.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - _Other

We've been asked to put the word out on the street and - like Huggy - we're happy to co-operate. Unlike Huggy, we don't see any greenbacks... we're doing it because we care.

Channel 4 are looking for somebody selling a family-sized London home for their well-regarded Cutting Edge documentary strand. They want to hear from vendors and/or estate agents. The idea is that - in a single, one-hour documentary - they'll follow the process from marketing to completion, and offer a "360 degree view" of the transaction. The person who contacted me seems aware that readers might be a little wary... that - on one or two occasions in the past - honest, hard-working folk have been made to look like chumps by documentary film-makers whose smiles hide fork-tongues. This - we're assured - will be different... and the director certainly has an impressive track-record for sensitive, grown-up documentaries.

So, there you have it. If you're a vendor or an estate agent and want to talk (in confidence)... email Nonie Creagh-Brown or call 020 7907 0894.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Property TV
Fri
21
Sep

Motley Fool risks charges of optimism with guide to avoiding the gazump [Fool]
Apparently, Kirstie & Phil got a kicking from Chris Moyles [Channel 4 4homes]
Estate agents to say goodbye to high street presence [FindaProperty]
Mr Pidgely's property story [Guardian]
Partner bails on Tesco property [Reuters]
Lick your lips, it's Syon Lodge [Telegraph]

That's it until Monday. Don't do anything stupid this weekend.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

20070921Chicken-1Props to CityWire for this very interesting report from the auctions. Repossessions appeared to be order of the day - but aren't they always? People over-stretch themselves even in a bull market. What's more shocking is how little was selling... even at a substantial discount on 2005 prices. CityWire's Richard Lander makes the assumption these are buy-to-lets, an entirely sensible assumption given that so many appear to be new-build apartments of one or two bedrooms. He goes on to interpret this as a sign of the buy-to-let market imploding. The Rat and Mouse might interpret the experience slightly differently. New builds - especially in 2005 - were in many cases hilariously overpriced. If the auction was a sign of any kind of chicken coming home to roost, it's as likely to be purchasers of so-called off-plan newbuild bargains as buy-to-let landlords per se wearing the feathers.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Letting

We've just been informed that MoveMinder have opened a London office. Who? What?

MoveMinder is a move smoothing company that goes beyond the remote service of finding a removals company, making the calls, the arrangements, the checklists. MoveMinder differentiates itself by providing an on-site presence. In other words, somebody will be there... to pack and unpack, even - they say - put things away and make your bed. (Don't worry - you could always put that stuff into a box and mark it private.)

Prices start at £375 + VAT for a day, or £55 per hour.

20070921Moveminder

Moveme wins New Media Age Award [July 5, 2007]

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - _Other

Thanks to a Rat and Mouse reader for this comment on the story of the breeze block landlord, which appeared in yesterday's links. This is the tale of a man fined "a record" £20,000 for renting breeze block bedsits in Hanworth Road, Hounslow, after six years of dodging council requests to serve notice on tenants and remove the extension.

Over to Jim:

I just did a quick calculation - This has been going on since 2001, therefore 6 years= 312 weeks.

5 bedsits at, say £100pw gives gross takings of £156,000.

Subtract building cost of a cheap single-storey breezeblock extension (probably done by mates, cash in hand because no reputable builder would do it without planning permission!) say @30K. Subtract Fines + costs @ £22.5K. That makes a profit of about £100K!

Looks like a profitable business all round. Council sounds chuffed at getting a £20K fine but the owner nets £100K. Is this how the London market works? ;)

Get me the name of that builder immediately...

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Comments
Thu
20
Sep

20070920Epcs4U
... and it has the catchy name: epcs4u.com. I bet that domain went to bidding. The idea is... it's a portal designed to introduce homeowners to domestic energy assessors. Both parties get their shoulders brushed, are given a gargle, a bunch of roses and a condom, and are left to get on with it.

