Rat and Mouse
Entries in September 2009
Wed
30
Sep

According to research by Halifax Home Insurance, we're just not getting on the way we used to.

The most common problems were excessive noise, rude or intimidating behaviour and the "hijacking" of legal boundaries through illegal building or structural work.

One in five admitted to "serious problems" with their neighbours, the second year of worsening relations after a decade of improvement. Surely not a coincidence that its timing matches the stresses and strains of the economic downturn?

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More in this Category - _Other

The squatters' new best friend, the Daily Mail shares the moment as squatters move into a £12m house in Chester Square, Belgravia... apparently the street the credit crunch forgot. Check out the pictures, here.

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More in this Category - SW1

The lender's making £500m available to borrowers with just 10% deposits, to satisfy what it describes as very strong demand. According to the bank, property prices have bottomed... possibly a dangerous assertion, particularly at a time when interest rates are so low. More here.

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More in this Category - _Other

The Sun takes estate agents Geering & Colyer to task after a reader turned up to look at a fisherman's cottage in, err, Dungeness and was shocked to find two large nuclear power stations clearly within view. (I know... only a Sun reader would turn up in a place called Dungeness and be surprised to find a little nuclear industry activity.) What the reader/newspaper resents, it appears, is that G&C took photos that didn't show the power stations in the background. But just, for a moment, imagine if they had. Imagine being the vendor. It would feel like sabotage. Mocked if they do, mocked if they don't. Perhaps a discreet mention would have been wise. Within easy reach of... convenient for... or something. Read it, here. Particulars, here.

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More in this Category - Estate agents
Tue
29
Sep

We'd be interested to hear from a spokesperson for Wow Property, whom we wrote about back here. They appear to have - er - vanished, although their listings remain on major portals. We're just wondering, because... well... this:

20090930Wow

Mischief? Or what? Feel free to use us to put the record straight.

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More in this Category - Property online

20090929Stpauls £4.5m buys an abandoned church tower in St Pauls, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, re-envisioned as something radical and residential, over 12 floors, with some original stone staircase retained, and a balcony around the tower with unique views. Particulars - and some great photographs - here.

20090930Stpauls2-1

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More in this Category - For sale

London students targetted by property fraudsters [Observer]
Daily Mail decides rising house prices are bad [Daily Mail]
Oldies take the money and run [Sunday Telegraph]
Prime London rents supported nicely by business [Sunday Telegraph]
Gwen Stefani, burgled in Primrose Hill [The London News]
The London property famine [Standard]
In America... the Drapers are decorating... we'll have to wait [Apartment Therapy]
House prices and restaurants [Telegraph]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog, since 2005

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More in this Category - Linkage
Mon
28
Sep

Another one... this time, a 0.2% rise in September, but heavily weighted toward the south. In fact, only 15% of postcodes saw any kind of a rise, and prices remained unchanged in 84% of areas. According to Hometrack, the average house in England and Wales is just 5.6% off where it was a year ago. But

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More in this Category - House prices

The first fall recorded in four months by the Land Registry... a 0.1% drop in August. Annually, we're now just 9.4% down (from 16.3%)... and the gap continues to narrow.

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More in this Category - House prices

I'm packing up for the weekend, but before I go I want to say a big "thank you" to our sponsor, Primelocation.com. Remember, Primelocation.com isn't just about searching properties listed by 4,000 leading estate agents, the website's a mine of useful advice, information and links. An example? Go here to search up-to-date real life completion prices for UK property. Snoop on your neighbours. Do the maths before making an offer. It's useful, it's free... you need to register, but it's quick and easy. If you've feedback, let us know and we'll pass it on with pleasure.

If you want to know more about advertising opportunities on the Rat and Mouse, drop me a line. Or if you just want to chat with the Rat, we're on Twitter here, or email us tips here.

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More in this Category - Property online
One person willing to sell a kidney is a 26-year-old mental health nurse who said he needed the money to pay debts after a business he set up went bankrupt. Another is a 43-year-old taxi driver from Lancashire, who wants to raise cash to pay off some of his mortgage and buy a new kitchen.

