Rat and Mouse
Entries in March 2010
Wed
31
Mar

Prime London reaches tipping point [Wealth Bulletin]
House prices "back to normal" [This Is Money]
The ten signs of mortgage fraud [Citywire]
Nestoria down under [Nestoria blog]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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Nationwide reveals a house price index up 0.7% in March, leaving the annual rate of inflation at 9%, down marginally from 9.2% February-to-February. The three-month-against-three-month annual inflation rate was down, too, from 1.8% to 1.6%. The index was led - and in a big way - by the London market, up 15.7% on the year.

What?! says Jonathan Prynn on his Evening Standard blog.

Real incomes are falling, mortgage deals are still in short supply except for those with at least a 25 per cent deposit and unemployment is still close to its cyclical peak.

So how can this make any sense? It's a market, he argues, twisted out of shape by low interest rates and a tiny data set, and we'd agree. He dubs this the "phoney war - post-crisis and pre-austerity". It's an interesting piece.

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More in this Category - House prices

What? Where? It's in the south east, bordering on Kent, but inside the magic M25 and - says the Telegraph - it's where an ordinary, struggling pair of young about-to-be-newlyweds with a mere £1.2m to spend on a house can find somewhere to call home. According to Knight Frank, it's a new hotspot, and the developers are moving in.

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More in this Category - BR7
Tue
30
Mar

He's Doug Potts in Emmerdale... and he's also been Clifford on Acorn Antiques, Stan in dinnerladies, and a stalwart of many Royal Shakespeare Company productions. He's a terrific actor, but he's leaving London for Yorkshire, and his very nice (and very very nicely situated) two-bedroom Highgate apartment, with views over the heath, is for sale with Litchfields. The guide price is £799,950. Particulars here.

20100329Millfield

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

The Althorp Estate has confirmed the biggest yardsale we've seen in some years. The stately home belongs to the Spencer family, it was Princess Diana's childhood home, and it's where she's buried. Artifacts for sale will include a Rubens portrait and 19th Century horsedrawn carriages. To be conducted by Christies this summer - it's expected to raise as much £20m. More here.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

FindaProperty takes a closer look at London's broom cupboard apartments... the tiny spaces selling for substantial sums of money, usually because of their central or sought-after locations. Who's buying them? According to specialist agent:

“They generally sell to smart folk, often lawyers or MPs, who prefer a base in town minutes from the underground where they can get to work quickly. They don’t want to spend four hours a day on a train crammed into a sweaty railway carriage.”

Another London mini-flat, slow news day at the Mirror [March 15, 2010]
Only in Chelsea - flat the size of a snooker table: £170,000 [January 22, 2007]

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More in this Category - _Other
Mon
29
Mar

Mortgage approvals down [ITN News]
Post Office to offer "super-size" loans to ftbs [Daily Mail]
Bovey's failed business hits the market [Independent on Sunday]
Our complex relationships with our neighbours [Observer]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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Soon to hit the estate agents' window with a price tag of £2.5m. But - according to Price - there's a troublesome sitting tenant or two... ghosts... an old lady upstairs, and a different ghoul downstairs, tampering with her sunbed. More here.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Fri
26
Mar

Average house prices are down 0.3% in February, but up 7% on the same time last year, according to the latest Land Registry report. Importantly, the difference between 2009 and 2010 is growing, up from 5.2% in January. London's leading the "resurgence", with an annual increase of 11.9%. The North East is yet to go into the black.

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More in this Category - House prices

20100326Poker

Here's a chance to meet fellow industry professionals, enjoy a long night of poker in pleasant surroundings, possibly win some money, and raise money for a charity of your choice. Sounds good to me. The evening is hosted by overseas property news website GlobalEdge, it's on Thursday May 20, and you can sign up here.

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More in this Category - _Other
In the boom time it was all about flipping. Here in the UK, the term tended to focus on the off-plan purchase of new-builds, sold on – sometimes before completion – at a profit. In America, ‘flipping’ meant any speedy purchase, renovation and profitable sale. While we were watching Property Ladder, the Americans were watching either Flip This House on the Arts and Entertainment network, or Flip That House on the Discovery Home Channel. The market’s entirely different now, but there’s still room for profit by replacing the inflated sale price with a deflated purchase price. Meet the latest way to make a fast buck on the US property market… and, yes, they call it ‘flopping’.