Actually, the company behind epcs4u has a record in the sector. Green Heat has been raising awareness of domestic energy efficiency since 1990... in other words, before it was trendy. Epcs4u will do more than hook you up with an assessor, it claims to be able to help advise on improvements and find accredited tradesmen too.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - HIPs

(Another) look inside Jenny Eclair's Camberwell home [Independent]
Up, down or sideways... an overview of the market [Landlord Expert]
Buy-to-let, is the answer outside London? [Telegraph]
Canny attempt to scare btl-ers into quick, cheap sale? Even though... [Home.co.uk]
Interest rates likely to fall [This is Money]
Live like a pirate [Nestoria]
The great parking revolt of Rickmansworth [Enfield Independent]
Breeze block landlord of Hounslow fined £20,000 [Richmond & Twickenham Times]

The Rat and Mouse - because Londoners think about property every three seconds

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

What's sell-to-rent? It's the practice of taking a punt on a significant fall in house prices by selling up, moving into rented accommodation and buying back at either a lower price or higher spec. Why ouch? Because the fall needs to be significant enough to cover both rentals (and possibly storage) while you wait, and the cost of moving, which includes Stamp Duty, estate agency and solicitors fees, and all the other stuff that really adds up. And if you're wrong, and the market starts to climb again (unlikely, in the current climate - I know - but I've seen it happen before) then you're basically, well, screwed. I've seen this happen to people who have ended up very bitter about the market.

But that was then, this is now. Perhaps this time you could be lucky.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices

20070920FruitAccording to the estate agents interviewed in the Telegraph, forget Starbucks, forget Waitrose, it's the individual organic deli that does most for neighbourhood house prices. And they're cropping up in the unlikeliest places. Battersea High Street has seen house prices rise as organic pasta has distracted house hunters from the council estate. And delis have been seen cropping up in Stoke Newington Church Street and West Hampstead. Clearly there's an organic-free-range-chicken-and-organic-free-range-egg conundrum here; but property spotters take note nonetheless. The piece ends with a nice selection of properties for the greedy, none more than a few minutes away from a farmer's market or deli.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - House prices
Wed
19
Sep

Demolition of existing buildings was due to start a fortnight ago, but - according to this - work has been, at least temporarily, halted due to financial problems associated with the current credit turmoil.

All systems go... [April 4, 2006]
Big shard, little shard [December 20, 2005]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

Rumours of a buyer, and yet Northern Rock shares fall [HouseFund]
Haart: it's just a blip [MFG Online]
Livingstone announces affordable homes programme for London... but aren't they all going to be affordable shortly? [Reuters]
"Terrible and disastrous financial panic"... they don't write headlines like that anymore [Telegraph]

The Rat and Mouse - because Londoners think about property every three seconds

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage

20070919Coyote
Here's an interesting piece on Reuters, predicting a buy-to-let-induced disaster. If Northern Rock's the pin, it says, buy-to-let's the bubble. The story offers plenty of common sense, comparing earnings to interest payments on buy-to-let and offering the scenario that capital growth doesn't continue to offset any difference. The story's told with the that undercurrent of triumphalism that pops up in the press occasionally... as if it has never occurred to the writer that everyone - evil coyote landlords, honest families alike - will suffer either directly or indirectly from a serious prolapse in the housing market. What's crucial to know is the proportion of buy-to-let property that was bought-to-let long enough ago to absorb the RICS's (much quoted this morning) estimates of a (4-to-1) 10% crash in the London market or a (much more likely) year of zero growth, and how many landlords are on 100% mortgages. I don't know. Do you?

RICS offers 9-to-1 on house price crash... any takers? [September 18, 2007]

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Letting
Tue
18
Sep

20070918Hipsebay
It's true. Pursue at your own risk.

Technorati Tags:

More in this Category - HIPs

Some interesting figures from the Building Societies Association... 71% are feeling less bullish, although only 9% think property prices will actually fall, and 65% think that prices will still continue to rise. Less than half bought a home in order to see a profit... most just want to own the building in which they live. Furthermore, falling prices wouldn't panic people out of the market. Just 2% said they'd respond to a 15% drop in the market by selling (which goes a little way to restore my faith in common sense).