Where he'll prepare steak-and-kidney pie? I'm so appalled I can barely type.

Recession digression 29 - nuts [September 17, 2009]

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More in this Category - Recession digression

It's been a long-time in the making, but - according to sources - Elle Macpherson spent the weekend drinking bubbly (okay, she always drinks bubbly), doing some celebratory shopping (okay, she always goes shopping), bathing in milk (okay, you get the picture), because she's finally sold her Notting Hill home. For how much, we don't yet know.

If these walls could talk... Elle Macpherson's £2m price-drop edition [June 10, 2009]
Celebrities who don't sell [April 16, 2009]

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Fri
25
Sep

We're hearing it's been demolished... we hope the Lego's been donated to a good cause.

Campaign to save James May's Lego house [September 22, 2009]

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More in this Category - _Other

20090924100Design

The BBC visits 100%designlondon, and provides us with a photo essay featuring some of the best home couture. Click here.

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More in this Category - Design

Plans submitted to Camden Council reveal ambitious basement plans for the Highgate mansion and star of Fame Academy, including an underground swimming pool, cinema, car park (for 24 cars), and living/dining room for servants. It's believed to a be a record-breaking project, and the Highgate Society is described here as cautious here about setting a precedent that could see an underground building spree around Hampstead Heath. Interestingly, the piece, in Camden New Journal, describes the owner as "currently anonymous". Does that mean Elena Baturina has flipped the property already?

Witanhurst - flipped, but slowly [July 16, 2008]
Witanhurst - ready to flip? [September 4, 2007]
Plans for London's most expensive home [July 19, 2007]

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More in this Category - N6
Thu
24
Sep

The names for these social phenomena are getting less and less catchy. The Standard coins the latest.

Welcome to the world of the J-Lo-Mos — the lucky ones who still have jobs and low mortgages. The J-Lo-Mos — and, touch wood, I'm one of them — are the reason why this recession feels odd and quite unlike the last three.

The point - made by wood-toucher Jonathan Prynn - is that some people... those who stand to profit from the current trivial interest rates... in other words, those in a job and with decent equity... a having a riotous recession. Restaurants, theatres, football clubs, they're all doing nicely, thanks, apparently, to the J-Lo-Mos.

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More in this Category - _Other

The Primelocation blog wonders why Jade Jagger's £1.5m Queens Park flat still - after a year - hasn't shifted. Could it be the strippers' pole (see where I place that apostrophe... the Rat and Mouse provides itself on an extravagant imagination) in the bathroom? Those things are expensive to install, you know? Particulars, here.

20090924Jagger

Celebrities who don't sell [April 16, 2009]

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

Including Bow Street, Abbey Road and Covent Garden... original street signs complete with Westminster Council authentication certificates. The council is replacing them with anti-graffiti models. The Ebay sales are said to offset the cost.

20090924Ebay

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More in this Category - _Other
Wed
23
Sep

Londonist reports on the state of play at Highbury, where hardcore Arsenal fans have the opportunity to buy a bit of the beloved, in a football to residential conversion. The story is that - with the development due to open tomorrow - there are still 80 flats to sell, and little chance of them going in a hurry. More interesting, and worrying, is the suggestion that the mix of luxury and affordable housing is likely to create some kind of unpleasant two-tier green-space regulations.

More in this Category - N1

In a survey of 1,100 MSN (Microsoft Network) users more than three quarters said they expected house prices to either remain stagnant or fall in the coming 12 months, with almost a half expecting a fall. Only 23% believed in the current (according to many indices) revival. More, here.

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More in this Category - House prices

How the Brits live... a big Chelsea conversion [NY Times]
On shared ownership... but is now really the right time? [Independent]
FTb mortgages down 17% [Metro]
Retro-mansion planned for Cotswolds, no accounting for taste [Telegraph]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

When two female vendors checked their Rightmove listing, after signing up with Jackson-Stops & Staff, Bury St Edmunds...

