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The Young and the Nestless

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  1. At the low end of the market in NW9 London, I would say it has not started: a 1 bed flat in Amelia House, Boulevard Drive, London NW9 Sold Jul 2008 for £178,950 https://www.zoopla.co.uk/property/flat-19/amelia-house/11-boulevard-drive/london/nw9-5jp/28509191 a 1 bed flat in Amelia House, Boulevard Drive, London NW9 Selling now for £320,000 https://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/49505759 another for £299,500 https://www.winkworth.co.uk/properties/10623284/sales/amelia-house-11-boulevard-drive-london-nw9/HEN170292 a new build 1 bed flat in London NW9 (slightly larger) Selling now for £355,000 https://www.zoopla.co.uk/new-homes/details/49408231 another for £350,000 https://www.zoopla.co.uk/new-homes/details/40652696 an older-build 1 bed flat in Amber Court https://www.zoopla.co.uk/property/flat-4/amber-court/colindale-avenue/london/nw9-5et/17291641 Sold Sep 1996 for £44,000 Sold Nov 2000 for £86,000 Refurbished 1 bed flat in Amber Court now selling for £300,000: https://www.emoov.co.uk/property/1-bed-ground-floor-flat/london-nw9/2lv-jwjb/ It's possible the new build flats are more expensive than the slightly older flats because they are better quality / nicer architecture. Or it could be the influence of HTB. Also, strangely when the £250k stamp duty threshold existed for FTBs (people paid higher rates above £250k) the 1 bed flats there tended not to go over £250k often. So current FTBs are paying nothing in stamp duty, can have a massive bridging loan from the government, yet are paying more than 5 years ago when those incentives did not exist.
  2. Spotted yet another petition out there on the twittersphere: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-abolish-leasehold-strict-regulation-for-residential-managing-agents-be-introduced This petition appears to have 2,483 signatures already, which is still not that many given the number of people stuck with ludicrous new-build leasehold houses. Perhaps it is just that too many people who own property don't understand the difference?
  3. Already written a post explaining how aid can work within this very topic here . TL;DR?
  4. Okay... Some older studies concluded that there was no correlation between aid provided to a state and its stability. However, more recent studies have shown that it depends on the characteristics of the state (in what way the state is fragile: whether it has legitimacy, capacity to handle crises, good governance, lack of conflict, etc) and also the precise types of aid are being provided. The Fragile States Index uses 12 variables to evaluate fragility. This study explains some of the variables mentioned in the report above (though doesn't statistically show aid can help fragility). The next study does attempt to show a link between aid and terrorism reduction: Savun et al. (Final published version is available on sagepub.) Some selected quotes from Savun et al: The current UK government aid program in Somalia is an example of government attempting to target aid at some of those key variables mentioned above. Specific projects: Conflict Stability and Security Fund - Support to Elections, State Formation and Rule of Law Programmes in Somalia. [GB-1-205091] Somalia Stability Fund II Somalia Security and Justice Programme Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) Phase II Programme "To improve governance..." etc Back to Ethiopia, once again from the Fragile States Index report, you can see it is at risk because of certain elevated factors: The report also shows standard potential actions/questions to address C3 would be: some of which aid can assist with. The report also shows Ethiopia has improved economic indicators, but worsening fragility index, so certainly it is not just a case of providing money, it requires an amount of state reconciliation/reconstruction/reintegration as mentioned above. Notice the UK government's top priorities for Ethiopia don't seem to reflect the above situation: So I would say yes there is evidence aid can improve stability, but the specific risk indicators mentioned in the Fragile State Index need to be brought to light and targeted per country, and while there is evidence some of the UK aid projects are trying follow that heuristic, they should update aid projects to address emerging risks mentioned in the Fragile States Index report.
  5. As an idea, it is without intellectual foundation. Though Jacob Rees-Mogg may have benefited from a great education and has a superficially likeable character, these populist ideas are nothing other than 'misattribution of cause' and policies which could make the problem worse. Redirecting money from aid to housing is wrong because the housing market is very distorted. The Tories certainly will not correct those distortions, as those distortions benefit so many of their supporters. It took George Osborne years to realise the distortive effects of BTL and begin to act upon it. As to Hammond/May and the 'do nothing' budget, and the 'do nothing' manifesto, how can anyone believe the Tories will ever tackle the real problems of: land hoarding, property cartels, BTL mortgages, removing HRA cap, foreign/tax-haven ownership, rent controls, right to buy, nimbyism, devaluation of currency, etc. Is Jacob Rees-Mogg willing to take on any of these problems? Or is taking food out of the mouths of starving Eithiopians a more acceptable solution? Even if money was redirected, putting that into the 'existing system' it would get swallowed up by property developer shareholders, unless it were to be combined with a central government housebuilding operation, which the Tory government are unlikely to deliver. If countries like the UK reduce foreign aid, and that stabilising force is removed from those countries, you could begin to see more civil wars, and later an increase in the refugee crisis which would later place an increased demand on our housing domestically.
  6. Negative real terms interest rates are 'theft' (direct theft of the value of savings and salaries). Financial sector bailouts are 'theft', and actually discourage self regulation. Massive shoring-up of corporate balance sheets, again is 'theft'. Trickle-down of this 'monetary' expansion is almost non-existent. The part-time-libertarians, and very few financial/property sector shills are apparently the last dinosaurs who believe the above techniques are preferable options to spending ('fiscally') the same money in the real economy, on public services, on infrastructure, as money which will remain more available in the real economy. No mainstream economist still thinks the former 'monetary' options as the sole way forwards are the correct strategy! None. Not even the ones who invented the actual QE terminology. Not even the BoE's MPC who don't really understand the government's disinclination towards fiscal expansion. It's a choice, made by a small group of ill-informed politicians, and it's the wrong choice.