[via Reuters]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices

Halifax: House price crash highly unlikely [iii]
At risk... those all-important City bonuses [Bloomberg]
The lowdown on EPCs [Telegraph]
Inflation way way down [Bloomberg]
Granger buys Dulwich [Nebusiness]
Camden Council podcasts [Londonist]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has retreated from it's early 12-15 month house price inflation forecast of 3%, now officially quoting 0%. Over a similar period, the RICS's Simon Rubinsohn rates a 20% chance of a 10% dip in London prices; and a 10% chance of an almighty, early 1990s, Smells Like Teen Spirit-era crash of 35%. More here.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices

Remember, last week, the extraordinary story of Jon Hunt's underground ambitions? Here's Jonathan Glancey, writing in the Guardian, about London's larger burrowing trend. Apparently:

Entire streets in this cash-inundated quarter of west London are being dug up to create underground swimming pools and playpens. In the past few years, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has given planning permission for something like 400 such schemes.

Down is the direction we should all be going, argues Glancey, and especially the public sector... and he tells the story of St Marylebone School, its underground gym and the 5,000 dead people who had to be re-homed in order to make it a reality. It's fascinating. Read it here.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - _Other
Mon
17
Sep

Thanks to a Rat and Mouse reader for pointing out this latest installment in the HIPs fiasco. Apparently, Morgan Whittaker, a major trainer of energy assessment monkeys, has had its accreditation withdrawn by City & Guilds, leaving hundreds of trainees bearing their teeth and slamming their palms on the ground in confusion. The exact nature of the discontent isn't clear, with neither MW nor C&G wanting to talk about it. According to the Guardian:

Allegations about the firm have been made on online message boards.

Eager to know what these allegations might be, the Rat and Mouse attempted to sign up to Home Inspector Forum. We passed the tricky initial membership test designed to ensure only quality Home Inspection scientists can access the boards:

20070917Question

... but, unfortunately, a couple of steps later we were faced with some symbolism:

20070917Fatalerror

Another time, maybe. But if any readers know the ins-and-outs...

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - HIPs

Greenspan warns on UK house prices [Telegraph]
Mortgages will be hard to come by [Reuters]
Brighton to ban estate agent boards [24 Dash]
Even London vulnerable [Independent on Sunday]
Brits teach Eastern Europeans lessons in idleness and dishonesty [Sunday Times]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage

20070917Rockshares-1

Down 31% this so far this morning, dipping below 300p twice. Northern Rock shares were at £11.72 less than a year ago.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

Among the weekend's doom-and-gloom, an interesting detail in this Sunday Telegraph summary piece:

The downbeat mood in the buy-to-let sector was borne out this week by the decision of Grant Bovey, property developer and husband of television presenter Anthea Turner, to pull the flotation of his £200m portfolio of buy-to-let houses, Imagine Homes.

So near... and yet...

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other
Fri
14
Sep

After a difficult day, here's Lucy Farndon, writing in This Is Money, about an extraordinary secret she's decided to share:

In recent days, several executives have privately warned me that they think this financial crisis will not go away, having grown out of more than a decade of irresponsible lending. They fear dire consequences for the broader economy. One senior director at a FTSE bank actually wagered that, at some point over the next three years, UK house prices will have fallen by 50% from the level they are at now.

But the Rat and Mouse refuses to be brought down and orders all readers to make this your personal theme music for the evening and have a glamorous weekend.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices

ABCMoney reports a leaked market report from Rightmove, due out Monday. The headlines: a sudden and significant fall of 2.6% in UK house prices in September.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices
En masse, UK landlords are cashing in on the booming markets for holiday homes. Basically, they are bailing out of the UK and hitting the foreign markets as quickly as they can.

In a report based on in-house research, Tim Warrington, of buy-to-let property portal Landlord.co.uk, warns that 14,000 landlords registered with the website are currently in the process of selling... some in order to finance properties abroad, others to take profits. A proportion - he claims - have failed to account for capital gains tax, an astonishing admission amateurishness in the sector.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Letting

The latest... Northern Rock shares down 20%.