They discovered that the word ‘lesbians’ was at the bottom of the Rightmove advertisement for their house, in the space normally reserved for a reference number. When the couple complained, they were apparently told in an email: “We fail to see how we have discriminated against you.”

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors disagreed, but didn't impose a fine. J-S&S had already paid the couple £5,000 in an out-of-court settlement, and given its staff a little "training" in how not to mock people for their sexual orientation (because, you know, that's really difficult, right?). We're just relieved J-S&S didn't try to argue that the whole things was an unfortunate coincidence, that lesbians just happened to be the random reference code.

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More in this Category - Estate agents
Tue
22
Sep

... the shine's well and truly off right-to-buy.

Fewer than one in eight tenants of council or housing association properties say they would like to own their house or flat. A decade ago, the proportion was almost one in three.

If this really is a sign of a cultural change, in which homeownership isn't necessarily seen as "better", then all well and good.

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More in this Category - Letting

A shortage of property and competition from foreign buyers is apparently pushing the best London property to just 5% off it's 2007 peak. Competitive bidding, gazumping, it's all back, according to Savills and Knight Frank. More, here.

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More in this Category - House prices

20090922Alien-1

Or is it The Pink Panther? Nobody knows, but there's plenty of speculation (my favourite... "that's just what Finnish people look like"). The rest of the particulars, here.

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More in this Category - _Other

20090922Jamesmay

The campaign to save James May's lego house is gaining ground, with 2,565 fans on Facebook. Quick recap... it's a two-storey house, created - with help from the public - by man-boy TV presenter James May. Legoland was going to buy it, but - perhaps scared off by a possible W-shaped lego house price crash - they pulled out of the deal, and the whole edifice will be torn down today if a new buyer can't be found. More here.

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More in this Category - _Other

What big prize? An entire year's rent, courtesy of SpareRoom... only you're not answering your emails. It's possible that an overzealous spam filter is stopping you receiving any good, competition-related news. It could be you're just a klutz. Whatever... don't miss out on the opportunity to live rent-free for an entire year. If you know a Joanne who was recently searching for a spare room in Brixton... you might want to mention this. More here.

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More in this Category - Letting
Mon
21
Sep

EstateAgentToday draws our attention to Forsaken, writer Helen Davis' play at Particular Theatre Company in Exeter. The story... a nun, charged with selling the Abbey, attracts the attentions (and we're not talking about selling her a HIP) of her estate agent, who also happens to be gay. Saturday's the last night, tickets here.

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More in this Category - Estate agents

Read this one closely... some areas reporting 200%, nay 300% rises in sales, from a year ago... when things were like this. What's three or four times nothing? A gold rush?

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More in this Category - _Other

100 Clifton Hill - rebuilt by Regal, restyled by Kelly Hoppen, yours for £12.5m, unless, according to the Independent on Sunday, one of a number of potential buyers, from moguls to slebs, doesn't beat you to it.

Paul Eden, Regal's managing director, said: "There's no doubt about it, the bankers are coming back. We've had a lot of interest from City boys who don't seem to be short of money."

More Clifton Hill properties here.

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More in this Category - NW8
Fri
18
Sep

I'm packing up for the weekend, but before I go I want to say a big "thank you" to our sponsor, Primelocation.com. Remember, Primelocation.com isn't just about searching properties listed by 4,000 leading estate agents, the website's a mine of useful advice, information and links. An example? Go here to search up-to-date real life completion prices for UK property. Snoop on your neighbours. Do the maths before making an offer. It's useful, it's free... you need to register, but it's quick and easy. If you've feedback, let us know and we'll pass it on with pleasure.

If you want to know more about advertising opportunities on the Rat and Mouse, drop me a line. Or if you just want to chat with the Rat, we're on Twitter here, or email us tips here.

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More in this Category - About

UK economy armageddon threat [Daily Mail]
Doon Street Tower given judicial thumbs up [BBC]
Interiors... Hannibal Lecter-style [Trendir]
Parliamentary flippers to be named and shamed... but sadly not shot [Daily Mail]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog

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More in this Category - Linkage

"in principle", they want the Property Ombudsman to be more open, naming estate and letting agents who have had complaints upheld against them. He's careful - quoted here - to make it clear that Which? isn't demanding it, they'd merely support it were it proposed by the Ombudsman.