Our publisher tackles a new wave of US mortgage fraud, in his guest column for Citywire.

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More in this Category - _Other
Thu
25
Mar

20100325X-Factor

Price cut - £600,000 off X-Factor house in a year [link to particulars, also pictured]
Nestoria seek superstars for Clerkenwell office [Nestoria blog]
So, Alistair, what exactly is a first-time buyers? [Citywire]
The tenants are defaulting [Telegraph]
Alexander McQueen - the Gloucestershire connection [Daily Mail]
Don't move, improve [Investors Chronicle]
The crown estate fails the people [Guardian]

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

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According to the tax man - who keeps a close eye on this kind of thing - completed sales rose by 14% to 58,000 last month. Is that a lot? Well, the figure was 43,000 in February 2009. But, then again, it was 103,000 in December, which illustrates just how seasonal this business is.

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More in this Category - _Other
I cheerfully hit the phones yesterday with £10m of someone else's money. I wasn't fussy, would look at short leases & structural problems. No survey, exchange and complete in 48 hours. Before launching into my wheelers & dealers book, I called the agents.

Three seconds into my spiel... "Let me stop you there, I've got 20 people like you and nothing to give them." "The market's really active with investor clients, could sell what you want ten times over... if I had it." "Loads of people are trying to park their cash... the £3m-£4m level is over-run with buyers." Finally, from a very posh Rupert... "I wouldn't bother talking to agents if I were you." Nobody was impressed with my roll of cash, then the phone rings. Derek the Limo driver. "Got a bloke in the back who wants to off-load his place in Holland Park, near Simon Cowell's pad. He wants a fast deal." That'll teach me, should have rung him first – at this level of the property market, it's always the Dereks who've got the X Factor.

Tracy Kellett runs leading buying agents BDI Homefinders. Follow her on Twitter, here.

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More in this Category - _Other
Wed
24
Mar

Nine out of ten first-time buyers lifted out of Stamp Duty [Telegraph]
Tax hike at top of market will knock confidence [Daily Mail]
Conservatives not expected to oppose 5% band [Reuters]
Industry expresses concerns over difficulties in policing "first-time buyers only" clause [BBC]
Builders cheer [This Is London]
The real issue is lending, and the lack thereof [My Introducer]
Stamp Duty provides the ups and downs on the UK property market rollercoaster [Property-Abroad]
Stamp Duty cut will boost carpet sales [UK Flooring Direct]

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The leak was more-or-less accurate, and Stamp Duty's scrapped for homes worth £250,000 or less for first-time buyers. However, transactions of £1m or more will be taxed at a higher rate of 5%, a pretty heavy duty which I suspect will be received with some anger by many in the industry.

Disapproval with the idea of the cut at £250,000 had received a certain amount of disapproval even before it was announced. This, from our friend Henry Pryor, this morning:

Firstly, the number of first time buyers (according to a written answer to a question from the Opposition last November quoting the Council of Mortgage Lenders2) is at an historic low having fallen by 67% in the past decade. Nearly 600,000 1st time buyers bought in 1999 which fell to... less than 194,000 in 2008. Next, with interest rates at record lows, it is irresponsible to encourage property 'virgins' to invest in property when rates can only rise from here removing the tiny saving that they make on the 'bribe' they took to buy in the first place? If a 1% saving is enough to convince you to buy a property today then you haven't done your own budget. Finally, whilst many people including the NAEA and RICS have encouraged the Government to look again at changing the 'slab' like system of the current Stamp Duty system - perhaps to a progressive tax, the housing market has bigger challenges. With buyers unable to find the 25% deposits that most of the few remaining mortgage products demand, houses still remain unaffordable to most of those who would like to be described as a 1st time buyer.

I'll bring you a round-up of the most interesting responses in a linkage post, later in the day.

