[Ben Reeve Lewis has a damaged wrist..)
Life finds a way of bringing you down a peg or two.
A few days before Xmas I was walking home from a drink with mates, proud to be for once more or less sober and taking a superior, nose in the air attitude to several people staggering home from office parties, when I tripped on the station steps and went flying whilst the paralytic ones cheered thinking I was more drunk than them.
So, on the mad panic buying round that is the weekend before Xmas I spent most of Saturday in casualty and most of Sunday in the fracture clinic, having badly sprained my fingers and broken my wrist and this hot on the heels of Frazzy having just about recovered from a month long bout of Pneumonia. Merry Xmas.
Things….as Tony Blair once sang….can only get better.
And lets hope that applies equally to 2016’s housing situation but I’m not sure who the winners and losers are going to be this coming year. The housing press have been speculating though.
Things to look forward to
The London Housing Commission report on plans for 2016 due for a March publication contains these wonderfully wooly sub headings of things us Londoners can look forward to:
- Strengthen planning capacity and efficiency.
- Unlock capacity across the whole development industry
- Provide stable and long term investment for affordable housing.
Hmm very nice. Josef Goebbel’s favourite Edward Bernays, author of 1928s “Propaganda” said something along the lines of “If you want to hoodwink a nation make sure you don’t say anything specific”.
And as for the phrase ‘Investment for affordable housing’…..well Mr Bernays would be proud to know how well our government have studied his book 90 years later. There’s affordable as in the standard dictionary definition and ‘Affordable’, as in government speak actually meaning ‘Unaffordable’.
Truth of sorts
I received news via the same press release that average house prices in London are now 10 times the average salary, thus making it virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder in the capital but luckily George Osborne has a plan to encourage investment in Lego in order to help first time buyers.
The article informs us:
“Gazing vacantly into the distance, Mr Osborne then spoke for some time, repeating often the words ‘hard-working’, ‘aspiration’, ‘striving’ and ‘long-term economic plan’ before excusing himself because his nose was bleeding.”
Yes that’s right, it’s a spoof, but only just. BFNN, a nice new discovery of mine who also ran a nice piece on the festive floods titled “Britain sinking under the weight of immigrants”
The best spoof news stories are close enough to real news to be just about plausible. You can imagine certain sections of society reading that headline and thinking it was true, even building it into a party manifesto to fight the next Thanet by-election.
‘The Week’ compiled some of the widest predictions for UK housing in 2016 from around the internet informing us of a lot of crystal ball gazing and crossed fingers that look set to come to naught as HSBC told Business Insider:
“Core demand will continue to exceed available housing and prices will be held higher. In fact, most are still suggesting that house price inflation will outstrip wage rises, locking more prospective buyers out of the market”.
Ah…so business as usual then. SNAFU as they used to say in WW2.
One thing we can be pretty sure of is that Foxtons will continue to occupy column inches as they increasingly become a barometer for our housing times, whether as the hated harbingers of gentrification and pusher-uppers of house prices or as their share price fortunes have more peaks and troughs than the Mindanao Trench.
Foxtons and Hipsterization
Property Industry Eye told us over Xmas that Foxtons had suffered such a drop in share prices that they were forced to buy them back to keep buoyant and sticking with the notion of Foxtons as a barometer, like frogs or bees, what is this telling us about the housing market?
On the one hand they are springing up everywhere and upping an area’s Hipster quotient whilst simultaneously not doing that well. Are they cruising on an old reputation and flying in the face of reality?
Frazzy’s mum lives on an old 1920s homes for heroes estate in South East London with a reputation so bad that when I was an enforcement officer attending pre-raid briefings in Police stations I couldn’t help noticing that most of the A4 sheets stuck to the walls advising officers to watch out for this drug dealer or that gun seller all lived on the same estate, often in her road.
However lately you cant help noticing Foxton’s boards being more conspicuous on the streets there than discarded £20 bags of Skunk, so something is evidently going on.
If they can Hipsterfy that estate I’ll buy shares myself.
2016 seems to be the year that government decides to admit that there is a homelessness crisis by setting aside £139 million to help ease it. Marcus Jones, the government’s man with the ‘Short straw portfolio’ who has been hanging out with frontline homelessness workers said:
“The past 6 months have been a real eye opener.”
“I cannot solve these problems overnight, but what I can say is that I – and the government – are listening to what you say and are ready to rise to the challenge.”
Really? You surprise me but at least he is admitting there is a problem.
Still you know what they say….in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is King.
What made me smile over Xmas
Well mainly seeing the back of 2015, I’ve had better years but also discovering “Narcos’ on Netflix was a bonus and also actually getting paid for TV work for once.
The second series of Nightmare Tenants, slum landlords on Channel five will be airing in May and although they arent following me around this time I will be cropping up giving tenant’s rights tips now again, so you won’t be spared my Hawaiian shirts this year either.