Graph Of The Week: Rents Rising

This week’s graph comes from the latest RICS Lettings Survey, published today (2 December 2009).

The report (Q3 2009) reveals that as the sales market recovers, excess stock in the rental market is on the wane and rental prices are edging back up.


RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf commented: “It seems the current upward trend in the housing market is having a more significant effect on the lettings market, with many of the accidental landlords returning to the sales market to take advantage of the recent price increases.

“As a result, the recent oversupply is reversing, with new instructions at the lowest levels we have seen. This, of course, is impacting on prices, and tenants no longer have as strong a bargaining power as they did.”

Our own Rental Index shows a similar trend. This month’s report (November) revealed a rent rise of 0.1 per cent to £831pcm, the seventh consecutive month of stable or rising rents.

The supply of rental properties fell by a 3.5 per cent in November, following a ten per cent fall in October.  And properties let within 55 days, 16 days less than at the beginning of the year.

For tenants, the message is clear: the days of discounted rents, juicy incentives and plenty of high quality stock to choose from are probably drawing to a close.

December 2, 2009 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Bargain Kitchen Units? Ex Display kitchens help homeowners save thousands.

Here’s a new website that’s just come to my attention: Kitchen Synch, a brokerage service that will flog you a used or ex-display kitchen at a bargain basement price.

It’s a bit like a TK Maxx for kitchens and lists dozens of models by everyone from Poggenpohl and Siematic to Oxford and Alno.  You can also sell off your old kitchen here, so it covers all bases.  Nice!

Prices start at £3,000 for a ‘wood look’  Wellman kitchen in Beech Vinessa (retail price, £10,000, so they say) and rise to £65,000 for a stone two-island extravaganza with a Gaggenau ceramic induction hob … which I’m guessing is some kind of fancy schmancy cooker.



December 1, 2009 at 5:20 PM 8 comments

The Street Where Mr Benn Lived

Mr Benn, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the name, was a bowler-hat-clad character from a popular kids’ TV show in the ’70s.

He lived at 52 Festive Road, a street which also housed a fancy dress shop, of which Mr Benn was a very regular visitor.

He’d pop into the shop where, as if by magic, the shopkeeper would appear and suggest a particular outfit for Mr Benn to try on, whereupon a whole load of jolly escapades would ensue.


The show’s creator, David McKee, lived at 54 Festing Road in Putney when he wrote the show – basing Mr Benn in the house next door and changing the street name to make it more child friendly.

And now, current residents of Festing Road have clubbed together to honour the TV series in the form of an engraved paving stone which will be unveiled this Saturday.

Mr McKee will be there for the unveiling ceremony, although at present it’s unknown if he’ll turn up in fancy dress.

Fancy a trip down memory lane?  Here’s the Mr Benn intro sequence:

November 27, 2009 at 6:11 PM Leave a comment

Five To View: Mews Houses

This week, a timeless classic: the mews house.

Originally built to house horses and grooms back in the day, these properties have become hugely popular dwellings.

London boasts many, many mews houses, lots of which are set in quaint little cobbled streets with a cluster of fellow mews homes as neighbours.

They’re also usually located within trotting distance of main thoroughfares so they’re central as well as secluded.  A high pedigree, indeed.

Here are five of the Capital’s finest mews houses to admire.

(Click on pics for more images & property details)

1. Grosvenor Crescent Mews, SW1



2. Lennox Garden Mews, SW7



3. Petersham Mews, SW7



4. Montpelier Mews, SW7



5. Spear Mews, SW5



November 26, 2009 at 6:02 PM Leave a comment

Moving House – Top Ten Tips

So, you’ve just found your dream home on, what next? Chances are you’ve only a matter of weeks until you have to move your worldly belongings from A to B.

It’s a huge task and is justifiably known as one of the most stressful things you can do. But with careful planning your move doesn’t have to make you want to tear your hair out.

So, we invited expert mover Claire Hose, from MoveMinder, to give us her top tips when moving.  She oversees many moves for other people and knows how much additional organisation and hard work goes into a successful move.

Follow Claire’s top tips for a stress free move.

Tip 1 – Be organised

Create a ‘To Do’ list and keep any important information together in a file.

As soon as you know you are moving, start planning by writing down what you need to do and when. Obviously not everyone is that organised but for your own sanity try not to leave it more than 3 weeks before the big day.

Tip 2 – Choose the right removal company

There are different options here depending on your budget and the size of your move. For larger households, as a general rule, look for BAR (British Association of Removers) registered movers or recommendations from friends. Get at least three quotes and go with the one you feel is best suited to your move, rather than the cheapest. If you only have a small load and just want a man and van, ask around for recommendations to avoid the cowboys. Check on insurance and don’t be tempted to go without.

Tip 3 – Don’t leave packing to the last-minute

This is a trap that a lot of people fall into simply because they can’t face starting such a mammoth task. Breaking it down into achievable parts can make it a lot less daunting. Take each room separately and start with books and CDs (use small boxes for these), and other items you don’t use that often. Alternatively, get the movers to do it all for you – they can sweep the entire contents of a house into boxes in a matter of hours!

Tip 4 – Ikea bags are a movers best friend

Well, maybe not BEST friend, but they’re pretty good for any of the odds and sods that don’t really need to go in a box. Zipped laundry bags, also known as refugee bags, are good for moving linens, clothes, shoes and other non breakables.

Tip 5 – Don’t forget to label your boxes

It sounds obvious but so many people forget. Put the labels on more than one side so you can see what’s what when they are piled high. If you’re really organised make an inventory of what is in each box, especially if some things are going into storage.

Tip 6 – Does your furniture fit out of your old house and into your new one?

Again, sounds obvious but it can catch you out. If you got it in then you should be able to get it out but flat pack furniture you built yourself is often the biggest cause of grief. Leave yourself time to disassemble and check with the movers if you need to get a window removed, they should know someone who can help.

Tip 7 – Create a room plan for your new home

Do a rough sketch idea of where furniture will be placed in each room. You can always move it again if you want to but it saves time umming and ahhing while the movers struggle under the load.

Tip 8 – Label your electricals

If you have a hundred wires going into one device use sticky coloured labels or number each part to match one end to the other.

Tip 9 – Essentials boxes

Pack the kettle, tea, coffee and milk last, unpack first. Know where your bed-clothes and duvet are (see next tip). Keep remote controls, phones, mobile phone chargers and any other items you are likely to lose but need in the same ‘bits box’ so you know for sure where they are. Keep valuables and important papers with you.

Tip 10 – Make your bed as soon as possible

You’ll appreciate it at the end of the day when you don’t have to do that one more thing before you can relax after a long hard day.

Claire Hose is Managing Director at move management company, MoveMinder Limited,

November 25, 2009 at 11:01 AM 20 comments

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