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Looks like a Stamp Duty scrap on transactions up to £250,000 is being widely reported as a done deal. Interestingly, this was a Tory proposal, dating back to 2007.

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Time Out's carrying the best feature I've read in a very long time on the history and variety of London's social housing, from Shoreditch's Arts and Crafts-influenced Boundary Estate to Bow's (Dizzee Rascal's) Crossways. It's a fascinating piece, and highlights the courage and ambition of planners past.

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More in this Category - _Other
Tue
23
Mar

Beautiful Britain magazine commissioned a poll to find Britain's biggest eyesores.

Coming second in the list of cringe-worthy landmarks was Battersea Power Station on the south bank of the River Thames. The brick-clad, unused coal-fired building, which has seen numerous failed redevelopments, beat M1 Service Stations – like Watford Gap – into third place.

Is this for real? Hang on, though, a moment, and look at what beat it into first...

Concrete carriageways, like the Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham came top in a poll of structures and buildings that blight the UK landscape.

At the Rat and Mouse, I'm often made to feel like an outsider for my love of everything 20th Century, and particularly post-war 20th Century... but, Jeez, have you ever seen Spaghetti Junction from above? Would it really be any more beautiful if it was just a field... a green pixelation on a Googlemap?

And, wait, wind farms comes in at Number 4... those fabulously futuristically innocent monuments to sustainability and human ingenuity. There's a favourite landmarks list, too. Guess what tops it? Bloody Big Ben, with Buckingham Palace (all the beauty of a Stalinist detention centre) at Number 7, and the White Cliffs of Dover (officially, spare me!) at Number 3. Who are these awful people who voted? Did the polling survey company deliberately seek out the worst of unthinking Middle England? They should all be gathered up and made to live here. (Press release, here.)

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More in this Category - Design

An interesting page, here, courtesy of the BBC, looking at the changing face of the business end of residential property sales.

Some traditional selling methods have gone for good. Simon [an agent] has just paid for his firm's last batch of adverts in his local papers. From now on, his advertising will be restricted to his own firm's website and those of the big property portals. "It is a sea change, 20 years ago we spent an absolute fortune on the local press," he says. "In the last two months we have pulled our last bits of advertising out of the local press because it is a luxury. The local press is not where you look - you look on the internet and that is where we advertise."

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More in this Category - Estate agents
Mon
22
Mar

It starts tomorrow, at 8.30pm, on BBC2... a chance for men to pretend they're interested in cooking. Lovely Sophie Dahl's cookery show takes place in a rather lovely kitchen, too, which also happens to be for sale (along with the rest of the Crouch End house). It's the home of a well-regarded photographer, and the kitchen - spacious and bathed in light - seems like a good choice. The house, in Elm Grove, has five bedrooms, is with KFH and listed at £1.45m. Grab the particulars here.

20100322Elm Grove

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More in this Category - For sale

It's the Government's list of towns with the highest proportion of homeowners at risk of repossession, and Barking and Dagenham's right there at the top. The only other London location on the list of 22 is Newham, at 11. You can see the list here.

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I always enjoy it when the IC turns its attention to property, and today's column about the factors driving London's illogical market is no disappointment.

Foreign buyers, who account for 80 per cent of transactions in some areas of the capital, have turned London into a market driven by exchange rates rather than mortgage interest rates. Their dominance has mutated the property market in a way not seen anywhere else in the UK, and many question the sustainability of the London house price boom as a result.

Read it here.

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The results of an interesting study, here, suggesting a significant number of young people are putting off starting a family because of house prices.

Four out of ten (41%) young adults will delay starting a family until they can afford to buy a new home... one in four (26%) people aged between 18 and 30 said they would not get married before having their own place to move into.

It's a YouGov survey, commissioned by the National Housing Federation. Interestingly, while the people surveyed were disillusioned with their own ability to afford a property in the short term, they weren't disillusioned with the idea of property as an investment. Forty-two per cent believed property was still the best long term investment, way above cash savings (23%) and shares/pensions (7%).

