Blog Archive

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Standing small things side by side, a singular value often has the ability to magnify itself; the singular value is increased as a collective.

Individually three words can each hold their own important relevancy; stand those words next to one another, as World Book Night does (the smallest word propped-up by the two longest at either side) and their combined strength works together.

Words come together to create a sort of letter-land community, in this case the common cause is promoting the world of books (and literacy in general). The three little words standing in a row could have placed the littlest first ‘We’ll go in letter order, B-Book, then N-Night, W-World’ : Book Night World.  ‘Nah! We’ll have little Book first, then you go World and I’ll follow’ : Book World Night. ‘No, you go first World because we’re all encompassing, then I’ll stand in the middle (the main act) followed by you Night’.

World Book Night. Enjoy Yours.

Image credit: mrsdkrebs  Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013


Probably, down at No.11 after some gradual stretching exercises and a crack of the knuckles, Mr O’s  spring in his step bounce downstairs turned to frantic running around; throwing things out of the cupboard under the stairs, and shouting “who’s moved the red bag again?” ……Because, as we’ve heard from pre-budget snippets, it’s a visit to Grimsville again – and the red bag  could be the brightest thing on the day for the man whose made his first Tweet  –  on Budget Day – ‘Today I’ll present a Budget that tackles the economy’s problems head-on, helping those who want to work hard & get on’ – Clearly he’s got a lot to do.

Read more budget news:

The Treasury:
The Guardian:
The Telegraph:

Image credit: stevendepolo  Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013

The cautionary attitude of some lenders and landlords guarantees no access to properties for anyone on benefits – Full Stop.  A general circumnavigation of financial issues surrounding such a landlord market often supports the attitude of no interest for the landlord, similarly the financial people (lenders) usually root their perspective further along the chain to their lenders’ directives and criteria associated with that lenders risk assessment.

It will therefore be interesting to watch how the recent announcement by TMW  (owned by Nationwide Building Society), of no longer accepting applications for lending on properties whose tenants are in receipt of housing benefit, will play out.

Are these new Terms and Conditions  some foot-stamping by a lender reducing risk for its investors…..  or protecting its borrower?  Will it be necessary for the landlord to construct a new business plan that foot-stomps around rent collection? Or what about the impact on loan security values in an already challenged balancing act for valuing comparables?  And of course there are the tenants, some who don’t have bank accounts, many not enabled for a competitive market.

Could this be the disruption that gives property chain a new meaning?

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013


What is it about a deviant building, reaching across the borders of Steampunk, that so terrifies the lenders?

I was recently reminded about this adversity by lenders towards non-standard constructions when a project, happened to be built with a concrete frame, came my way.  The build materials weren’t all ‘non traditional’ and from the outside there are no adverse features… in fact quite the opposite (as can be witnessed by many architecturally designed properties).

Granted, modern concrete has a better load-bearing ability than the older versions of concrete – as does the modern version of brick – but, taking into account the reasonable argument that some older properties haven’t been maintained, I genuinely don’t understand the rubber-stamping approach to non-standard construction properties (commercial or residential) by the majority of concentrated lenders.

Concrete doesn’t last as long as brick is the theory…. try telling that to the high-rise with a primary structural frame of the stuff….. or the reinforced concrete load-bearing span, or the myriad of other uses that concrete offers to building and constructions stable of super strength choices.

In an economic climate of change, when people are looking at altered options, concrete deserves some altered attitudes from lenders because blanket cautiousness is as unhelpful as a concrete lifebuoy for the developer trying to keep afloat.

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013

Being told economic prospects are Black or, at best Brown, had me puzzled for a second; thinking shady dealings equate to Black markets, is Brown marginally less shady….or was this confusing the Grey economy? All during a discussion which included the Green economy, although didn’t include the Blue economy nor mention the Golden economy; not to be mislead about money-trees turning Yellow, or Gold…..Although the Green stuff was mentioned, but there was no reference to Green money; the dialogue circumnavigated White money being in the Red or the Black, including the Pink pound and Blue chip with the potential for a Silver lining…..