The Chancellor and a representative of Northern Rock have both appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. They've both done their utmost to reassure borrowers and savers. The Chancellor has claimed he has complete and utter confidence in Northern Rock's business and recent decisions. The Rock points out... isn't a bank underwritten by the Government the safest investment of all? Neither the media, nor the markets, appear to see it that way:

Crisis of confidence could engulf banking sector after Northern Rock's emergency loan [Guardian]
Anxious customers crash lender's website [FT]
Rock or crock? [BBC]
Q&A: The future of Northern Rock [Telegraph]

There's more than a little hysteria out there... not least among customers who have apparently launched an ad hoc denial-of-service attack on the Rock's website. It's probably safe to say, though, that:

  • Northern Rock shares don't look like a great short-term prospect
  • The cost of services mortgages is going to rise, and not just for borrowers from the Rock
  • House prices, going into 2008, are likely to be affected

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other
Thu
13
Sep

Just a reminder... Open House weekend takes place September 15/16 in London. Among the 600 properties opening their doors to the great unwashed is 27A Redington Road in Hampstead... an unconventional eco house designed by Monahan Blythen. The Rat and Mouse was entirely unfamiliar with the property... until we found this informative piece in the Telegraph.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - Design

Americans choose credit cards over homes [Housing Panic]
Okay, so will you buy my house if I throw in a Wii? Tech fan loses perspective [HGTV]
RICS report - market turning? [FT]
Barnet feels lonely [BBC]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

20070913Biba
Once home to Biba creator Barbara Hulanicki, this 4-story townhouse in Kensington Park Road still features the odd nod to the fashion icon, even though she hasn't lived there since the 1980s. Check out the kitchen units... hmm. It's with Foxtons and it ain't cheap... this big house (with a garden and conservatory) is listed at £3.4m, here. Click through to the particulars for a cornucopia of photografia.

If these walls could talk... Derek Jarman edition [September 6, 2007]

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Celebrity homes

20070913Aga
Ad agency PHD is about to launch a campaign for the British kitchen's most enduring badge of poshness... the Aga. Expect to find your glossies peppered with pictures of Agas in the homes of the rich and famous, including Alex James, Sophie Conran and Jasmine Guinness.

Technorati Tags:

More in this Category - _Other
Wed
12
Sep

He's over at the Channel 4 4homes forum. He wants a studio or a one-bedroom flat in "outer London", has £150,000 to spend, but is concerned about chavs and teenagers. Sounds to me like he hasn't really grasped the mixed and multi-faceted nature of London-living. If you feel you can help him out, go here.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - _Other

Remember this, from last December?

20070912Sus

Of course you don't. But I'm sure you'll be excited to hear that - after much deliberation - the first five of ten streets have been chosen, and a mathematician friend assures me that no less than two-fifths of them are in London. There's Clapton Terrace, a rat-run in Hackney, and Monsell Road, a drag strip in Islington. More here.

Technorati Tags:

More in this Category - _Other

The Telegraph's Max Davidson takes to the air with Quintessentially Estates' Lucy Russell, a woman who dressed up her dogs as bridesmaids, and flies City boys to look at posh country pads in their lunch hours. It's an interesting read about the rarified end of the house-hunting game. Find it here.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

Housing boom brings "misery", says leading economist [BBC]
Tennant demand/supply imbalance [Letting News]
Connundrum of the day: Tories to save English villages from middle classes [Guardian]
1991 all over again? [CityWire]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage
Tue
11
Sep

20070911WorkinglunchA big thanks to the Rat and Mouse reader who alerted me to today's Working Lunch property special. In answer to your question... no I hadn't seen it, and I'm looking forward to settling down in front my laptop and enjoying it shortly. Thought I'd post the link right way, though, so that other Rat and Mouse readers could take advantage of the BBC's streaming generosity.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Property TV

According to the Telegraph:

Despite teething problems and much hostile reaction to the packs, the Government has assured HIP providers that by the end of the year, possibly as soon as next month, every one of the 1.9 million properties that come on to the market each year will need one.

See, it's nice to know the Government cares about one sector of the community... the money-for-any-old-toss sector.

