Rat and Mouse
Entries in October 2011
Mon
31
Oct

Now new signs are emerging that luxury property prices around the world are collectively softening for the first time since the global recession hit in 2008/09.

The headlines: 4.3% annual growth (September-to-September, measured in 21 major cities around the world by Knight Frank) is the lowest it's been since 2009. There's a new and interesting volatility, with major cities in single regions behaving very differently (Jakarta: +15.1%, Mumbai: -17.9%). But - most interesting of all - the rate of growth appears to be slowing right across the board, with 15 cities showing rising prices over 12 months, but only eight in the black across the last quarter. Reasons? Exactly what you'd expect. Sovereign debt across Europe and America, and a cooling of several hugely-over-heated Asian markets.

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More in this Category - House prices

The Hometrack index shows English and Welsh property prices falling down 0.2% on the month, after five months of 0.1% falls, leaving the index down 2.8% on the year. With supply up 11% over the last six months, the outlook - according to the accompanying comment - isn't good.

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More in this Category - House prices

20111031creepiest

On the ground in China, the credit crisis bites [Peninsula Qatar]
Greeks could face power cuts if they don't pay property tax [Observer]
Second homes council tax discounts could be cut [BBC]
Living between town and country: welcome the "manny" [Daily Telegraph]
On Halloween.... America's creepiest houses [Curbed, and pictured]
Mandelson, property-rich socialilst [Mail on Sunday]

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

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More in this Category - Linkage
Fri
28
Oct

Apparently, the number of monthly UK searches on the property portals for unmodernised properties is in excess of 40 million. You know what? Somebody ought to build a website just for doer uppers.

20111028unmodernised

And it's called Unmodernised.com. It's been developed by a property investor/developer, with an eye on the developer's needs (ticker-tape links to the latest properties as they go up, news, information, project management software), and it currently features around three thousand properties, which isn't a bad start. Check it out. Let us know what you think.

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More in this Category - Property online

It's a $2.9m "compound" in one of West Hollywood's more desirable neighbourhoods... five bedrooms, four bathrooms but no pool - which, according to the Real Estalker, is a problem. It sounds as if Lucas can drive a hard bargain, though. The $2.9m purchase price compares favourably with the $3.49m the previous owner paid back in 2007.

20111028lucas

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Thu
27
Oct

When the home-owner came to see the house for himself he was berated for having turned off the water by a woman who said she wanted to install a washing machine.

Like... come on! They've been there, like, two weeks already.

Actually, they're disputing their status as squatters. They've shown the police a tenancy agreement and - in a shocking display of balls so big they blocked out the sun - accused the man whose name is on the deeds and whose estate agent stumbled across the new residents during a viewing of being an impostor. It will go to court.

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More in this Category - N18

20111027bigbrother2

It was apparently on the market back in February with a guide price of £15.75m. It's on Hamilton Terrace, between Maida Vale and St Johns Wood, and it's a wedding-cake-on-the-outside, modern-on-the-inside style place with five bedroom, screening room, nice garden. Go here for a floorplan. According to the Daily Mail, it's still for sale, but I don't know where they've got that information. I can't find a listing anywhere.

20111027bigbrother1

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More in this Category - NW8
Wed
26
Oct

Inside the 2012 athletes' flats [Daily Mail]
Will Prince Charles move house? [BBC]
Savings pegged to house prices [Citywire]
Rents drive students east [Hurford Salvi Carr blog]
Eight daft answers to the housing crisis [BBC]

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

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More in this Category - Linkage

Estate agents Knight Frank predict a 5% fall for UK house prices in 2012, the market's first annual fall since 2008, as the market is hit by wider economic concerns. And don't - they say - expect further growth until 2014. Falling prices will extend to London, where there'll be an overall drop of 3.7%. Prime central properties, however, will continue partying, with a 5% rise.

More in this Category - House prices

A penthouse in Whitfield Street's Crabtree Place development has set a new record for the area, achieving £1,500 a square foot. The development, by Artesian, turned a former power station into a collection of high-spec properties. More here.

20111026crabtreeplace

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More in this Category - W1
Tue
25
Oct

He says:

"People I meet all over London have been telling me their housing horror stories of rogue landlords, rip-off agencies and unsafe buildings, and I know that they are not alone."

He's not heard enough, though. He's calling on Londoners to contact him with their grumbles, so he can formulate a "plan" to improve London's private rented sector.... all part of of mayoral campaign. Catch him here.