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF 2012


“I would always say you should take Independent Advice when looking to take out a new mortgage, because the Independent Financial Adviser is not tied to any one provider and can provide advice from the whole of market including deals offered directly from Banks or Building Societies. An IFA or Independent Mortgage Broker will also conduct a full financial review to take into consideration all the areas of need in connection with the mortgage”.

Nothing too unusual about that declaration – other than its written by someone who less than 3 years ago was an employee working in a Bank as a Manager probably telling people…..

“As a bank we value your business and have solutions for you which will give you the appropriate mortgage that addresses your needs. Our advice  will come up with the best deal for you to support your application,  because we don’t just give out mortgages to anyone…… “

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF


Although annual inflation had dropped to its lowest  in 3 years at under 3%, Inflation and Productivity research by the Forum of Private Business’s (FPB)  showed, from those who took part in the referendum survey,  inflation was running at 6%-7%, with the most common increase in costs for SME’s being energy.  Also citing fuel and energy costs as a sector challenge, the construction industry saw a fractionally higher output in the Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index Mark/CIPS  with a figure that only just separated growth from contraction. Residential building activity showed as being the weakest performing sub-sector, with commercial activity also showing a drop.

According to Zoopla  figures for the last 12 months, the value of the average home in Britain has risen by £3,373:  the Independent shows the average home value as £226,369 and property prices in London continuing to rise.  Changes to mortgage lending regulations which intensify scrutiny of the borrower’s ability to pay have been put back from 2013 to 2014, whilst research, published by Cluttons, shows rents expected to rise significantly  over the next ten years in the Capital, will not be matched by a rise in supply –  therefore prices and rent will be pushed upwards in an area which already has the highest concentration of renters in the UK.

Not alone in wanting to see the evidence used for the postponement decision in the Revaluation of Business Rates, are The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS),  The British Retail Consortium (BRC)  also wants the scrapping of inflation based increases. As companies will have to pay rates based on property rents in 2008 (near peak evaluations) until 2018, they face hikes of over 2% next year. Every 5 years, the way bills are calculated is revised by the Valuation Office Agency, The Growth and Infrastructure Bill (clause 22)  includes postponing the next business revaluation until 2017.  With some commercial property values having fallen significantly since pre-recession any business rate fixture not relevant to current values could be hard hit – some potentially facing higher rates than rent.

Whilst there are now around 30 institutions taking part in BofE’s Funding for Lending which gives access to cheap funding; with the proviso of growing net lending into the economy Supply Chain Finance (SCF)  a cashflow scheme has been announced. Based on the strength of large companies i.e. Vodafone / Rolls-Royce / Tesco, credit ratings notifying suppliers’ banks that invoices have been cleared for payment, those suppliers can then arrange for their banks to give them 100% advance of the money they are scheduled to receive. With a £20bn target set,  the Government intends to implement this amongst its suppliers, starting with the Community Pharmacies in England and their 80 million monthly NHS prescription items.

Another month with no hanging-around in business, including for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) who, having some building work done,  spent £10,000 re-stuffing an old snake and taking care of their assets.

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF 2012


The man ‘flu hasn’t receded: meaning I’ve been at the receiving end of quite a few ‘told you so!’ from those near and (increasingly) not-so-dear as they remind me of their fore warnings – ‘It’s colder out there than it looks’, ‘keeping those wet socks on won’t help’, ‘feed a cold, starve a flu… where does it say drink plenty of whisky?’

Basically I’m being told I’ve been a fool to mess about on the river  for an inclement day, when I’d  managed to get a boot full of water before I even set off… and now I’m paying the price twice; once with the persistent cold symptoms and once by the annoying ‘told you so’.

I haven’t had my flu jab… is more likely the reason.  It might be more opportune as a lone voice, or fighting conventional wisdom to be able crow ‘I told you so’ – like to those I’d warned to look at their metrics – but they’re managing to keep warm, out in the cold, fighting fires, trying to breathe new life into something that has clearly gone…. and I can’t be bothered  because I’m sick…. of people saying  ‘told you so!’

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF 2012


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