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An Object Lesson In Why Not To Outsource In National Security.


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#21 Chris Werb

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 1049 AM

 

Well, given the entrenched conservatism evident in some of our US posters, I'm surprised you didn't expect your servicemen to shoot the locals and build their own log cabins from trees they felled themselves whilst trading otter pelts for provisions.


No, you sit back and pay the conquered locals in tea and East India company scrip to build the houses while you sip beer and gin and tonics?


Oddly enough, I grew up in Council house for which my parents paid a fair rent - it was not given to them. They (obviously) paid for their own heating just as they had done in service married quarters. They eventually bought the house under the scheme Stuart mentioned above.


One of the problems of government fingers on the scales is how it changes the supply demand curve. How short of housing is the UK this year? Why is that?

 

 

We're very short of housing. One reason is the Councils being prevented, by law, from using the receipts from sales of Council houses and flats into building new public housing stock. The Conservative (yes, Conservative) government has just reversed that crappy decision (of theirs). Another reason is rich people (including foreign oligarchs) buying up properties and leaving them unoccupied - anti money laundering legislation is already having an impact on that. Yet another, in rural areas, is the wealthy buying up properties to use as holiday homes (have you tried buying a cottage in Padstow recently?)  Another huge reason is planning controls. Yes, we need to protect open green spaces, particularly in the South East, but there are loads of brown field sites that everything possible should be done to encourage building on, both private and public sector. We could also do well to look at how other countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and Singapore cram really nice affordable living spaces into very restricted geographical areas, incorporating nature. There's a lot of work to be done here for sure.


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#22 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0238 AM

Central London is increasingly being bought up by Chinese and Russian investors, whom are using property there as a bank. They dont live in it, its increasingly unoccupied. But its tolerated, because it drives the London property market, which is about the only market in Britain showing signs of life. Its one of the reasons why we have been so reluctant to enforce sanctions on Russian investors, happily though that's being rethought.

 

Im not in favour of damaging property rights. But when Grenfell tower burned down, there was a dire need for more property to put up the tenants that had to move out, and someone in Labour proposed putting a compulsory purchase order (or at least enforcing the right to squat) one some of these unoccupied properties. But it was ignored. Many of those people are still living in hotel accommodation over a year later, which presumably isnt very cheap either.

 

We could deal with the problem by calling for more housing to be built from flat pack, like the Norwegians (or those of sam) do, and building brown field. But we wont, partly because it interferes with house prices (they are trying to drive prices up, not down) and the regulation on brown field (which in the UK is usually ex industrial land) means you have to do an extensive cleanup, which developers are reluctant to do.  Catch 22 right?


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#23 Rick

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0457 AM

Central London is increasingly being bought up by Chinese and Russian investors, whom are using property there as a bank. They dont live in it, its increasingly unoccupied. But its tolerated, because it drives the London property market, which is about the only market in Britain showing signs of life. Its one of the reasons why we have been so reluctant to enforce sanctions on Russian investors, happily though that's being rethought.

 

Im not in favour of damaging property rights. But when Grenfell tower burned down, there was a dire need for more property to put up the tenants that had to move out, and someone in Labour proposed putting a compulsory purchase order (or at least enforcing the right to squat) one some of these unoccupied properties. But it was ignored. Many of those people are still living in hotel accommodation over a year later, which presumably isnt very cheap either.

 

We could deal with the problem by calling for more housing to be built from flat pack, like the Norwegians (or those of sam) do, and building brown field. But we wont, partly because it interferes with house prices (they are trying to drive prices up, not down) and the regulation on brown field (which in the UK is usually ex industrial land) means you have to do an extensive cleanup, which developers are reluctant to do.  Catch 22 right?

Does London nave rent control?


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#24 Chris Werb

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0517 AM

Hi Rick. My understanding is that it ceased as applied to new rent agreements c 1980, but there is still a declining number of properties out there rented to their current remnants since prior to that that are rent controlled. You can imagine the level of financial incentive for landlords, even public sector ones, to get the tennants to move on. An ex council house recently sold for £2.2M
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#25 Rick

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0546 AM

Is there an "overly harsh" governmental restriction on the number of people than can occupy a dwelling? In the U.S. the rule of thumb is two per bedroom plus one. Thus a one bedroom apartment could have three people living in it, a two bedroom could have five, etc.


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#26 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0558 AM

Rick, they do I believe have restrictions, but the problem is enforcement. I saw a documentary on the BBC where they went around one property and found a garage had been converted into a rentable dwelling. I saw 'converted' when what I mean is they wheeled a bed in and put some carpet down and said it was rentable. :D

 

One problem is property improvement. Back in the 1980's there was plenty of victorian houses from the middle class that had been converted into flats, and were available to rent due to their relatively mediocre condition. Today, low rent areas are being rapidly converted back into town houses for the super rich. Which I dont have an issue with, but that there is increasingly little property IN London for all the plebs to rent, is just one more problem facing London. Its getting expensive for the people whom make london work to actually live IN london, or get back into it cheaply. If you look up 'The secret history of our streets' on Youtube, you will see what I mean.