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More in this Category - Estate agents

An interesting piece in the Standard points to estate agent nervousness about the failure of September to bring its traditional slew of vendors and new properties to the market. Prices in the capital have apparently - in some areas - topped their 2007 highs, unrealistically slanting national indices and putting the London market in a highly precarious position. More here.

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More in this Category - House prices
Thu
17
Sep

Brixton to launch own currency [Telegraph]
Neighbour hell - 98 and harrassing neighbours [Independent]
Neighbour hell - hi-fi seized after caught playing Status Quo [Independent]
Recession digression - Brits respond to more sex by buying pyjamas (what?!) [The London News]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog

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More in this Category - Linkage

Anything, in fact, other than following in Dad's or Mum's footsteps.

Out of 166 brokers and IFAs polled by Marketing Innovation Forum, some 73% said they wouldn’t like to see their son or daughter follow them in becoming a financial adviser.

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Debt is driving us nuts. Literally.

An estimated 250,000 Londoners suffer from mental health problems as a result of debt, which is costing NHS London £450m a year, a campaign group said.

Recession digression 28 - stray dogs [September 10, 2009]

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More in this Category - Recession digression
Wed
16
Sep

Jamie Oliver's kitches faves [MyDeco]
Ten reasons to just say no to house prices stats [Times]
Unemployment continues to rise [BBC]
What London landmark should appear on the stinkin' Olympic badges? [BBC]
Yolande Barnes is happy to rent [Times]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

According to a survey by the Building Societies Association, 58% believe now's a good time to buy, with only 15% anticipating a further house price fall. More here.

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9%... the percentage fall in the number of repos in the second quarter, compared to the first.

23%... the percentage gain in the number of repos in the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2008.

14%... the percentage fall in the number of people falling behind in their mortgage payments, compared to the first quarter.

126%... the percentage rise in the number of repossessed homes sold by lenders in the second quarter of 2009 compared with the same quarter in 2008.

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We believe it's this.

20090916Mills

Three bedrooms and first-floor in the swish Allingham Court, on The Bishop's Avenue. Full particulars, here.

20090916Mills2

Heather Mills looking for flip [September 14, 2009]

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Tue
15
Sep

20090915Belgravia

In Dubai... agent jailed for writing bad cheques [Global edge]
Commission-based versus fees... FIGHT! [Citywire]
Congratulations to award-winning EstateCreate [WebAward.org]
Ooo... six bedrooms in Belgravia (illustrated) [link to particulars]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog, daily since 2005

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More in this Category - Linkage

It's a strange headline, though, on Yahoo:

20090915Yahoo

House prices actually rose in July, and by a not inconsiderable 1.4%. However, they were down 8.3% year-on-year... which doesn't a headline make. See it, unless they change it, here.

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More in this Category - House prices

During the three months to September, more agents reported feeling swell than not feeling swell, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. That's the first positive result in two years, driven by a shortage of homes, particularly in London and the south east. The RICS report is a vague confirmation of something we're seeing in more scientific market reports, but... all eyes on the lagging indicator that is employment, the future of interest rates, and pent-up vendor demand... there lies the future of house prices.

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More in this Category - House prices

Remember property search engine, Extate? Those with long memories might remember it becoming Dothomes back in November 2007, and since then... it's been involved in an attempt to take on the US real estate listings search market too. You didn't know? Exactly. Now - according to Future Of Real Estate Marketing - it's for sale.

The reason for the sale? From the founder directly, “real estate was never our cup of tea…”

Huh? Anyway... private auction, concluding October 1. Website, here.

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More in this Category - Property online
Mon
14
Sep

Dragons' Den's James Caan is teaming up with Hitachi Capital to offer high loan-to-value mortgages to borrowers, via his Look4aproperty.com website. How crazy could Caan's loans get? We're hearing, 95% crazy.