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More in this Category - Letting

There might not have been much cheer for estate agents recently but Knight Frank's partners - boosted by a booming top end - should be happy with the £73m bonus pool they'll be sharing, more than twice 2009's payout. Thank Mammon for foreign buyers.

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More in this Category - Estate agents
Mon
24
Oct

20111024brickless

Like it!

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More in this Category - Design

That's homefinder Tracy Kellett's message to vendors.

Here is your two-week warning: if you don't do something very fast – a price reduction, or taking that offer you think is too low – you will be whistling until February at the earliest, and I guarantee now that you will be getting a lower price than any offer on the table today.

But Tracy, what do you really think?

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More in this Category - House prices

Brit MEP clashes with Spain's housing minister over expat property problems [Euro Weekly News]
The life of a high-end buying agent [FT]
Big Yellow make big Olympic rentals predictions... but have they factored in local authorities' short-term letting laws? [Press Association]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage
Fri
21
Oct

Wapping allotments a step closer [Londonist]
Landlords' boom = tenants' bust [Telegraph]
**** off oldies! [Evening Standard]
Olly Murs... at home in Essex [Monsters & Critics]
Fancy treehouses [Daily Mail]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

There's an interesting piece in the Independent today about why it pays dividends to keep a close eye on public transport policy when planning your next London move. It's all about Dalston, Peckham... and there's this interesting snippet:

Some people use analytical research tools such as PTAL (public transport accessibility level), devised by Transport for London, to calculate an address's transport status on a scale of one to six, with A and B subdivisions.

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More in this Category - E8
Thu
20
Oct

According to a new survey by FindaProperty, the average monthly rent in London has hit £2,075, that's £151 more than the country's average take-home pay. Yes, average salaries in the capital are higher than elsewhere, but - even here - that's more than three-quarters of net pay (the highest ratio in the country. Does something need to give?

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More in this Category - Letting

Following yesterday's report suggesting tax breaks to encourage elderly "bedroom blockers" into smaller properties, Rantzen and Etherington put in their teeth gumshields and go toe-to-toe for a couple of rounds, in the Telegraph.

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More in this Category - _Other
Wed
19
Oct

20111019StPauls1

Not much of a commute for somebody with £4.5m to spend on this remarkable Sir Christopher Wren-designed tower in the heart of the City. It's over ten - yes, ten - floors, with a lift and a spiral staircase to get you up and down. At the very top... a balcony with 360 degree views, including St Paul's. Completely unique, and the Rat and Mouse's favourite London property this year. Particulars here.

20111019stpauls2 1

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More in this Category - EC1

According to Henry Pryor, we're about to witness the emptying of ashtrays and the mopping up of sick:

As one or two guests try to get a last drink the proverbial fat lady is attempting karaoke. She is singing about yields, the only scientific guide to value when it comes to house prices. Determining the yield from the rent one might expect to get for the purchase price you are invited to pay enables City types to compare property as an investment class along with other commodities like stocks and shares, fine art or indeed wine. Because the transaction costs are high (e.g. stamp duty over 5% for homes over £1m), the fact that property is ‘illiquid’ (taking 92 days on average to sell) and that there are costs associated with keeping a property let at a decent rent has historically commanded a yield of 6%+ for most savvy investors. In central London today buyers seem content with 4% gross returns. They justify this by arguing that they are expecting capital growth but this is a spurious argument usually advanced by selling agents and developers. Who would be content with nil dividend from a share in return for the hope of a rising price?

It's a good piece and worth reading.

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More in this Category - House prices
Tue
18
Oct

20111018prisoin

What an estate agent's "Welcome" hamper bag looks like [Flickr]
"Soon the meadow would be covered in a new estate of executive homes... [Daily Telegraph]
Design flair: Europe's chicest prison accommodation [above, Curbed]

The Rat and Mouse - property blog

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More in this Category - Linkage
Mon
17
Oct

Through his Omni Capital he'll be offering bridging loans (unregulated mortgages) to the "asset-rich, cash poor". According to this, it's the first step in the creation of a wider banking presence.

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More in this Category - _Other

Protests and the property market [Money Week]
Renting out for the Olympics... not that easy [Daily Mail]
Mayfair... the residential heart of London [Gulf News]
Have you washed your hands? [BBC]
It's great being poor [Daily Telegraph]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

October's Rightmove asking price index is a bit of a shocker. Average asking prices rose, and by 2.8% in the month, leaving them 1.2% above where they were in October 2010. So what the heck's happening? This (blue = asking prices in the north, red = in the south):

20111017rightmove

Look how close together they were in January 2007. What's happened since? There's been a southern recovery. Drilling down into today's figures a little further you find asking prices in the south rising a massive 4.7% on the month, while they fell 0.7% in the north. According to the report, this is all indicative of the long forecast effect of public sector job cuts. Get your own copy here.

