Rat and Mouse
Wed
23
Apr

According to data from haart estate agents, London property prices are up 29.5% on the last 12 months, 2.5% on the month; compared to 7.4% and 2% nationally. According to accompanying literature, foreign investors are still on the increase. First-time buyers continue to get a hard time, with prices up 9.8% on the year and the competition increasing, with registrations up 44.2%. 

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Not much, in the minds of a lot of room-hunters. According to this, spareroom.com is becoming the new match.com. And why not? After all, you’ve got to get on with your flat mate. Which - actually - is precisely why it’s a bad idea. You’ve got to get on with your flat mate. 

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Tue
22
Apr

Minimum cash needed to buy in London: £70,000 [Daily Telegraph]
Average cash needed to move in London: £20,825 [Metro]
Change of car for Tchenguiz; change of company name for Hunt [Sunday Telegraph]
Stoke Newington unhappy about new Foxtons [Hackney Gazette] 

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

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Thu
17
Apr

Just when you thought the reputation of buy-to-let couldn’t get any better. Remember Fergus Wilson? He’s the Kent-based landlord and former maths teacher (and, apparently, former boxer) who - along with his wife - amassed more than 900 properties and became, for some, the face of the buy-to-let era. He’s just been found guilty of assault, after thumping a Folkestone estate agent, and fined less than a couple of grand. The landlord, worth more than £200m, is appealing. According to the estate agent, Daniel Wells, Wilson punches “like a girl”. More here.

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Wed
16
Apr

Office for National Statistics data shows UK house prices up an astonishing 9.1% in the year to February. That’s an increase in annual inflation from 6.8% the month before. Prices in February were also up on the previous 2008 peak, by 3.6%. Where, I hear you ask, does that leave London? Up 17.7%, the highest rate of annual inflation since July 2007. 

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Tue
15
Apr

They’re the Internet’s version of the Oscars, and Foxtons is the only British candidate in the real estate section. See their rivals here. Results announced on April 29.

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Mon
14
Apr

Fleeing Londoners push up prices across UK [International Business Times]
What to do about next-door’s noisy animals [Sunday Telegraph]
Celebrity homes for sale [Daily Telegraph]
The half a million pound London garage [Evening Standard]

The Rat and Mouse - it’s about your house 

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Fri
11
Apr

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Don't mention Del Boy. Posh homes with bars.

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On the subject of evicting tenants, here’s the story of a lawyer-landlord and a battle with Foxtons over unpaid commission, after a tenancy was cut short. It’s a fairly familiar subject, and it’s not entirely clear who’s at fault here. The agents don’t choose the tenants, that’s - finally - the landlord’s call every time. And whether commission’s owing after a tenancy is cut short is ultimately dependent on the fine print. What I don’t understand is why the agents didn’t take the commission up front. Isn’t that the usual practise? 

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Both Section 8 notices (fault based) and Section 21 notices (accelerated, non-fault based) are going up, in some cases (online) doubling. More here.

Rental arrears falling [April 9, 2014]

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Yes, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, with average annual UK house price gains of 6% driven by a chronic shortage of available properties. (Interestingly, RICS blames the chronic shortage of available homes on a chronic shortage of people wanting to move, so I’m not entirely sure where that leaves the supply-and-demand balance.) Here for more.

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Thu
10
Apr

At a record low of 0.5%. No surprises, most commentators are looking at the first half of 2015 before a rate rise.

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London prices up 40% on credit crunch low [Evening Standard]
Government reaches out to Islamic investment [CityAM]
Politics and London property [PropertyWire]
Under Offer… did you see it? [Guardian]
Is Gwyneth property shopping? [National Ledger]

The Rat and Mouse - it’s about your house 

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Wed
09
Apr

It’s a Mortgage Works (Nationwide) buy-to-let mortgage, and - according to this - part of a swift response by lenders to new pension rules, in which pensioners will have quicker, easier access to their retirement savings. Good for the bubble? Not likely. Good for pensioners? Debatable. Property prices are expenses, Stamp Duty and CGT are considerable and being a landlord is surprisingly hard work. Good for tenants? See previous answers.

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According to LSL’s buy-to-let index, the number of tenants in (serious… in other words of more than two months) arrears is down by 35% over 12 months, and 40% down on a 2012 peak. And this despite a spike between Q4 2013 and Q1 2014, written off as seasonal. The proportion of tenants in arrears now stands at 1.4%. Get your own copy of the actual report here.

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Tue
08
Apr

… we’d imagine. Jeremy Helsby has just received £2.3m, a 44% increase on last year, with the increases coming largely in the form of shares and profit-sharing. It’s been a good year in prime London property. More here.

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