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More in this Category - _Other

Bought, just ten months ago, for £2.35m. For sale, right now, for £3.75m. It's in "north London", it's a flat, and there's a large silver Buddha in the hall. We're still searching for the listing...

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

The Ernst & Young Item Club predicts falling house prices in the first half of 2010 followed by two years of stagnation. More here.

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More in this Category - House prices
Fri
11
Sep

I'm packing up for the weekend, but before I go I want to say a big "thank you" to our sponsor, Primelocation.com. Remember, Primelocation.com isn't just about searching properties listed by 4,000 leading estate agents, the website's a mine of useful advice, information and links. An example? Go here to search up-to-date real life completion prices for UK property. Snoop on your neighbours. Do the maths before making an offer. It's useful, it's free... you need to register, but it's quick and easy. If you've feedback, let us know and we'll pass it on with pleasure.

If you want to know more about advertising opportunities on the Rat and Mouse, drop me a line. Or if you just want to chat with the Rat, we're on Twitter here, or email us tips here.

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More in this Category - Property online

20090911Bathroom-1

Discount at property auctions [FT]
House price rally irrational and temporary [FT]
In love with the mansion flat [Independent]
House in London or island off Australian coast? [Independent]
In America: Great! Property bragging's back! [Curbed]
In US... a default as big as the Ritz [CNBC]
Seymour Walk, Chelsea, and a bit of history [The House Historian]
Royals of Rent out runaway estate agent [Royals of Rent]
The art of the exhibitionist bathroom [illustrated] [Primelocation]

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More in this Category - Linkage

It's a plan apparently being considered by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

The plans comprise a building that is divided into five and 10 storeys fronting Shepherd's Bush Road, with shops and more than 2,800 square metres of leisure space, according to a planning statement. There will be some 429 student studios, singles and doubles.

Expect more news in November.

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More in this Category - W6
She turned to the profession after falling on hard times after losing her job as a mortgage broker, incurring debts of £55,000, the court earlier heard.

What profession would that be? Oh yeah, the beating men for money profession. But now that looks uncertain, after she was accused (and cleared) of blackmailing a doctor, on whom she "performed a sex act" while he injected her face with Botox. Two questions. What sex act is it convenient to perform while somebody's injecting your face? What kind of a super-doctor can do both of those things at the same time?

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More in this Category - _Other
Thu
10
Sep

We promised SpareRoom we'd remind our readers... there's a free and ongoing competition here, giving any flat or house-sharer the chance to win a month's rent. The deadline's September 30 for October's rent... read the small print for ways to earn extra entries.

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More in this Category - Property online

... another "hold", at 0.5%, the sixth consecutive month. More here.

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More in this Category - _Other

A 64% rise in the number of stray dogs reported on the streets of London has been partly blamed on the recession. More here.

Recession digression 27 - small private schools close gates for good [September 9, 2009]

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More in this Category - Recession digression
"Sometimes, you buy and sometimes you're renting and then you rent and you fall in love with it and you buy."

Yep, I think I know what you mean. Unless you're referring to hookers. In which case, I think you need to re-evaluate your life.

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A monthly rise of 0.8% for August, the second in a row. The all-important three month average shows house prices 10.1% lower than they were the same period 2008. Demand's rising, supply remains low.

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More in this Category - House prices
Wed
09
Sep

London selling time halved in a year [The Move Channel]
The house that tweets [The London News]
Green spaces essential for well-being [The London News]
Rental market tightens [Times]
A (very little) bit of homebuilding [BBC]
Stuffed by bank [Citywire]
Amused by mews houses [Telegraph]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage
Actor Stephen Baldwin sought voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after lenders began foreclosure proceedings. Baldwin, 43, listed $1.1 million in assets and $2.3 million in debt in documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York. His home is valued at $1.1 million and the banks sought to recover about $1.2 million in mortgage loans, according to court papers.

Actors, sportsmen... they've all been caught short by America's property value collapse, according to Bloomberg.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

According to Jonathan Russell in the Telegraph it could. An acre of prime Chelsea, bought for £20m in 2002, about to hit the market after a receivership, will test the confidence of the property pros.

