Building blocks

Alex Johnson

9780500342855 25882 Building blocksPublished at the beginning of next month by Thames & Hudson, Architecture on the Carpet: The Curious Tale of Construction Toys and the Genesis of Modern Buildings will be of interest to anyone who’s interested in architecture. Authors Brenda and Robert Vale take a broad look at the history of children’s construction toys – and there are many more than Meccano – and model-building sets. Interestingly, both the Vales specialise in sustainable housing.

Offices to homes
Cluttons has started rolling out research looking at investment opportunities in turning offices into residential use in London by suggesting that converting offices in Chelsea and Southbank could raise investors’ increase assets by up to 90%.

Increase in house hunters
The average number of house hunters increased in April, reversing the downward trend of the previous two months, according to figures from the National Association of Estate Agents’ (NAEA). Its report reveals an increase of 8% in the average number of house hunters registering with agents in April (310 househunters per branch) compared to March (286). Mark Hayward, managing director of NAEA, said: “Our figures show positive movement in the housing market, with consecutive monthly increases in househunters, sales and supply. Lower lending rates combined with a host of Government backed schemes and a wider variety of mortgage products has helped push the market in the right direction. It is also pleasing to see the jump in numbers of first time buyers purchasing homes as they take advantage of the low rates and help.”

Interactive prime
Savills has put together an interesting interactive map to show how prime property prices have changed over the last five years – click the link to see it in action and then use the tags to look at information on buyers, tenants and forecasts.

Sealed bids
South West London estate agency Haus Properties has reported a high demand for properties in the Fulham and Chiswick areas with the majority (97%) going to sealed bids. The strongest demand is in the £400,000-£800,000 price bracket, where most properties are attracting approximately 12 bids.

First-time buyers and Help to Buy
One in five first time buyers say that Government schemes like Help to Buy will help them get onto the property ladder, according to the Building Societies’ Associaiton. Roughly the same number say that the best thing the government could do to help them is to stop taxing their deposit savings.

Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage Policy at the BSA, said: “We are pleased that the Government shares our commitment to get the housing market moving, but it is vital that there is a clearly defined exit strategy right from the start for Help to Buy. It cannot become a permanent feature of the market beyond the time when the country is in economic recovery mode.  Care is needed to prevent the actions taken today inadvertently causing a distorted housing market in three years time – a market where state intervention has artificially hiked prices.”

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  • evad666

    Bakelite produced by Meccano and Architex produced by Triang

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