 

Most of the problems we have now are ones that could be seen decades in advance, but were ducked by successive Governments. Council housing is one issue but mandating developers develop enough low cost housing is another.


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#27 Rick

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0613 AM

Rick, they do I believe have restrictions, but the problem is enforcement. I saw a documentary on the BBC where they went around one property and found a garage had been converted into a rentable dwelling. I saw 'converted' when what I mean is they wheeled a bed in and put some carpet down and said it was rentable. :D

 

One problem is property improvement. Back in the 1980's there was plenty of victorian houses from the middle class that had been converted into flats, and were available to rent due to their relatively mediocre condition. Today, low rent areas are being rapidly converted back into town houses for the super rich. Which I dont have an issue with, but that there is increasingly little property IN London for all the plebs to rent, is just one more problem facing London. Its getting expensive for the people whom make london work to actually live IN london, or get back into it cheaply. If you look up 'The secret history of our streets' on Youtube, you will see what I mean.

 

Most of the problems we have now are ones that could be seen decades in advance, but were ducked by successive Governments. Council housing is one issue but mandating developers develop enough low cost housing is another.

This problem appears in some of the larger U.S. cities also, but afaik, without foreign money. In the U.S. it usually due to rent control.


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#28 Chris Werb

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0625 AM

Rent control is, IMHO, generally speaking a really bad thing. It is better to keep rents down by increasing the housing supply, public, third and private sector.

As Stuart alluded to, there are areas of London where at least 2 out of 3 properties have illegal structures in their back gardens, often with many bunk beds and the most basic facilities. The occupants are typically low paid EU migrants, refugees and/or illegals.
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#29 Chris Werb

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0627 AM

As an aside it always surprises me that areas of London have high unemployment and poverty when it is so easy to get from one part of London to another. You can literally cross a road and be in another world.
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#30 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 0654 AM

They had an episode of that programme I described where that does indeed happen. One side was a council estate of some of the poorest people in london, the other side of some anti parking bollards was one of the richest. That was Kensington I think, which kind of partly explains what happened at Grenfell.


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#31 Chris Werb

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 1235 PM

I used to stay in the flat of a friend who inherited it (or what remained of its 99 year lease) from the Duke of Westminster - his father had been Chair of the Royal Scottish College of Surgeons and the family owned half of Dumfriesshire. The flat below was leased by a Libyan diplomat. I could step outside and walk around the corner and there were the most amazing boutique stores selling diamond encrusted jewellery and there was a Bristol car dealer!  Step across the road and you could be somewhere quite grim (all gentrified now though). Years later I worked in telesales for a green energy magazine - my boss was black and played for the Wasps. He would take me to nightclubs in Brixton where I was the only white face but I never had any hassle. Both experiences were really surreal.


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#32 Rick

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 1540 PM

Rent control is, IMHO, generally speaking a really bad thing. It is better to keep rents down by increasing the housing supply, public, third and private sector.

As Stuart alluded to, there are areas of London where at least 2 out of 3 properties have illegal structures in their back gardens, often with many bunk beds and the most basic facilities. The occupants are typically low paid EU migrants, refugees and/or illegals.

Agree with your first paragraph. The second paragraph makes me wonder if the building codes in London are same in other British cities?


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#33 rmgill

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 1847 PM


What Toyko can and can't teach about the housing crisis


Edited by rmgill, 21 October 2018 - 1848 PM.

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#34 JasonJ

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 0451 AM

What Toyko can and can't teach about the housing crisis


There are always tall residence buildings continuously go up here so the article holds water I think. Although there is still some people that save their houses and pass them down to offspring with renovation/rebuilt on the same spot in an area of only other houses.

A funny extra that you might know is that large residence buildings that are typically called apartment buildings in the US are called "manshon" as in "mansion" in Japan. So when they say mansion, they don't mean a big glamorous house.

As for the UK, infrastructure would have to be able to handle increased population density if building up. So the UK would have to consider their roads and trains if ever to consider building tall residence buildings. Of course I'm not an expect in houses in either country though. Just some thoughts upon reading.

Edited by JasonJ, 22 October 2018 - 0452 AM.

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#35 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 0540 AM

 

Rent control is, IMHO, generally speaking a really bad thing. It is better to keep rents down by increasing the housing supply, public, third and private sector.

As Stuart alluded to, there are areas of London where at least 2 out of 3 properties have illegal structures in their back gardens, often with many bunk beds and the most basic facilities. The occupants are typically low paid EU migrants, refugees and/or illegals.

Agree with your first paragraph. The second paragraph makes me wonder if the building codes in London are same in other British cities?