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More in this Category - House prices
Fri
14
Oct

According to China Daily, sales volume shrank in 16 of the country’s 20 largest cities, and by more than 50% in eight of them. In Beijing, sales fell 23%; in Shanghai, they were an astonishing 80% below the 2010 level. In Nanjing, things were so bad that some developers tried to entice buyers with buy one, get one free deals – buy a house, and get an apartment free.

Our publisher takes a closer look at China's all-important property market, in his guest column for Citywire.

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More in this Category - _Other

House prices are down 0.3% August to September, the first fall in three months, according to Acadametrics/LSL Property Services, leaving prices down 2.3% on the year. Every region except London showed a decline in the three-month average (when compared year-on-year). In London, prices are still up 1.1%. Interestingly, the number of transactions was higher than they'd expected, unchanged from August. Accompanying comment is about further restrictions in lending, as the banking sector tries to deal with current stormy conditions.

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More in this Category - House prices
Thu
13
Oct

Capital Economics has a history of grabbing the headlines with catastrophic house price crash predictions. So it's with mild surprise that we read it's latest forecast...

Capital Economics predicts that house prices will decline by 5% in both 2012 and 2013.

Come from CE, that's almost a "buy".

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More in this Category - House prices

Private rents are now unaffordable in 55% of local authorities, according to a report by Shelter, doing the rounds this morning. What does unaffordable mean to Shelter? It means that the average rent costs more than 35% of the average take home pay in a particular area. Most shocking of all, the report claims that 38% of families with children have been cutting back on buying food in order to meet rent. The cost of renting a two-bedroom home ranged from £394 a month in Burnley to £2,714 a month in Kensington. The average rent on a two-bedroom home London is £1,360 a month, almost two-and-a-half times the national average. To get a copy of the actual report itself, click here.

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More in this Category - Letting

Government figures show prices on the decline [Stockmarketwire]
Nice. But it needs £10m spending on it [Daily Mail]
A crash so slow, we won't even notice [Daily Mail]
$33.5m price drop [Daily Mail]

The Rat and Mouse - property bllog

More in this Category - Linkage
Wed
12
Oct

20111012central square

An interesting piece here on the Primelocation blog. Jennifer Warner attended the launch reception for Central Square - 170 apartments in a good location in Clerkenwell with underground parking - and reports...

Between wine, canapés and viewings the prospective buyers – of all ages and nationalities – quizzed the selling agents. Then like the bear pit of a Wall Street trading floor, they started to buy. With two-bedroom apartments starting at £575,000 this is not a purchase to be bought in a hurry, but a buzz of chatter on the phones to banks or loved ones ensued and deposits of £2,000 per reservation were paid on credit cards.

Thirty-seven apartments were apparently reserved in four hours. That's 22%. Good? Indifferent?

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More in this Category - EC1
Tue
11
Oct

20111011CentralStGiles

It's a £5.5m property, very possibly one of these, and the two singers are said to be about to go head-to-head for it.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes

More agents/surveyors saw falls than rises in house prices, but not as many more as analysts were predicting. New buyer enquiries were up a tiny bit, but the most interest data aspect of the latest RICS report is that September saw the first decline in sales since January (with the average number of properties on agents' books rising by 3% to 68.9). RICS' expectations are for house prices to continue to fall for the next quarter.

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More in this Category - House prices
Mon
10
Oct

Is the real crash finally just around the corner? [Observer]
Man smashes into Boris' gate, shock makes him talk like proper Cockney [Daily Telegraph]
Frustrated by social housing waiting list, Croydon family of five move into double-decker bus [Daily Mail]
Cornwall council offers owners of empty homes offer they can't refuse [Observer]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

Buying into new build is as risky as ever, but there are places, according to new research by Knight Frank, where you stand a greater than average chance of making a return on your investment. Nine Elms, in Wandsworth, is forecast growth of as much as 140%, as the area gets set for the opening of the new US embassy in 2017. Go here for a fun and effective interactive map.

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More in this Category - House prices

Spencer's latest TV escapade starts today... at the odd time of 11am, Channel 4. We covered it here. Official page here. Interview here.

