[Ben Reeve Lewis discovers podcasts…)
I’ve come late to the feast. Discovered listening to podcasts.
I faced a particularly long and arduous journey on Monday, travelling from London to Neath in Wales to do a training course and straight back after the course on Tuesday night.
Over 400-mile round trip and 4 hours each way. I’m a fan of factual radio 4 stuff but once you hit Wiltshire the car radio always goes wonky and I’m sick of listening to local radio stations playing 1980s hits as I pass through different areas, so I went on BBC podcasts and downloaded hours of stuff of my own choosing to wire into my radio.
Bingo, not only did the journey go quickly I came back to London an expert on the California gold rush of 1849, the origins of the American revolution and the lives of Ernest Hemmingway, James Brown and the friction created between gospel music as a source of worship and the secularisation of it as it rubbed shoulders with Blues.
That’s the M4 for you, long tedious but very educational. Long journeys will never be the same again.
In a neat bit of free advertising dressed up as news the Evening Standard ran a piece on a survey conducted by estate agents Purplebricks who polled 2,000 on what they looked for in a prospective property.
Apparently Londoners are the least picky when it comes to neighbours and greenspace, presumably just relieved to have anywhere at all that they can get into, even if the neighbours are the Manson Family.
Our own upstairs neighbours, two Jacks and a Mike are ok, discounting unexpected bouts of two songs by the hideously overrated Coldplay, loud on a Saturday night before they whizz out to get drunk and leaving a bike in the common hallway when you just happen to struggle back from the supermarket with 6 bags of shopping that get caught on the handlebar.
There are worse things to put up with in life.
57% of Geordies said they would be put off if the quality of the neighbours was suspect. No surprise to me as I remember my Geordie mum and my Aunty Audrey sitting, tea cups on knees saying “Eee Audrey, would you look at the stayte of that woman’s cortains. Why man she should be shot”.
Letting v. Estate agents
I was slightly surprised but not wholly to read that in London a new estate agents opens every 1.6 days Some are obviously legit but how many aren’t?
One to watch for both landlords and tenants alike. The property press is often quite lazy about such reporting, there is a big legislative difference between estate and letting agent. The former are quite tightly regulated whilst the latter have tended not to be until recently but even the redress scheme stuff has yet to really bite.
Prosecution of unregulated letting agents is still down to local authorities and few have the wherewithal to do it. Newham council in the East End of London do have a dedicated team to take out recalcitrant letting agents but they throw millions at the team to keep the ball rolling.
Most councils are trying to cut costs by encouraging home working to save on office rental space, whilst cramming more people from other offices into the space made available by those doing homelessness investigations and rent arrears processing with one eye on the work screen and the other on “Don’t get done, get Dom”.
Bad news for the under 35s
The Telegraph this week ran a piece on the report of the Resolution Foundation think-tank that offers up the depressing fact that within 10 years only the rich and the elderly will be homeowners. Nine out of ten under 35s being permanently frozen out of homeownership.
A factor echoed in the Guardian who picked out the pertinent fact that the government’s housing policy is “A mess”.
Tory spokesperson David Willets said
“In 1998 more than half of people aged 16-34 living in households with incomes between 10% and 50% of the national average were buying their own homes. The percentage had dropped to 25% in 2013-14 and was on course to be 10% across the UK as a whole by 2025. In London it is forecast to be just 5% .”
Hardly a great track record for a political party who aims to support people’s aspirations.
Whilst not being rich or under 35, in the next 10 years I will at least be elderly, so there is some form of hope for me. Every cloud and all that.
Do they know it’s a housing crisis?
All of this makes me wonder where government are going. I don’t believe that even Cameron and Osbourne are so stoopid that they don’t know there is a housing crisis.
What I find weird is that whilst for years championing the small private landlord as the solution to the country’s ills they seem to have turned on them, with swingeing legislative changes, increased enforcement powers and an attack on tax breaks.
The Guardian also followed up with the article titled “Rootless and ruled by the landlord class” I wasnt aware that landlords were a class as such but there you go.
“As home ownership becomes a vanishing rarity among under 35s, the face of our cities will change. The result will be an ever more peripatetic, mobile and insecure young adult population – compelled to move home more regularly, at the whims of an increasingly muscular landlord class, to areas that are cheaper and less well connected.”
Says the article.
Whilst being a country mile the other side of 35 I am still in that bracket in many senses, moving several hundred miles out of London whilst commuting to do contract work and living under the auspices of Spare Room.com.
A million miles from my parent’s model of work, retire, relax.
As I learnt from my M4 podcast education session old gospel singer Sam Cooke once sang “A change is gonna come” A change indeed Mr C.
What made me smile this week
Something I cued into in that Gospel podcast. Kirk Franklin appearing on a strictly gospel X Factor programme called Sunday Best. Hip Hop meets Mahalia Jackson, move over George Formby…..you’re history
See ya next week