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Fri
19
Mar

It's time to say a bit "thank you" to our sponsor, Primelocation.com, for both continuing to support this labour of love, and providing a very useful property search function to the Rat and Mouse. We're hope you're using the box (top right) and coming here to get your daily dose of property news, gossip and opinion, before searching for bricks-and-mortar.

Plans for the Rat and Mouse in the coming weeks? More guest blogs, from people either working right on the property market front line, or those with the data/access to provide Rat and Mouse readers with interesting and original views and offers. If you think that might be you, please get in touch.

In fact, why don't you just get in touch. Either by email, or chat with the Rat on Twitter, with any ideas for what you'd like to read this spring. In the meantime, have a hip, but not too hip, weekend.

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More in this Category - About

North leads house price boom [Guardian]
Except Sunderland... the fourth worst city in Britain [Sunderland Echo]
Now's the time to cosy up to a Savills estate agent [Google news]
Go small, and posh [Daily Mail]
Or just go small and cramped [New Straits Times]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog

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There's worry here that the curse of Battersea Power Station, a much-loved London landmark whose future has been kicked around like an old mutt for at least the last five years, might be about to strike again. Currently it's in the joint ownership of the glamorous playboy son of an Irish pig trader Johnny Ronan, whose local reputation is currently in tatters after the "Rumble in Ranelagh" saga, involving Ronan's girlfriend, her knee and his groin. And this is a man who could profit from paying a little attention to his business dealings. Treasury Holdings (the property company he co-owns) is profoundly tied into Dublin's stormy property market, and has substantial interests in China. (It's the belief of the Rat and Mouse that China's property market is about to implode in a way that will make America's recent problems look mild.) We should all own Battersea Power Station. For some background, go here.

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More in this Category - SW11

20100319Foxtons Mini

Foxtons might or might not be broke, but that's not going to stop them spending on nice new ride. The new Mini is designed by X-Ray artist Nick Veasey, and features his trademark touches, including an X-Rayed key fob "hanging" from the door, an X-Rayed chassis, and:

There is even the image of a skeletal driver, cast by a carefully placed radiography dummy.

I'll leave you to insert your own joke here.

Meanwhile, other agencies are cost-cutting when it comes to their motors. According to this in Estate Agent Today, a pay-as-you-go car club called Streetcar for Business is signing up estate agents hand over fist. Fans of the service - which provides cars-on-demand, bookable by mobile, include Knight Frank.

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More in this Category - Estate agents
Thu
18
Mar

Why confused? Because they got the wrong house. Why American? Because they spray painted "Ramsay is a douche"... not a word your average London vandal could define, never mind spell. More - in fact everything except a reason to care - here.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes
At a recent roundtable of top economists at the Long Finance Group together with a think tank of leading City professionals, the over whelming view was that house prices were certain to crash.

Blogger Gary Wright argues it doesn't matter who wins the general election, necessary cost-cutting and a Bank of England neutered by low interest rates mean sliding house prices in 2011.

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More in this Category - House prices

According to the Times, the Inland Revenue have borrowed the Land Registry books and are trawling through names looking for owners of second homes and buy-to-let properties who may have forgotten to pay Capital Gains on transactions. They're also checking up on people who are buying and selling frequently enough to be involved in property flipping as a trade, and so will be liable to income tax. According to an accountant quoted in the piece, this is a new tactic. More here.

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More in this Category - _Other
Wed
17
Mar

Hold on for the double dip [Telegraph]
Would you sell your home with Tesco? [Times]
Woman who's lived in same house for 96 years [Daily Mail]
How to ruin your home [4homes blog]
Highgate home pipped at post in major design competition [Hornsey Journal]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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James and Sophie Neill and their children Louisa, five, and Freddie, two, are excited. They are about to move from their family home in Fulham down the M4 to Hampshire.

It's very possible they're still lost, heading west into Wales, with no sign of Hampshire yet. If you see them, point them south.

Despite geographical confusion, this is an interesting piece, on the well-trodden path out of London - by the City's wealthy families - into leafy commuter-land, and the "rivers of wealth" heading from south and west London all the way to the Isle of Wight.