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More in this Category - SW3
In Monaco, the brothers live like their super-rich clients. They are waited on by a butler, a chef and three maids in black dresses with white aprons. A silver-framed directory lists 25 phone numbers for various parts of the penthouse, including a massage room, bar and game room.

(And I've heard from somebody who knows that the butler really resents having to wear the black dress.) It's a big celebration of the Candys' wealth, over at Bloomberg.

One Hyde Park... not selling this year; plus quote of the day [March 31, 2009]
Geriatrics con Candys [March 23, 2009]

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More in this Category - _Other
Citigroup’s ever-interesting Michael Saunders has crunched all the numbers. He calculates that – assuming a 100 per cent mortgage, a product which is not exactly easy to find these days – the payments to buy an average house have halved to £6,700 per year (18.4 per cent of average full time male earnings) from £11,800 (34.3 per cent) in late 2007. This is well below the long-term average of 30 per cent and the lowest since 2002.

Until interest rates rise again, of course.

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More in this Category - House prices
After 293 years, St. David’s, one of Britain’s oldest independent schools for girls, closed down in July after it ran out of money. “There were lots of tears and temper tantrums among the pupils and anger among the parents,” said Freya’s father, Chris Hogan, who runs his own technology company.

Right, bet that was attractive to witness.

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More in this Category - Recession digression
The six-storey buildings, one the former Mexican embassy, the other the former Tanzanian High Commission, have been taken over by a collective known as 'The Oubliette', which dedicates itself to finding large work spaces for struggling artists.

And, judging by the photograph in the Telegraph, they're pretty house-proud. Not the usual needles, Cider soft bottles and dog shit interior design concept here... rather, they've gone for the minimalist look, cleaning the place up, and I like it. They're now seeking like-minded artists to come in and make the buildings useful.

Squatter hits Billionaires' Row, claims to be doing owners' a favour [July 15, 2009]

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More in this Category - W1
Tue
08
Sep

Agents report surge of interest as Stamp Duty holiday deadline nears end [Channel 4]
Eastenders' Dawn goes property shopping in Islington [Daily Mail]
Danielle Lloyd and Jamie O'Hara buy in Berkshire [The London News]
Robbie Williams's home is haunted [The London News]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage
There are good reasons to expect a second dip in the market later this year or early in 2010.

Such as rising interest rates, tighter lending criteria, the Brits a nutters. What? Here it is...

For reasons that a psychologist could better explain, the British are attacking the financial-services industry, even though it is the biggest branch of the economy. The chairman of the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, even proposed a tax on financial transactions to help limit the size of the industry. He described parts of banking as “socially useless.” With that sort of attitude, it won’t be surprising if many foreign bankers go elsewhere, withdrawing their support from the housing market.

Right, and right again. Punishing the financial institutions - in which we all hold a stake, no matter how indirectly - is a giant cutting off of noses.

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More in this Category - House prices
Hundreds of buy-to-let investors have already been pursued through the courts for trying to wriggle out of off-plan contracts.

In the Telegraph, a warning, courtesy of City lawyers Wedlake Bell... if you're trying to "wiggle out of" a relationship with a new-build that now - without the economic beer-googles - looks less than attractive, you can run, but you won't necessarily be able to hide. A recent judgement suggests that foregoing a deposit isn't a legal option. You do, in fact, need to buy the property, with damages stretching to the difference between the deposit and the value of the property at the time contracts were exchanged. Yowza.

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More in this Category - _Other

Remember this... the Which? report that condemned estate agents for charging too much for HIPs? It got a lot of press attention, and seemed to suggest agents were cynically ripping off the public, an idea that obviously shocked everybody. Now, the agents are hitting back. A piece in Estate Agency News gives voice to agents who claim that the Which? comparisons weren't like-for-like... that agents (who apparently share a legal responsibility to have a proper HIP in place before marketing a property... although I'm surprised the vendor-agent contract doesn't shift any repercussion to the vendor) provide a more thorough HIP apparently. Some of the cheaper HIPs come with expensive conveyancing attached, too. If you're an independent HIP provider, we'd love to hear your thoughts.

