"The covenant of British politics is broken. The European referendum of 2016 was the first clue and the strange general election a year later the second. As the political assemblies gather at their conferences to contemplate their own little world, the gap between the promise of politics and popular problems has perhaps never been greater. There will be urgently missable fringe meetings in Brighton and Manchester over the next fortnight which seek to draw lessons from Syriza’s Greece, Trump’s America or Macron’s France. The problem can be located much closer to home.
Housing minister was once a cabinet position and really must be again. For an issue which has so frequently paid a political dividend it has been remarkably relegated down the order of priorities .…"
Housing needs to be given more priority, more cash, more imagination, more hope than ever before. One rough test for the efficacy of a civilisation is its ability to house its poorest citizens. In this regard, the United Kingdom has failed its youngest and most vulnerable members completely. What do you think, Uncle Henry?
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2017 19:55:29 GMT -5 by kleinesc
The FT reports that estate agents’ fears stoked by slow growth and Brexit. Uncertainty over the future of the economy and interest rates is holding back demand foar housing in the United Kingdom (UK). Of course, political uncertainty is inevitable, but what effect will it have on the British economy? Can Theresa sort it?
On 11 May 2004, over 13 years ago, little c asked Serious Topics's posters what sort of bubble do we have in mind for the UK housing market? Yesterday, little c lunched at The Anchor below Southwark Bridge, and a series of experiments was conducted into the bubbles produced in varous lagers, bitters and stouts. A massive crowd turned out, yet the c babes insisted on champagne, and indeed, we had to go over to Vinopolis next door in order to purchase a better selection of bubbles. When champagne is poured into a glass, sufficient energy is created to induce what is called homogeneous nucleation, or "gushing". Little c gushed forth, as ever, Alistair. This energy rapidly dissipates and subsequent bubbling depends upon the diffusion of carbon dioxide into existing gas pockets. This is known as heterogeneous nucleation, and it was then suggested that the UK housing market resembled such a bubble. As nascent bubbles grow, their buoyancy increases to a point where they detach and new embryonic bubbles can begin to form.
During ascent, bubbles enlarge as more carbon dioxide diffuses in and their rate of ascent increases, Uncle Henry. As a result, the bubbles distance themselves from one another and, because they form at a relatively constant rate, delicate chains of enlarging bubbles shimmer their way to the surface. They initially mound in the centre or collect as a crown around the edge of the glass, but unlike beer, where a stable head is expected, particularly in a classic Irish stout like Guinness, the mousse of champagne remains delicate and refined. The principal factors affecting foam stability include alcohol content and the amount of surface active components, notably proteins and glycoproteins. Alcohol and various aromatic compounds reduce the surface tension of the bubble, permitting the surface to weaken as the fluid coating of the surface flows away. Bubble strength is also limited because there are insufficient surface active components to stiffen the bubble's surface. Is the UK housing market more like a relatively mild pint of Guinness, where a static head of beer can last for several hours, and in which little c regularly inscribes his name? Or is the alcohol level closer to that of champagne (11% abv), in which case the bubble will undoubtedly burst immediately.
As a champagne bubble bursts, part of it may be ejected into the air, but most will implode, after which a microscopic column of wine surges upwards from the implosion crater. Because hundreds of bubbles may burst per second, the surface of sparkling wine is laced with these tiny jets, each of which separates into microdroplets that can be propelled up to several inches into the air. These events can be detected by sensory receptors on little c's tongue, palate and particularly, nose, but their minute size and short duration, amounting to no more than a few milliseconds, make them invisible to the naked eye. How can we see them then? As the bubbles rise through champagne, aromatic compounds adhere to their surface and are subsequently released into the air as bubbles burst. Whereas a housing bubble bursts when properly pricked, sparkling wine's delicate bouquet is concentrated in a manner similar to swirling still wine in the glass to promote the release of its bouquet. Have a go!
Direct observation has now shown that most bubbles develop on miniscule lint fibres adhering to the glass, not microscopic glass-surface imperfections as previously assumed. The fibres are thought to be cellulose derived from dust or cloths used for drying and polishing. Air is trapped in the hollow broken ends of the fibres when wine displaces air during wine pouring. These microbubbles act as sites for bubble formation and release. Etching flutes undoubtedly produces additional sites for fibre attachment, but is there such a champagne bubble in the UK housing market? Scientists knew that there was insufficient energy in champagne to initiate the spontaneous production of bubbles, since it would require a pressure of around 1,000 atmospheres to force water molecules apart, and a fully sparkling wine has just 5-6 atmospheres. Spontaneous bubbling of the UK housing market seems almost inevitable, provided it is underpinned by strong domestic demand for somewhere to live and, indeed, work.