 

 

 

Pretty much the same as anywhere else I think. The difference is, the bottom dropped out the market everywhere else, because London is where the money is act. I think personally London is having its own housing bubble, whereas the rest of the country is still post doldrums from 2008.

 

That and the wealth generation is predominately in the southeast. Till the rest of the country has a similar income, its going to stay in the dolldrums imho.


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#36 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 0546 AM

 

What Toyko can and can't teach about the housing crisis


There are always tall residence buildings continuously go up here so the article holds water I think. Although there is still some people that save their houses and pass them down to offspring with renovation/rebuilt on the same spot in an area of only other houses.

A funny extra that you might know is that large residence buildings that are typically called apartment buildings in the US are called "manshon" as in "mansion" in Japan. So when they say mansion, they don't mean a big glamorous house.

As for the UK, infrastructure would have to be able to handle increased population density if building up. So the UK would have to consider their roads and trains if ever to consider building tall residence buildings. Of course I'm not an expect in houses in either country though. Just some thoughts upon reading.

 

 

We had a revolution in tower building about 50 years ago. The problem was the local councils had them constructed on the cheap to designs specced for the middle east, which meant they deteriorated in short order. The cost of maintaining a tower in the UK would be more costly than you would get back form rent. Or at least, so the rapid deterioration in lifts, lighting and other services would seem to indicate.

 

Ironically there was a ghastly high rise estate built in Sheffield in the 1960's that became derelict. It was taken over by a group of developers for a song, gutter, and turned into high rise flats for the rich, whom not surprisingly are able to maintain the building.

 

I think, and this is a personal view, the issue we have is that developers much prefer to go for the middle income/high earner bracket, and have not really built nearly enough low cost housing for years. The Government has been trying to encourage older people to sell their houses to make up for this shortfall by introducing a spare bedroom tax. Which interestingly, seems to have failed to work. Largely because older people cant afford to move to lower cost property, because there isnt any is just a wild guess im going to make. :D

 

I could apply leftist class theory to all this, but in truth, Labour Governments have made just as many mistakes over housing as the Conservatives. Nobody really has any ideas how to get out the mess we are now in.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 22 October 2018 - 0546 AM.

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#37 Nobu

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 1316 PM

Interesting reading, with the caveat that while the original Bloomberg article notes that affordable housing in Tokyo would be somewhat of an oxymoron before the asset bubble collapse of 30 years ago, it makes little mention of the recessionary Lost Decade that transpired afterward as a driving factor.

 

Affordable housing in London at the expense of 20 years of stagnant economic growth does not sound like a winning proposition in this instance.


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#38 Chris Werb

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 1528 PM

Interesting article Ryan. I had no idea the disposable home culture existed anywhere, but I can see how it came about in Japan.

Someone mentioned that cramming more people into a smaller area would put more strain on infrastructure. You have to remember a lot of that was built when the areas supported vastly higher numbers of people per acre than they do now. Things like cheap robotic electric taxis are going to make a big difference too as no one will need to own a vehicle. A nice thing about tower blocks is you can have lots of green space around them. You can go on to incorporate energy and food production and waste recycling into the structures themselves. I also really like the idea of co-living and co-working spaces. Whether the reality would prove as good as the theory (for me at least) is another matter though.
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#39 rmgill

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 1733 PM

What Toyko can and can't teach about the housing crisis


There are always tall residence buildings continuously go up here so the article holds water I think. Although there is still some people that save their houses and pass them down to offspring with renovation/rebuilt on the same spot in an area of only other houses.

A funny extra that you might know is that large residence buildings that are typically called apartment buildings in the US are called "manshon" as in "mansion" in Japan. So when they say mansion, they don't mean a big glamorous house.

As for the UK, infrastructure would have to be able to handle increased population density if building up. So the UK would have to consider their roads and trains if ever to consider building tall residence buildings. Of course I'm not an expect in houses in either country though. Just some thoughts upon reading.


Island country A has housing in useful supply.
Island country B has massive shortage.

There's probably lessons to be learned.
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#40 rmgill

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 1742 PM

We had a revolution in tower building about 50 years ago. The problem was the local councils had them constructed on the cheap to designs specced for the middle east, which meant they deteriorated in short order. The cost of maintaining a tower in the UK would be more costly than you would get back form rent. Or at least, so the rapid deterioration in lifts, lighting and other services would seem to indicate.


A few years ago I went into an establishment in Birmingham, in an area that that could be best described as a visual hell, rather like having your retinas scoured with brillo. And in this establishment there was on the wall an aerial photograph of that the area of the city as it was before the war. It wasn't Rome or Paris of course, but it was a fine example of Victorian and Edwardian urbanism. Either ignorantly or naively I said to the receptionist while looking at it rather wistfully, "Wasn't it a shame about the war?" And she said, "It wasn't the war, it was the council."

He continues in that vein.


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