HIPs receive (yet) another painful blow [August 22, 2007]
Money to tick boxes [August 3, 2007]
Wednesday lunchtime linkage - you know you talk so HIP [August 1, 2007]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - HIPs

According to figures by the Association of Rental Letting Agents the average London weekly rent now stands at £525... and it appears the current uncertainty about house prices is actually lending landlords a helping hand. As long as rents continue to rise (and - of course - prices fail to crash) buy-to-letters are, so the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors say, quids-in, with rents rising at their fastest ever recorded rate, tenants clamouring for property and rents themselves at an all-time high.

[via BBC]

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Letting

20070910Victoria
It's Victoria Mortgages who this morning wondering what went wrong... I mean, all they - and all the other sub-prime specialists - did is lend a load of money to people who can't afford it, in exchange for punitive interest rates. It's not like they did anything stupid or anything. Anyway, the sad news this morning is that the company has filed for administration. Current loans have been sold on; anybody about to sign will be scooped up by GMAC-RFC.

[via in2perspective]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

Knight Frank expect prime central London slowdown for 2008 [Telegraph]
DCLG July figures: London market annual inflation reaches 19.1% [CityWire]
How the other 'arf live [Channel 4]
How some people mistake themselves for their houses [Patrick.net]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage
Mon
10
Sep

Monevator.com is an interesting new personal finance blog with a healthy distrust of the finance industry and an emphasis on personal responsibility. Here, you'll find an examination of the relative costs of buying versus renting in the W6 neighbourhood. It's a good read, and the end result suggests there's little value in buying. However, variables that are harder to quantify and calculate include the freedom to turn a house into home exactly the way you want, and - of course - the market. Certainly, it's fair to say residential properties boom days are likely to be (ought to be) over for the immediate future. But mortgages last longer than the immediate future... and although house price crashes and negative equity have been realities, it's difficult to find a full mortgage term in which properties haven't been a sound investment.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Letting

Sven can't find home big enough for forehead [Sun]
Pimlico home: how architects do it [Sunday Times]
Your street and the celeb effect [Telegraph]
The death of the kitchen [Sunday Telegraph]
More repos go under the hammer [RICS]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage
"the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes..."

He's right, it can be a real bummer. The answer? Eco-caves.

[via HousingPANIC]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Foxtons founder Jon Hunt has started spending his £390m, by drawing up plans for an eccentric extension to his Kensington Palace Gardens home. Eccentric? Like Mole, he's extending in a downward direction. Plans for his giant multi-storey extension - 50 feet below his lawn - include a giant sports hall, swimming pool, sauna and classic car museum. The cost will, they say, amount to tens of millions of pounds. What's strange is that a perusal of the plans lodged with the council reveals they've been around since 2005. Go there now for a host of entertaining drawing and floorplans, including what appears to be a "car lift" to the museum (very Thunderbirds); a "Security Room" (very sensible) and two men with their underpants lowered to their thighs staring at each other (very Tales of the City). In all seriousness, the Rat and Mouse congratulates Hunt on a daring and fascinating proposal. And who wouldn't want to be around to see what's uncovered by the diggers if/when they begin work at such a historically significant address?

20070910Gothegayway

[via the Sunday Telegraph]

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Fri
07
Sep

20070907Usher
Steffi Graf's Miami home, listed at $3.5m [link to particulars]
Hulk Hogan sells Miami Bearch mansion to director Michael Bay [Miami Herald]
Faye Dunaway's your landlady, her little West Hollywood retreat [The Real Estalker]
Marie Osmond (ask your parents) lists Utah home for $1.2m [link to particulars]
YOU can rent Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' Beverley Hills mansion from October... if you've $100,000 a month to spare [Celebrity Houses Blog]
Christine Brinkley's Bridgehampton mansion, back on the market, price tag: $30m [New York Post]
Peace up! A town down! Usher's Atlanta palace, yours for $1.95m [illustrated, The Real Estalker]

20070907Usher2
The Rat and Mouse - occasionally London's not enough

International celebrity property round-up - James Cameron, Paris Hilton, Gisele Bundchen, Ricky Martin, Nicky Hilton, Johnny Depp, Ellen Degeneres, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise [August 1, 2007]

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Celebrity homes

More on Brick Lane, the new literary celebrity [Telegraph]
On Rightmove, technology, and property search market share [Nubriks]
FT house price index shows "controlled" slowdown [FT]
Property + nudity = profit [ThisIsMoney]
Words of wisdom: Don't buy stuff you can't afford [Housing Panic]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage
The market may have lost a little bark but definitely not its bite.