Little c therefore makes the case for a champagne bubble, which is intrinsically unstable and will burst immediately. Fortunately, the stream of champagne bubbles in a fast-growing, dynamic economy is so powerful, that a mousse can be sustained indefinitely. Indeed, as the afternoon progressed at The Anchor, new champagne was ordered from Vinopolis in order to sustain the experiment. The argument may seem trivial, Thoughtful, but the point is serious. All bubbles burst eventually, unless they are fossilised in time as you can see in an amber stone. What matters is whether the the mousse can be maintained, and if so, for how long? Well, I think that the UK housing market has continued to grow, so yes, the mousse has already been maintained for over 13 years. Slightly Optimistic argues, of course, that this time it's different, and that our civilisation therefore finds itself in terminal decline. I would beg to differ. We are innovating all the time! We still need somewhere to live. Our homes offer us the possibility of safety in such a dynamic and changing environment. You are therefore fundamentally mistaken, Slightly Optimistic, as always. Raise your game!
Good morning to everyone reading 'The Third' today! To all those who survived the Queen of Spades last weekend, congratulations! So as the UK economy slumps towards 2020, Alistair, what are the prospects for the housing market over the coming years? Writing in today's '[io]Sunday Times[/i]', Caroline Donald a spiral home in Devon.
"Stephen Tetlow is not a man to shirk a challenge. He was the director of electrical and mechanical engineering for the British Army, and for the past nine years has been chief executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In 2008, he followed the treacherous journey taken by Ernest Shackleton across the Southern Ocean and over the mountains of South Georgia. But building his dream home — in a spiral shape inspired by nature — was possibly the greatest challenge yet. The result, a five-bedroom house tucked into the top corner of a wild-flower meadow, with light pouring in from the large array of windows all round, is so innovative that he has offered it to Exeter University to study ... "
This curvaceous home, as seen in the new TV series, was inspired by the shape of a fossil!
Where in the world would an expat want to buy a home? It is a question complicated by countless variables such as individual wealth, length of stay, local laws and currency plays. Research due to be published on Wednesday by HSBC, the bank, offers an insight into the property buying habits of those posted abroad. The study, based on a poll of 27,587 respondents in 47 countries, reveals that 62 per cent of expats own property somewhere in the world, 9 per cent of them in both their home and host country. It also illuminates a global pecking order when it comes to where expats buy. Unsurprisingly, some of this is related to price: expats are more likely to own a home in host cities with lower property prices, such as Toronto (where prime prices average $530 per square foot, according to Savills, the estate agency) and Sydney ($620 per square foot).
But there are exceptions. Just 16 per cent of expats living in Dubai purchase a home there, despite relatively low average prime values of $590 per sq ft. “Dubai is not so popular as Sydney and Vancouver, which have similar price points, perhaps because prices are more volatile there [and] because foreign owners are restricted,” suggests Yolande Barnes, head of Savills World Research. New York and San Francisco stand out as cities where expats posted there are about as likely to buy a home as expats who come from there. “Both natives and expats want a stake in these two very vibrant, top world cities,” says Barnes. When it comes to expats’ home nations generally, natives appear less likely to buy if they come from English-speaking countries.
Good morning to everyone reading 'Serious Topics, 'The Third' and all other online social media websites today! To all those who survived the Queen of Spades last month, congratulations! So as the UK economy slumps towards 2020, Alistair, what are the prospects for the housing market over the coming years? Writing in today's 'Times', Jessie Hewitson reports on some strategies to sell your home this autumn.
"Down-valuations are making a reappearance in the market, causing the blood pressure of sellers around the country to rise sharply. One agent in north London, who wanted to remain anonymous, says a number of properties at her agency have been down-valued recently. “It’s been a sudden change,” she says, “like a memo has gone out to the surveyors from the banks.” Down-valuations happen when a surveyor working on behalf of a bank decides that the value of a home being bought with a mortgage is less than the buyer has agreed to pay. While it’s a normal feature of the market, the fact that it’s increasing more in some parts of the country is of concern ... "
Jessie concludes that ‘precision pricing’ and flexibility are essential, so follow our guide! You don't want to put buyers off by overpricing, and underpricing can also cause problems! The best approach, it seems to me, is to find an agent who can match properties to clients, and find one for yours! What do you think, Uncle Henry?
Last Edit: Sept 28, 2017 23:08:47 GMT -5 by kleinesc
Good morning to everyone reading 'Serious Topics, 'The Third' and all other online social media websites today! To all those who survived the Queen of Spades last month, congratulations! So as the UK economy slumps towards 2020, zorro, what are the prospects for the housing market over the coming years? Writing in today's 'Times', Anne Ashworth reports on the first rule of marketing a property: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, a precept useful in life and real estate.