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More in this Category - _Other
Tue
16
Mar

Here's how to show it... lettings agency Corporate Homes has launched a 2010 Best Landlord competition. If your landlord has been more than landlord (and - presumably - less than a lover) you can show your appreciation by going here and nominating him/her. The deadline is May 15, after which CH will pick 20 finalists, and the final poll will be thrown open to the public. (Presumably the reasons for nomination will be published, so if your landlord gave you his/her kidney, best mention it when you fill in the form.)

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More in this Category - Letting

It's the work of Norwich-based property lawyer Tessa Shepperson, and it's aimed at "land owners of normal intelligence" who might baulk at paying a solicitor more money than it's costing in arrears to chase up a tenant that's outstayed their welcome and kick them to the curb. Her kit costs £250 plus VAT (but don't forge the £150 court issue fee and other procedural costs) and there's online support to walk clients through the process. More here.

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That's according to new figures from the National Association of Estate Agents. Offices received just 258 new buyer registrations in February, down from 291 in January, and the lowest number in a year. The average number of properties on an agency's books rose very slightly, from 55 to 56.

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More in this Category - Estate agents
Mon
15
Mar

One thousand Brits a day forced to move by nasty neighbours [Telegraph]
Michael Jackson home to be recreated in Ireland [India Times]
And you can buy his furniture in Las Vegas [Telegraph]
Susan Boyle decides against moving to London for her own safety [Mirror]
Can the Olympic facelift save Stratford? [Times]

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

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They pop up every so often, the converted broom cupboards with asking prices that outstrip Scottish castles. This one... 11ft by 5.5ft, a genuine ex-broom cupboard, and smaller, apparently, than a snooker table... isn't for sale, but it must have been a slow news day at the Mirror, because they've invited themselves in and had it valued, nonetheless. It's in Knightsbridge, across the road from Harrods, and according to a local agent could fetch anything from £150,000 to £200,000. More here.

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More in this Category - SW7

According to Rightmove figures, asking prices heading into March - traditionally a big month for the market - have risen just 0.1%, and in London they've actually fallen, by 2.5%. Vendors are up by more than a quarter, forcing some "correction" to prices boosted by a shortage of supply at the beginning of the year.

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More in this Category - House prices
Fri
12
Mar

Thanks to the Rat and Mouse reader for the tip... "apparently" - and we're trusting you on this one - this is Daniel Craig's very lovely 4-bedroom mews house in SW7, complete with gym, cinema and conspicuously placed Tom Ford book. Guide price: £4.25m; particulars here.

20100312Daniel Craig

If these walls could talk... Max Clifford edition [January 21, 2010]

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

There's an interesting FT article here about a growing disagreement between brokers and Nationwide, regarding the lender's new, more complex method of calculating what it's willing to lend on a mortgage. Replacing the old income multiplier system is a complex equation involving net disposable income, cost-of-living, loan-to-value and the cut of a borrower's jib. Nationwide claims it will become more generous, lending up to 4.5 times income. But not according to the brokers. Ray Boulger of John Charcol claims to already have seen a reduction in offers in most cases.

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Three hundred pounds a month is the difference, according to YouGov research, between paying the mortgage and not paying the mortgage for 26% of homeowners in the 35 to 44 age group. More here.

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The stats, courtesy of Acadametrics, show transactions in snowy, Stamp Duty-filled January at just 36,000, 52% down on December, and back in what estate agents might think of as the disaster zone, the third lowest figure since 1995. More here.

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More in this Category - _Other
Thu
11
Mar

Big fish tanks... trendy, by all accounts, and the leading exponents are Aquarium Architecture, who'll take a room and do this:

20100311Fish-1

It's not everybody's cup of tea (my wife reckons "too corporate") but there's just something about watching fish that slows the heartbeat. Mine, anyway. Our friends at Beeston Media have made a great promotional film for the company here. Interesting.