... the words of Anne Currell in an interesting overview of the market by 13 estate agents and economists in the Times. If there is an overall picture, it's one in which first-time buyers are holding off and propping up rentals, a lack of supply means that the top end of the market remains unaffected by interest rate rises, but economists are predicting increases in mortgage arrears and a slowdown in growth in 2008.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices

That was fun. I thought Mike Carter and Mark Hopwood - while approaching the subject in very different ways - both spoke eloquently about what Web2.0 is and the opportunities and risks it presents for the property industry, and I enjoyed Andy Etches' robust case for a skilled, value-driven online agency business that can thrive alongside the the more traditional high street names. I have to admit... I'd been a little nervous about the event. I make very few public appearances... I normally send a stunt double. But with such a friendly and interesting panel, skillful chairperson and informed and eloquent crowd, I'm really glad I didn't miss this. Thanks to Zoomf for the invitation, and to any Rat and Mouse readers who showed up... and particularly those who came over and said "hello".

The gentleman from Knight Frank made an interesting and very valid point about the difficulty persuading the old guard running a 150 year old company that a corporate blog might be safe, never-mind desirable or useful. That's simply never going to be easy. But the reality is that it's probably not a question about blogging, Web2.0 or new media. It's a question about leadership and business culture, and it could apply to almost anything, from technology to dress-code. In any case blogging isn't new. And if the word itself is a problem, approach it as a company journal. If the Wokingham Conservatives are doing it...

If anybody wants to keep the conversation going, or for advice about blogging software/tools, feel free to comment or email.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

More in this Category - Property online
Thu
06
Sep

I'm lucky enough to be playing a (minor) part in Zoomf's Web2.0 Property Seminar this evening. Which I'm hoping means I might get the chance to actually say "hi" to some Rat and Mouse readers in person. Please do come and introduce yourselves...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - _Other

... including two Wilkinson Eyre residential towers, will be on display at the SW1 Gallery from September 19 to 22. The plans are by Land Securities and are colossal in scale, encompassing almost three million square feet of commercial, residential and recreational space between Buckingham Palace Road, Bressenden Place and the station. More here.

20070906Victoria

[story via the Telegraph; illustration from Land Securities website]

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - SW1

20070905Secondlife
Here's the story of (as far as I know) the first open-house to take place in Second Life. US agents Coldwell Banker took an experimental approach to marketing a $3m property on Mercer Island (Washington State)... building a Second Life replica. According to the brokers, the virtual house had 3,500 visitors in three days (and the numbers have continued at around that level), compared to the 50 to 100 people they'd expect to visit the real property each day. And no - they didn't just come and make out on the sofas.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

More in this Category - Property online

Bloomberg survey says rates will stay put today [Bloomberg]
Nigella Express - not about the house [Daily Mail]
What Peter Jones tells Americans about UK homeowners [Apartment Therapy]
Anatole Kaletsky: no-one panic [Times]

The Rat and Mouse - because Londoners think about property every three seconds

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

20070906Phoenix
A fourth-floor studio apartment on Charing Cross Road, charing the building with the Phoenix Theatre, and home - through much of the 1980s and 90s - to writer-director Derek Jarman. There are rumours, too, that the flat was once occupied by Christine Keeler. Unfortunately... no hint they ever lived there at the same time, but imagine the parties. 19 Phoenix House is remembered in Jarman's diaries, as a creative hothouse where he wrote and produced much of his work. It's with Chesterton, at £325,000. Particulars here.
20070906Phoenix2