It also seems that if you have made your home irresistible, thanks to the principles of Marie Kondo or similar decluttering gurus, the buffed-up property will exert its power most strongly on the first individual who crosses the threshold on a viewing. In 2017 15 per cent of buyers have been that person. This is an increase on last year, but a decade ago, at the peak of the previous boom, close to a quarter of those who purchased a property were the first people through the door, as the Countrywide estate agency notes.
The crammed railway carriage, the polluted air breathed in from heavy lorries and dodging between cars to cross the road – all phrases that describe everyday life in a large urban metropolis. But researchers, architects and academics are imagining how to create 'smart cities' – places that use technology to determine their urban planning. The result intends to be a more environmentally friendly city that is a much more pleasant and healthy place to live, and a much safer place to be.
Last week, news broke that Dyson was planning an electric car for release in 2020, in yet another indication of how tech behemoths believe the city of the future is going to look. We discovered what automobile giant Ford thought of the conurbations of the future at its City of Tomorrow event in London, which included TED Talks: The Future of Mobility. What are smart cities?
The definition is not exact, but it an urban area that uses the latest technology available such as sensors, connected devices and real time analytics to solve and the city’s challenges, and plan a better environment for the future. One MP saw smart cities as covering a place where every person can access real-time parking information, where urban parks offer free wi-fi and where rubbish collectors know when recycling bins are full.
Why are smart cities needed? With urban populations only getting bigger - there are predicted to be 13 million people in London by 2050 - there needs to be a change in the way cities are managed to provide for this influx. Overcrowding has led to people making the most of whatever open space there is available. John Kwant, vice president of city solutions at Ford Smart Mobility LLC, described how inhabitants have started to “reclaim streets or sidewalks”.
“Once that space is reclaimed for public user”, he said, “it is very hard to take it back because people reclaim [it]”. The desire people have for a space of their own shows how urban planning of the future will have to contend with increasing numbers of people, but no more space. Clever management using digital tools and real time management of resources can help this.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a £1.6 million clean tech incubator called Better Futures in June to help the battle against pollution and climate change in the capital. [Read more: Khan aims to turn London into ‘world’s leading smart city’] What are smart city projects? Ford has created its own ride-sharing app, Chariot, to help reduce the number of cars on city streets. It is currently being trialled in four cities in the US – Austin, New York, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. The plan is to use a mini-bus to transport people along popular routes. You can sign up for afor via an app, and in March 2017 it reported 100,000 monthly riders.
Closer to home, this side of the pond, there’s Ford smart benches which are in London and allow tired walkers to rest and charge their phone. Is BT working on smart city projects? BT is also researching and investigating smart cities, including projects in Milton Keynes and City Verve in Manchester, exploring how the Internet of Things can help make cities more efficient. This involves collecting data on how people use a city, from how much water is used, to car parking.
In Milton Keynes, BT, Milton Keynes Council and the Open University have developed MK:Smart to look at smart city projects. For example, there has been a successful pilot to deploy sensors from Deteq at the city’s railway station to prove the feasibility of city-wide parking space optimisation. Each of the parking bays had a sensor, which detected the arrival and departure of a vehicle and send the information back to a data hub. This information can then be processed and made available on a council website. Check out the video below to find out more.
Last Edit: Oct 5, 2017 12:24:02 GMT -5 by kleinesc
“Art is one of the easiest and most powerful ways you can reflect taste and personality,” says Stephen Crawley, a partner at Bowler James Brindley, an interior design company. If this is true, what do your walls say about you? Here are some professional tips on introducing art into your home. Where to begin. Camilla Bodie, the founder of 55max, an art consultancy, says: “When you have a new home you will probably be short of money so start with a large piece that doesn’t cost too much, maybe a print, and look for a beautiful frame in an antique shop or junkyard.” When you have a little more cash to spend, Bodie recommends investing in high-quality picture frames as a way of immediately making ...
I would obviously correct this and say invest in high quality pictures instead! An old master? An impressionist? Anything you fancy, really, zorro!
"Imagine if building your dream home were as simple as ordering a car, a phone or a takeaway. You’d go online, choose the location and model you wanted. You’d pick the design, the finishes, the kitchen and so on. A few months later your smartphone would ping with a notification: congratulations, your new home is ready. This is not quite a fantasy. In many parts of Europe people build their own homes in a not dissimilar fashion. Custom build, as it’s called, promises all the benefits of self-build without many of the downsides. Rather than taking on all the risk, finding and managing your own architects and contractors, custom-build developers give you a menu of options and then do the rest ... "
Ed argues that developers are building as fast as they can, and what is more, they may even have built too much new housing! So they will not be able to sell all the property currently on their portfolios anyway. What is to be done?
Last Edit: Oct 6, 2017 17:31:03 GMT -5 by kleinesc