20100311Fish2

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More in this Category - Design
Last week of February: I find myself still be-moaning the lack of stock. Frustratingly little choice and really bullish vendors holding out for 2007 prices. First week of March: Blimey, that's good. A really marked increase in new properties and price reductions hitting the in-box. Agents calling and they all sound a bit relieved-as am I. Second week of March: Client calls: "I'm thinking about sitting back for a little while, watching what happens with the election." Another client: "I'm not sure if I want to continue with the purchase. I think there may be better opportunities after the election." And another: "My buyer has threatened to pull out. He wants to re-negotiate."

If election concerns are causing a trend towards buyer caution, I've a hunch it won't be a trend finishing on May 7th.

Tracy Kellett runs leading buying agents BDI Homefinders. Follow her on Twitter, here.

Tales from the front line... "a buy-to-let dream" [March 5, 2010]
The Rat and Mouse interview - Tracy Kellett, homefinder, on not being a stuffy old duffer called Rupert [February 26, 2010]

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Work on second Heron Tower residential skyscraper begins [Londonist]
Is it time for the aftershock? [MSN]
Fear Super-Google? [Zoomf blog]
Homeownership, only for the 30+ [AboutProperty]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog

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Wed
10
Mar

Residents of Bolton are getting het up by Manchester United footballer Gary Neville's plans for a flower shaped eco-home on green belt land. Quotes - here - from a meeting in a Methodist church hall show how the message is in the subtext.

"Why do we have to have this dirty great big house because he has lots of money?"

You don't. You can still keep your little house. He gets to have the great big house. And that's possibly the problem. The use of the word "dirty" is interesting. This, from the architect's website:

Make has submitted a planning application to Bolton Council for a new eco-home which, if approved, will be the first zero-carbon property in the North West of England... The design team has worked closely with Peter Rolton, a key member of the Government’s advisory panel for renewable and sustainable energy, and the proposed scheme has already been identified as an exemplar project within the Government’s ‘Planning Performance Agreements for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Schemes’ programme.

It just seems a shame to me that while Bovis gets to squat above the country, dropping these at will, innovative, eco-friendly architecture that tests technology for future use is made so difficult.

20100310Neville

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The new, cut-price estate agenting deal offered by Spicerhaart and Tesco has been creating waves within the industry, but Bushells boss, Eric Walker, quoted in Estate Agent Today, urges his colleagues to stay cool. The good guys, apparently, will win through in the end.

“So, sellers have a choice: iSold value a house at £350,000 and charge less commission than a Tesco value pizza, plus double Clubcard points, or Foxtons promise you £400,000 and enough waiting buyers to fill Wembley, all of whom they will accompany in their annoying little Minis and browbeat into submission. Not a tough call, really."

Hang on... your point is? And what about Bushells? Why use a different agency as an example?

Finally, he doesn't hold back on what he thinks of Spicerhaart.

Let Tesco join the market. And let Spiceraart support them, thus admitting their own business is a sham as they have produced a cheaper alternative which denigrates agents’ fees.

Before you take this too seriously, remember it wasn't too long ago that the Spicerhaart boss wasn't holding back on what he thought of Tesco.

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More in this Category - Estate agents
Tue
09
Mar

Google StreetView goes national this Thursday [FindaProperty]
Cameron's secret family fortunes [Daily Mirror]
House prices to plunge in Chelsea, on news of likely Susan Boyle move [The Sun]
Those lousy capital pig nuns [Telegraph]
How to start an estate agency [1000watt blog]
RICS in pictures, all the excitement captured [RICS at Flickr]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

According to the National House and Planning Advice Unit, 90% of couples under 40 with children can't afford to own a home in London. In the south east as a whole, the figure is 76.2%... hardly cause for a cigar, either. Deposits as a percentage of income have risen from 16% in 2000 to 64%, and yet the London property market manages to sustain itself, even throughout a global property crisis. The fundamentals still point to a crash, we're told; but perhaps the measure of "conventional "affordability" no longer applies to property... because there simply isn't enough of it. More here.

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More in this Category - House prices

Remember, it's been a truth pretty much universally acknowledged, that it's not been the number of renters with good fortunes but the lack of available properties that's been supporting the property market recovery in recent months. February - according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - was the second consecutive month in which new properties coming onto the market outstripped new enquiries. More surveyors were still reporting house price rises than falls, but only 17% more, compared with 31% in January, and far fewer than predicted. How long will vendors be able to call the shots?