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More in this Category - HIPs
Mon
07
Sep

It'll be a giant, worldwide game, using GoogleMaps, and expect the early stages to be a massive, ugly land-grab:

The rules are almost the same as the traditional board game, where only one person can buy an address, and then build on the plot to earn extra rent and increase their fortune.

Players will apparently begin with $3m (Monopoly dollars). But - if the news reports are right - landmark properties (Downing Street, Pennsylvania Avenue) will be affordable from the off... a mistake, in our view. Watch this space.

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More in this Category - _Other

Another fund launches, to cash in on residential property recovery [MoneyMarketing]
Rate rise predictions [Telegraph]
Developer kills tenant [BBC]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog, since 2005

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The credit crunch has led to a cut in congestion on the roads for the first time in at least two decades.

The numbers - courtesy of the AA - are actually quite shocking. A 15% reduction in morning rush-hour congestion is being explained by commuters losing their jobs.

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More in this Category - Recession digression

We had a hunch about this... based on the way our own traffic has increased during the recession. Now, there's confirmation from house price snoop facilitators Zoopla, who insist that Brits are still obsessed with how much their homes are worth and - more to the point - how much their neighbours' homes are worth. Obviously, increased use of the website isn't definitive proof of increased interest, but the way the traffic breaks down is interesting. London and the south-east contains the nosiest homeowners, the north-east the least. The nosiest street in the UK is Grand Avenue, in Camberley, Surrey. The wealthy are the most nosy. After neighbours, you're most likely to be snooped on by work colleagues, and then family members.

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More in this Category - House prices
Fri
04
Sep

20090904Wobbly

Send it in... send it in...

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More in this Category - Property TV

The apparent up-turn in - at least - interest in residential property seems to be feeding through to the portals. Or is it that old-fashioned foot traffic to estate agents has just, finally, ended?

Australia’s Realestate.com.au has reportedly broken the 5 million monthly unique user mark while Zoopla in the UK has surpassed 1 million users for the first time in its history. To add to the mix Digital Property Group which owns Primelocation.com and FindaProperty.com in the UK is reporting 4.6 million monthly unique.

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More in this Category - Property online

The £125,000 to £175,000 sector's Stamp Duty holiday ends on December 31, but Abbey points out that means an effective end date of September 30 (it takes an average of three months for a deal to go through).

Abbey will be releasing two new mortgages in September targeting first time buyers hoping to avoid the 1 per cent stamp duty. The products being launched are a 3.99 per cent 75 per cent LTV and a 5.75 per cent 85 per cent LTV, both fixed with a £495 fee.

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More in this Category - _Other

Hometrack reports its first monthly rise in more than a year, 0.1% in August. The figure, however, was skewed toward the south... only 11% of the country showed a positive figure. In London, the rise was 0.3%, but - like everywhere - was fueled by a shortage of stock. More here.

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More in this Category - House prices

"Funny" Somerset estate agent Jules Bending's apparently going into the obsolete light bulb business, and admits he's been stockpiling traditional hundred watters in a farmer's shed in the Mendip Hills, in readiness for the ban. Guardian readers are apparently furious. One property blogger feels slightly queasy. Ah... the West Country, where estate agent-sponsored mud wrestling is considered good publicity, and sticking light bulbs in a shed is entrepreneurship.

Estate agent in sense of humour crisis [July 17, 2009]
Estate agent banned for bad jokes [May 6, 2009]
The most fun you can have with an estate agent [November 24, 2006]

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More in this Category - Estate agents

It's another blogger looking for a book deal. This guy - the "secret agent" - claims to be a rebel estate agent, giving an insider's view of the business. It's fun-to-read, if short on surprises. Today's entry... horny agents in a car, and this...

‘I’m never sure if theses leaflets actually work.’ Posits S as we start off, clutching the handouts I fashioned earlier on the office PC. I’ve avoided the crass: We have someone urgently waiting for your home. Call Darren immediately, school of flyer, for something I feel is a little more refined and less likely to get me sued. But in the end it’s the same con-man, in a better suit.

