Is it Sunday again so quick? Darn! Well before we get ready to head back to the office tomorrow, let’s take a look at the the stories that rocked the world of UK real estate this past week. I’ve got to say, none of these compared to the story of the week…THE FACT IT SNOWED! Yep, for the first October since 1934, we had snow all over London. But enough of the jovial festive weather, let’s get back to British real estate…
- The pound took a battering – Bad news for any Brits who were planning on investing in US property any time soon, the British pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar in more than five years. Of course, it’s not bad news for Brits living on US shores. Those cashing in their dollar assets and changing it back to GBP are getting a rather lovely 23% more for their money compared to November 2007, when sterling hit a 26-year low against the US dollar.
- We got our own online community – In the UK, we’ve never had anything to act as a kind of ActiveRain for people in the industry, there’s been nowhere for property professionals to go and blog, chat and learn from each other. But this week saw the launch of Juicy Red Apple, a community website designed to do just that. The site is built on the Ning platform and is in delta rather than beta mode, but it will be interesting to see if the UK property folk get involved the way their US counterparts have with similar sites.
- New figures showed that net mortgage lending grew in September – If you’re the type of person that always sees the glass as half empty, you’d have looked at the latest BSA (Building Society Association) figures and seen that net mortgage lending for September 2008 was almost half of what it was at the same time the year before. But, if you’re a glass half full kinda person, you’d have been pleased to see that there has been a significant improvement between August ’08 and September ’08. According to the BSA, net mortgage lending by building societies increased from -£37million in August to £314million in September. Which is a good thing, non?
- UK rental demand has been boosted by our European friends – You may not realise that living in the European Union has its perks, the main one being that you can go and live and work in any member state with zero hassle. Being that the UK is obviously the greatest nation in the EU (am I allowed to say that?!) a lot of Europeans want to live and work here and, as long as they are EU members, they’re very welcome to. Over the last quarter, UK rental demand from our European neighbours has grown in strength. Italy and France still make up the largest chunk of overseas demand, but demand from Poland has almost doubled over the last quarter.
- Free Aston Martin with the house sir? Everyone loves a good marketing gimmick, and as the UK goes James Bond crazy this week it’s unsurprising that the latest freebie being offered by an agent is an Aston Martin. Yep, an agent in Wales is offering a V8 Vantage to whoever buys the £1.5million gated Cardiff mansion they have on their books. Personally, I think I’d rather have £100,000 knocked off the house price than a pretty car but maybe that’s just me.
So that’s it for this week boys and girls. Take care of yourselves…and each other.