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More in this Category - House prices
Mon
08
Mar

Foxtons' losses hurt [Citywire]
And yet... they plan to expand [Times]
A decade of stagnation to look forward to [Observer]
iSold.com [Independent on Sunday]
Housing policy and the parties [Observer]

The Rat and Mouse - London's property blog

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Somewhat bravely - we believe - Phil Spencer is advising homeowners to sell now, buy again later.

Clinch a sale at today’s prices, but buy after the election, when values might dip and you can get more for your money.

All the logic's in Phil's favour. Wages are about to be squeezed, taxes are about to go up, lending's about to be squeezed, the market's currently bubbling along on little more than blind faith. But he's still brave to say this. I've seen so many people get their bank balances burned trying this in the past, and I'm sure Phil's seen even more. And as his onscreen partner knows, this kind of thing can come back and haunt you.

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More in this Category - House prices

According to Mouseprice.com, Belgravia's Chester Square remains on top if the UK house price league, with an average property value of £6.6m, proving a vision of a property-owning democracy worked out well for Margaret Thatcher.

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More in this Category - House prices
Fri
05
Mar

It's time to say a bit "thank you" to our sponsor, Primelocation.com, for both continuing to support this labour of love, and providing a very useful property search function to the Rat and Mouse. We're hope you're using the box (top right) and coming here to get your daily dose of property news, gossip and opinion, before searching for bricks-and-mortar.

Plans for the Rat and Mouse in the coming weeks? More guest blogs, from people either working right on the property market front line, or those with the data/access to provide Rat and Mouse readers with interesting and original views and offers. If you think that might be you, please get in touch.

In fact, why don't you just get in touch. Either by email, or chat with the Rat on Twitter, with any ideas for what you'd like to read this spring. In the meantime, have a great weekend.

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More in this Category - About
I was out with the pickiest rental client in the world today, seeing a peach of a bachelor pad on the banks of the Thames. He was late of course, him being a very important person and me being a service provider. He liked it, he wants it. Now I just need to finalise "a few bits". New carpets are needed, obviously. The slippery roof terrace needs attention - it could be dangerous. The stairs are steep, a handrail is essential. "Someone could come a cropper." There"s not nearly enough storage, will need more. "I have winter & summer wardrobes to accommodate." Obviously we are not going to offer full asking price. Ten per cent discount on rent is our best offer. Terribly nice agent, wants to help but they have just received two full asking price offers since we viewed and with no conditions. The pickiest rental client in the world discovers that there's no messing about in today's rental market. Under-supply and over-demand for good quality rentals are making it a landlord's market and very possibly a buy-to-let dream.

Tracy Kellett runs leading buying agents BDI Homefinders. Follow her on Twitter, here.

The Rat and Mouse interview - Tracy Kellett, homefinder, on not being a stuffy old duffer called Rupert [February 26, 2010]

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More in this Category - Letting
Everywhere else you look, extraordinary, temporary measures look like becoming standards on which the house price recovery’s being built. A bank base rate of 0.5%? Fine. It would still be historically extremely low at, say 3.5%, but many believe it would cripple the property market. A banking sector functioning off the back of £185bn Special Liquidity Scheme, a £134bn Credit Guarantee Scheme, £200bn of quantitative easing, with lending targets written into law? Okay, but what happens when the banks return, cap-in-hand, warning of a 2011 mortgage famine? The different between 2010/2011 and 2008/2009 is that one is immediately after an election, rather than before. The will to save the property market at the cost of the country’s finances might not be there as we head into next year.

Our publisher looks at some fundamentals and winces, in his guest column for Citywire.

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More in this Category - House prices
Thu
04
Mar

20100303Findermonkey

They're, like, gumshoes for landlords. FinderMonkey finds your fleet-footed tenants if they're left without paying their rent or after damaging your property. They also work on a no-find-no-fee basis; £35 after a successful result. More here.