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More in this Category - Estate agents

The places the Mayor says will get extra grants to test and showcase carbon-busting schemes are...

Barking Town Centre (Barking and Dagenham), Muswell Hill (Haringey), Archway (Islington), Brixton (Lambeth), Lewisham Town Centre (Lewisham), Wandle Valley (Merton), Ham and Petersham (Richmond upon Thames), Peckham (Southwark), Hackbridge ( Sutton) Queen’s Park (Westminster).

Welcome to the future. It looks a little like Barking.

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More in this Category - _Other
Thu
03
Sep

Beginners' guide to property tax [Times]
In US, house prices and "the wealth effect" [Economist]
Old Nichol St [Time Out]
Paula's house of hair [Sun]
Prime rises in London [TheMoveChannel]
In Stoke Newington, they're missing their graffiti [Londonist]
Where next for HIPs? [HipConsultant]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog, since 2005

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More in this Category - Linkage

There's a real estate project management student working on a dissertation about prefab living... a possible solution to the housing crisis. He'd like your opinion. If you fancy spending a couple of minutes answering a few questions online, and helping somebody do something interesting, go here.

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More in this Category - _Other

Remember Chek Whyte, of Secret Millionaire fame? (For a quick reminder, watch him here.) According to this, the property developer is officially bankrupt, as of Friday. Interestingly, he's been here before... in 1996. You've got to marvel at the man's drive. Where next?

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More in this Category - _Other

The Wilsons - the ex-school teachers who built up a £70m buy-to-let empire that pushed them into the Sunday Times Rich List - are cashing in. We reported that they were in the early stages of a sell-up less than a year ago, but that they intended to drop property gradually. Not so now... this time they'll put their 700 homes up for sale in one go. The Times reports that they've already had interest from investors interested in the entire portfolio. They're looking, specifically, for investors in order to offer some kind of continuity to their tenants.

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More in this Category - _Other
Wed
02
Sep

According to Walls & Futures, yes:

According to the Land Registry, over the past 20 months the average house price in London has fallen from £355,934 to £306,934. There is a fantastic opportunity for investors to re-enter the market.

The group is launching a central London residential fund, buying in the west (between K&C, Hammersmith and Merton), and aimed at grabbing a bit of recovery action. They're looking for a 10% yield, with a minimum buy-in of £25,000.

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More in this Category - House prices

HSBC's 1.99% discounted mortgage is creating a stir.

But brokers today said they expect the Bank's headline rate to remain low for two to three years because of the depth of the recession, and hailed the deal as an “incredible rate” which could boost competition and “break the deadlock” on rates in the industry.

If your mortgage is modest, it might not be right for you... it comes with a £1,199 arrangement fee. And if it's immodest, it might not be available to you... you'll need a 40% deposit. For customers with a 10% deposit, there's a two year discount currently reading 3.89%.

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More in this Category - _Other

The Blairs' property investments can go down as well as up [Daily Mail]
Numbers of reluctant landlords falling [Moneyfacts]
South-east skews property picture [Independent]
Rents up [RLA News]
Worst is yet to come [Times]
Smiley, happy, house price people... haven't we learned anything? [Herald]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage
Tue
01
Sep

Groucho Marx's Beverly Hills home is for sale... a Wallace Neff creation specifically for the actor/comic/writer. More here.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

The recent history of Batttersea Power Station has been nothing short of shameful. Waste, uncertainty, failure of leadership... it's been treated like a pawn in a politico-architectural game, and - as you can imagine - the recession isn't helping. The latest owners, Real Estate Opportunities, are said to have been dealt a very serious blow by the state of the Irish property market. According to the Guardian:

Its auditors warned that there are "material uncertainties" about the business as a going concern.

Where now?

Battersea Power Station plans... round... er... we've lost count [June 20, 2008]

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More in this Category - SW11

What to do if you're falling behind on your mortgage or your rent, courtesy of the Government.

[via BBC]

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More in this Category - _Other

 


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