If these walls could talk... Carry On edition [July 19, 2007]
If these walls could talk... Elton John edition [July 16, 2007]

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - For sale
Wed
05
Sep

20070905Velux
Booms and busts for beginners [Independent]
Future rosier for ftbs [MSN Money]
70s design, back, again [Independent]
Celebrating a London loft icon... in praise of the Velux [Independent]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

Meanwhile, Halifax report a 0.4% rise in house prices for August, leaving the annual inflation rate at 11.4%. In terms of trends, it's interesting that the three-monthly change to August is at only 1.6% (compared to 4.5% in March). Read the actual report (as a pdf) by clicking here.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices

According to figures released this morning, a couple buying their first home today is looking for the equivalent of 96% of their annual earnings (after tax) to cover the deposit and stamp duty. After that, it would be plain sailing: with 44% of their take-home pay financing the mortgage.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices
Tue
04
Sep

How could we have missed this? We've written about ParkAtMyHouse before, but we had no idea that the whole park-to-let thing was such big business. According to the Times, there's a whole swathe of new companies matching parker to parkee, sometimes leasing out driveways in different time-slots throughout the day.

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - _Other

Wackiest foreign homes [Nubricks]
UK housing boom second only to Spain [Yahoo!]
Tories return to "right-to-buy" with shared equity scheme [Guardian]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - Linkage

That's what they're saying at Bloomberg. Apparently, Marcus Cooper is getting offers for the five-acre Highgate mansion he bought in July for £32m with big plans for renovation (and an eventual £150m sale). If you want it now, it's available, pre-renovation, two months later, for just £75m.

London's next most expensive home [September 3, 2007]
Plans for London's most expensive home [July 19, 2007]

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - _Other
Mon
03
Sep

Apartment refurb advice [Sunday Times]
Homeowners forced to raid savings [Times]
Woody Allen: London, it's just miserable enough [Times]
The Isle of Dogs: is it really an island? [Londonist]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - Linkage

According to research, vendors want to avoid the few hundred quid that a HIP costs so badly, they're determined to prove their home hasn't a fourth (or, from September 10, third) bedroom. The most popular way to redefine an extra bedroom is as "study" (82%), followed by "playroom" (21%), "games room" (15%), "walk in wardrobe" (how we laughed, 12%), "tv room" (6%), "library" (4%) and "computer room" (3%). Of course, people search for property online by specifying the necessary number of bedrooms and an extra bedroom can add tens of thousands of pounds to the value of a house.

[via CityWire]

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - HIPs

She's been working in London, and according to this she's already started house-hunting. Whereabouts, we don't know. If you think you've the scoop, send it our way.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

More in this Category - Celebrity homes

Meanwhile - with some arguing that the UK housing market is about to suffer a painful and embarrassing prolapse - Kirstie and Phil offer Sunday Telegraph readers some advice on how to deal with the new uncertainty. Phil talks to sellers:

In the mainstream market, this is not the time to be greedy.

And Kirstie to buyers:

Check out the sellers of the house you want. Are they in a hurry? Have they had an offer accepted on a property they want? If so, cut a deal.

Hmm, anybody sense a buyers' market just around the corner?

Technorati Tags: ,

More in this Category - House prices

Lucy Denyer - writing in yesterday's Sunday Times - had the scoop on East Weald... a 17-bedroom Bishops Avenue house with indoor and outdoor pools which was bought by Andreas Panayiotou last year for £14m, and is currently getting the interior (and exterior) design equivalent of a steroid injection. Neighbours can expect to witness the delivery of all kinds of Italian marble, and the panic room will benefit from a toilet... which the Rat and Mouse considers only sensible. Glentree Estates believe the house - when finished - could fetch £85m. Panayiotou talks to Denyer here.

Technorati Tags: , ,

More in this Category - NW3

 


POSTCODES
THANKS TO
ENTRIES BY MONTH
ABOUT
UK PROPERTY RESOURCES
US / INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY BLOGS
LONDON BLOGS
CREDITS
Publisher Editor Technical and Design Hosting Software