[via PropertyHawk]

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More in this Category - Letting

Four sentenced after £3m mortgage fraud investigation [Herts Police]
Giant landlord unimpressed by current house prices [Business Week]
Interview with Greene & Co's David Pollock (the one off the telly) [Digital Property Group]
Furniture for Posh and Becks [Trendir]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

"It seems unlikely prices will dip again" this year, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, who point to limited supply and continuing low interest rates as reasons for faith in UK residential property prices. But - according to the Investors' Chronicle - RICS fails to take note of sterling's relationship with the dollar. In an interesting article, Chris Dillow points out the historical relationship between a strong pound and rising property prices. It's a puzzling relationship, counter-intuitive in many ways, but Dillow links house prices to economic expectations in a way that leads to this:

The message here is simple. If you think the pound will fall, you should also be pessimistic about house prices.

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More in this Category - House prices
Wed
03
Mar

Lonton property tycoon in massive fraud case [Guardian]
Amy Winehouse buys Camden mansion [Digital Spy]
London key workers fail crown property fire-sale [Guardian]
Knight Frank shows price bump for prime London, driven by foreign buyers [International Property Journal]

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

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More in this Category - Linkage

Kingston-upon-Thames comes in second, east London fourth (would like to see a breakdown of this), Uxbridge eighth and south east London ninth. More here.

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More in this Category - Letting

The Council of Mortgage Lenders expects homeownership to continue to shrink in the coming years, as a shortage of supply prices increasing numbers out of the market and makes private sector renting the norm among the younger generation. It says the changing face of the property market won't simply be a reflection of practicalities, but will reflect changing expectations, too.

Bob Pannell, the CML's head of research, said: "The overall effect is that for those in the formerly typical first-time (buyer) age bracket of 25 to 34, the likelihood of buying at the moment is around half its level of a decade ago."

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More in this Category - Letting

Against all the odds - and, some may say, all logic and common sense - the UK was one of just five European countries in which house prices rose last year. In the Royal Institution of Chartered Accountants' latest European Housing Review the UK comes fifth to Norway (up 12%), Finland (up 8%), Sweden (noticing a pattern here? up 7%) and Austria (which, along with Switzerland, never experienced a downturn). The worst performing country? Latvia, where house prices halved. It's interesting reading. Find the official summary (in pdf format), here.

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More in this Category - House prices
Tue
02
Mar

Kristian Digby, BBC's To Buy Or Not To Buy presenter, was found dead at his flat in Newham yesterday. As yet, the circumstances are being described by police as "unexplained", although rumours of an auto-asphyxiation that went wrong are rife. More here.

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More in this Category - Property TV

Courtney Love loves Hyde Park.

"I am going to move here. I am getting a house in New York and a house in the UK. A flat, anyway."

Between the second sentence and the third, presumably she typed W1 into Primelocation.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

It's a 2.1% rise in January, leaving prices 5.2% higher across the 12 months. Average transactions are up, too; from an unimpressive 42,523 a month August to November 2008, to a less-than-impressive 57,722 the same period 2009.

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More in this Category - House prices

20100301Anniston

Very nice. Jennifer will take you on the full tour, here.

[via Jake Bennett]

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Mon
01
Mar

20100301Bunker2

Thanks to the kind reader who sent me this. After no less than 38 bids, this Peak District Cold War bunker - stunning views, land, metal hatch, chemical toilet, monitoring room and siren box - is currently at £19,500. It's not often you see a nuclear blast on a set of particulars.

20100301Bunker

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More in this Category - _Other

Primelocation's Prime Index shows increasing stock at the top end of the market... 4.5% on the month, 17% across the year. Interestingly, an accompanying survey claims almost half (47%) of vendors believe the market's going to recover fully in the next two years. The fact that more than half don't might suggest why top end sellers (perhaps with more than one property and so fearful of an imminent rise in Capital Gains Tax) might be unloading right now.

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More in this Category - House prices

Quick off the mark, Hometrack are brandishing the February figures. It was a 0.3% rise, bringing the annual figure into the black (up 0.4%) for the first time in two years. Hometrack aren't shouting boom, like others they point to a lack of supply for artificially inflating the market.

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More in this Category - House prices

 


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