  7. Here is a petition someone has made: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-sprinklers-to-be-fitted-in-to-all-high-rise-buildings
  8. We are talking peanuts. Possibly some councils could add sprinklers to all their high-rises for less than a few million. Some of these flats may be rented out and making money. The paying tenants would want to live somewhere safe. Any business would borrow the money at the current crazy low rate and get it done. What's the problem here?
  9. It is possible that "marketing speak" may have confused the designers, or that they simply tried to save £5000. Reynobond or Reynobond FR (Class B ) "Fire Retardent" Reynobond A2 (Class A2) "Non-combustible" Reynodual (Class A2) Reynolux (Class A1) "Incombustible" This PDF on the website carries the instructions: "As soon as the building is higher than the firefighters’ ladders, it has to be conceived with an incombustible material." Grenfell tower was 67m high and therefore should have used A1 class cladding according to the manufacturer's own statement above. (Though more than likely they meant to allow A2 'non-combustible' as well.) That was not a 'legal' requirement unfortunately. At the time of building the sprinkler system may have been unnecessary, but even without the re-clad problems, there would be no guarantee that some other incorrect maintenance wouldn't take place and accidentally 'reduce' the original fire rating of any flat. Thus a sprinkler system would serve as a 'failsafe' in those scenarios.
  10. No it wouldn't. Sprinkler system for that block is quoted at approx £200,000 by BAFSA. 120 flats rented at average 1,500 per month equals £180,000 per month.
  11. Noticed this chart on Sky news earlier -- OBR Household Savings Ratio chart shows a negative forecast:
  12. To be fair to the property developer... on this occasion they appear to have followed the rules correctly. From the Guardian: Reading part 3 of the LVMF it states the: Background Wider Setting Consultation Area (BWSCA) is 3.5km. (The new building is much further away than that, so there should be no problem...) Edit: perhaps there could be an adaptive camouflage solution/workaround to replace the current sky colour, paid for by Friends of Richmond Park? Something like these displays over the outside of the building:
  13. Some things I noticed watching the Select Committee "Economy Committee" on iPlayer recently: Consisting of ex-MPC member Sir Charles Bean, and Austrian school economist Detlev Schlichter (possibly a future MPC hopeful) - who claims helicopter money doesn't work because if everyone gets it, it will make prices go up (i.e. like Help to Buy or any other scheme) he also says the only reason monetary expansion could work is if you give it to some people and not others (i.e. that QE was known to have distortive effects on the market). I think the debate shows us how far from a true science Economics really is... We already introduced inflationary money via Help to Buy, as this is one of areas where true competition cannot exist because land cannot be produced, therefore a distortion will definitely occur. If we limited how helicopter money could be issued, such as "Made in Britain" vouchers, then surely production would increase, and there would be some kind of real benefit to the manufacturing chain in the UK (once that prop is removed though we would revert to the previous low demand). Certainly the government should do a better job of supplying grants to real manufacturing businesses in the UK (we know that tooling and manufacturing equipment is a very expensive hurdle). Also they do not seem to understand it is very important how and where the monetary expansion occurs, i.e. who the money is issued to. If the BOE issues the monetary expansion as purchases of Apple bonds or McDonald's bonds, or stupid mortgage lending, or BTL mortgage lending, then this clearly has a very different effect on the shape of the economy than if you issued that money down the chain to people who could use it to buy British manufactured goods, or abolish homelessness, or making education free, or manufacturing tooling grants, or similar helpful injection. However, it seems the BOE is given free reign to 'invest' in bond purchases knowing they will definitely pay back with interest (unlike the "invisible" payback from helicopter money options). Also, zero time is given to discussing the debt-free money debate, or the interest-free debt-based money (i.e. Positive Money / Ben Dyson / Bill Still / zero interest greenbacks / etc). Also for some reason the three panellists (including Professor David Miles) refuse to say how the monetary expansion has distorted existing wealth, saying it hasn't distorted on class lines. Clearly, by their own explanations: the asset rich would get wealthier, and the asset poor would get poorer. They are economists, they should know this, yet they refuse to state it clearly back to the government when asked directly (as if they don't want a public admission of this on the record). It is fascinating that essentially a semi-layperson on the committee, Helen Goodman, asks the important questions. Then Charles Bean says that distribution of wealth issues need to be addressed by fiscal policy, or essentially "not our problem mate". Even Jacob Rees-Mogg questions the ludicrously low interest rates - he seems 'left' of the MPC, yet Schlichter claims he himself would not raise rates if he was placed on the MPC (up is down, down is up). The whole thing reminds me of the Noam Chomsky quote: "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." Here is the two plus hour discussion on iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08jrh7m/select-committees-economy-committee These are the experts, yet there are no real solutions or great ideas on the horizon. I wonder how different the discussion would be if they had a panel consisting of Steve Keen, Mark Blyth, etc, or would that require a "Real Economy Committee"? Would the committee then just temporarily humour any radical ideas, and settle to do nothing?
  14. It's a shame that a crowd funded approach doesn't fit here: you would need to find a bank willing to assess and lend to 5,000 separate buyers, and release the funds in stages to landowner, architects, builders, utilities, etc. Has any bank ever done this? Also, councils are still HRA capped (though recently slightly extended), so Islington council would struggle to afford the entire project themselves. (Although it would be in their interest to have 5,000 extra council tax receipts, rather than investment units that take 8 years to sell...) Total cost including land, building, architects, utilities, surely wouldn't exceed 150k per flat? It seems that with the current system, the affordable land actually exists in this case, but the only group with the ability to build on a large scale is the corporate housebuilders who keep the housing unaffordable. The current government doesn't want to challenge the builders on their actual selling prices, because they see them as a 'free market' entity even though no other group competes with them on large scale building.
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