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Bethold Lubetkin’s Six Pillars, generally regarded as one of the finest examples of modernist architecture in the UK, is currently for sale.

It was designed in 1932 and built in 1934 for the Rev Jack Leakey and his wife whilst Leakey was headmaster of the nearby Dulwich College Preparatory School.

Soon afterwards Lubetkin, a Russian émigré fired with a revolutionary belief in the liberating power of modernist design, built the first modernist high-rise block in the UK – Highpoint in Highgate – as well as the much loved penguin house in the London Zoo.

In their book Lubetkin & Tecton: An Architectural Study, Malcolm Reading and Peter Coe write of the house:

Perched on six pilotis the main façade is cool and urbane, with references to Le  Corbusier’s Garches and Planeix villas.

The familiar Tecton ingredients of expressed structural frame, snug planning and informal living spaces appear. [The house is] much loved and well cared for.

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This week we’re off to Llandudno, where this curiosity is currently for sale.

Tollgate House on Marine Drive, West Shore is one of a pair built in the mid 1800s to complement the construction of  the limestone fortress-like lighthouse on the cliffs above.

The views … well, the pictures tell their own story.  We’ve asked the agent for interior shots and they tell us they just haven’t got round to it yet but will do soon. Should be interesting!

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Via: Wowhouse

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OK shedheads, it’s that time of the year again: Uncle Wilco over at Readers’Sheds has sifted through 1570 entries to produce a shortlist for this year’s top prize (£1000 cash & woodcare products from the Cuprinol Wood Preservation Society).

Rock n roll diner shed


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We’re lapsed Papists here at the Planet but even so it still makes us a little sad to hear that the lovely convent in Woodchester owned by the Poor Clare order is up for sale (£2m) (more…)

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Research by Investec Specialist Private Bank reveals that ‘W1J 5’, which is in the City of Westminster, is the most expensive postcode in London.

Last year, the average residential property sold here cost £3.98 million, and three terraced properties were bought for an average of £6.7 million each.

The next most expensive places to live in London are SW1W 9 (Westminster) and SW3 6 (Kensington), where last year average properties sold for £2.78 million and £2.39 million respectively.


The London prime property market continues to perform strongly.

Detached: In 2009, there were nine postcodes that had average detached price of over £2 million, but this increased to 20 a year later. Similarly, there were eight London postcodes with average semi-detached price of over £3 million compared to only one last year.

Semis: For the semi-detached London property market, SW10 9 (Kensington) saw three sales last year where the average price was £6.64 million per home.

Terraces: Three terraced properties in W1J 5 (Westminster) were sold last year with an average price of £6.775 million each. Some 12 terraced property were sold in W8 5 (Kensington) in 2010 with an average price of £4.38 million per property, and 19 were sold in SW3 6 (Kensington) for around £4.28 million each. 25 were sold in W11 2 (Kensington) for just over £4 million each.

 Flats: In the London flat and maisonette market, SW1 W9 (Westminster), NW8 8 (Paddington) and NW1 4 (Camden Town) had 90 sales in 2010 between them, with an average price of over £2 million each.

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You can, as we all well know, be a little bit pregnant, and so it’s surely right that a property can also be described as ‘mostly detached’, as it is in this ad for a 2-bed semi in Eastbourne.


Mostly detached

Via: Housepricecrash 


When property details go wrong .. family home with Scarface bath tub

When property details go wrong … is that a rat on the coffee table?!

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A very interesting report from Hometrack suggests that the current rally in the housing market (though it’s very much limited to London and the South East) is a temporary blip, and will reverse later in the year as prices fall again.

Nationwide, however, seem to disagree and argue that “there is still little evidence to suggest that price declines will accelerate in the months ahead.”

Who’s right? Here’s the way they see it.

Hometrack’s case

The monthly figures tell a deceptively positive story: prices stable; demand up 22% since December; sales up 46% in the first quarter. If you’re a housing market Bull, it all looks like gradual recovery.

But drill down a little further and the story is less upbeat. The supply/demand dynamic which has driven this recent improvement will, Hometrack argue, reverse in the second half of the year.

Why? Because demand will wither as cutbacks bite and incomes are squeezed. Supply will rise, and the banks are still too busy rebuilding their balance sheets to boost demand with easier credit conditions.

Here’s a fascinating graph breaking down  supply/ demand into three phases since 2007:

Supply and demand

Hometrack’s Richard Donnell comments on this:

Phase one extended across the first 2 years of the downturn (2007 and 2008). As the credit crunch took effect, demand fell significantly and we saw prices fall exacerbated by rising supply. The second phase started in spring 2009 when demand for housing grew rapidly off a low base following 2 years of inactivity.

Prices firmed rapidly against the backdrop of a lack of supply offsetting some of the losses of the previous 2 years. As prices and market sentiment improved over 2009 and into 2010 so supply increased, setting the context for phase 3.

This phase was marked by a less dramatic decline in demand than in the first phase of the downturn. The weakness in demand followed the General Election and was driven by fears over the economic outlook, tax rises and cuts in public spending. Together the rise in supply and weaker demand pushed prices lower over 2010.

Most recently a return of pent-up demand and reduced levels of supply have resulted in firmer pricing over the first few months of 2011. However the likelihood is that supply will continue to grow over the coming months while the outlook for demand remains less than certain.

Nationwide’s case

Ok, that’s a fairly compelling account, but Nationwide, who have published their monthly house price survey today, disagree with this analysis.

Together with continued low interest rates, a gradual improvement in the labour market should help to provide support for housing demand, while limiting the number of forced sales …

There is still little evidence to suggest that price declines will accelerate in the months ahead.

In our view, the most likely outcome is that house prices will continue to move sideways or drift modestly lower through 2011.

Who’s right?

To a large extent the divergence is based on two factors: Nationwide are more upbeat about the economy, which will sustain demand, while Hometrack think rising supply will hit prices.

Hometrack’s view is based on a more negative view of the economy as a whole, and is, I suspect, more accurate than Nationwide’s.

But what of their argument on supply? Where will this increased supply come from?

Building? Unlikely. Repossessions? The levels, while predicted to rise, are not massive. A buy-to-let sell-off? That sector is looking very strong at present.

Hmmm. I’ve sent this question to Richard Donnell at Hometrack and will add it when it comes to me.

In the meantime,  who do I think has it right?  Well, Nationwide have just launched a new 95% LTV mortgage aimed at first-time buyers.

That could be revealing confidence in the market; then again, it may just  be a PR response to all the negative publicity they got because they recently declared that they prefer lending to investors at 75%  than to first-timers at 95%,

Put it this way: in the current climate,  I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to take on that loan.

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