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More in this Category - Property TV
Fri
07
Oct

How to get on with your tenants [Daily Telegraph]
Prepare for cheapest loans ever [Daily Express]
How to deal with squatters [Guardian]
Taxing luck [Money Week]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage

The pictures come courtesy of a US magazine, but they've been reproduced by the Daily Mail. It's in Richmond (Whornes Place, to be precise) and it's a property with a lot of history. Parts date back to the 15th Century, although it was rebuilt in the 1920s. More recently, it's been popular with other Hollywood A-Listers (including Johnny Depp and Michael Douglas). Brad Pitt is currently filming in London. For a look inside, go here.

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More in this Category - Celebrity homes
Thu
06
Oct

No change, and the official base rate remains at 0.5%, where it's been since March 2009. There was a surprise, though... the decision to inject a further £75bn of quantitative easing into the economy, a move that looks set to become known as QE2. Angry pensioners, looking forward to further years of rising inflation and poor returns on savings, took to the streets, executing a big model pig outside the Bank of England.

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More in this Category - _Other

The big one, in many people's eyes... the HBOS index shows a monthly fall of 0.5%, a quarterly rise of 0.1%, leaving the annual change -2.3%. Accompanying comment:

Greater uncertainty about economic and personal financial circumstances, together with pressure on householders' finances from weak earnings growth, higher inflation and increases in taxes, are likely to be constraining housing demand. Despite these pressures, low interest rates and a rise in employment over the past year, have been supporting the market, resulting in broad stability in both prices and activity. We expect little change over the remainder of this year.

Pick up your very own copy of the report here.

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More in this Category - House prices
Wed
05
Oct

Yes, according to Wooster & Stock estate agents of South London. They point to funding campaigns on Facebook and information about neighbourhoods on Twitter as examples of how areas are being boosted by online chat. More here.

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More in this Category - Property online

Squatting, it's about politics, not property [Daily Mail]
On property shopping in Chelsea [Independent]
Construction stagnation [BBC]
Struggling to pay the rent [HouseLadder]
First-time buyers? What's the fuss about? [Independent]
On the bears at Money Week [Planet Property]

The Rat and Mouse - it's about your house

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More in this Category - Linkage
Tue
04
Oct

After being less attractive than that Cheltenham girl on X-Factor for a number of years, new builds are - according to the FT - rediscovering their mojo.

It revealed that unit sales of new-build properties between January and September have been 179 per cent higher than in the same period last year, as investors seek opportunities for higher returns in a period of prolonged low interest rates.

The drivers aren't that surprising: high rental demand, higher net yields with rents high and interest rates low.

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More in this Category - Letting

20111003luckywu 1

LuckyWu.com... it sounds (and looks) like a dodgy gambling site but actually it's the first specialist portal marketing London property to Chinese buyers. It's already shifted a £1m+ property. More here.

 

More in this Category - Property online
Mon
03
Oct

A fascinating view of Kings Cross, from a model aircraft.

[via Londonist]

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More in this Category - WC1

The 15th consecutive monthly fall from the Hometrack index, down 0.1% on the month, and 2.6% on the year. London - again - was the exception, with a 0.2% rise. More here.

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More in this Category - House prices

'When I was 21, I had my own flat – the interest rate was 16 per cent and I was earning just £9,000 a year. I could not buy anything at all. I actually pawned something once so that I could pay the bills.’

Pardon? The Honourable Kirstie Allsopp – yes, she could actually use the title if she wanted – has been in a pawn shop?

‘Absolutely. I can’t tell you what I pawned because it would cause a terrible row, but I did. I think my mother may suspect’ – she later admits it was a piece of family jewellery.

She's was in the Daily Mail, promoting a new series called Kirstie's Handmade Britain, in which she takes her interest in crafts nationwide, "visiting some of the finest County Fairs, and submitting entries to some of the toughest craft competitions around". I'm sure it'll appeal to a certain kind of person.

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More in this Category - Property TV

There was a mildly interesting piece on Friday over at FullFact.org ("promoting accuracy in public debate"), looking at the range of spin the different newspapers are able to give to house price data... a subject the Rat and Mouse has regularly picked up on over the last few years. How, they ask, is something like this possible?

20111003fullfact

The answer, of course, was that they were not only using different data (not so significant) but that they were talking about different time frames. Obvious - you'd think - but clearly not obvious enough to sell newspapers. Read it here.

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More in this Category - House prices

 


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