Its stimulated appetite to get into the market and thats not only the lower-end first-time buyers — its right through into the prime sector. In July, homebuyers took out 3,900 loans of 500,000 pounds or more, the most since September 2007, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Theres also more willingness to lend at higher loan-to-value ratios, according to Henry Knight, managing director at mortgage broker Springtide Capital Ltd. Two years ago, Barclays Plcs Woolwich unit, Nationwide Building Society and Lloyds Banking Group Plcs Halifax stopped agreeing mortgages for more than about 1 million pounds, but now theyve moved up to 2 million pounds and some have gone to 3 million, Knight said by phone. There are just more lenders playing in that market now. Virginia Water Knight Franks prime country-house index, based on data from the firms U.K. branches, shows that prices rose 0.8 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months. Gains were led by Virginia Water, Berkhamsted and Cobham, just outside London. Prices climbed 0.4 percent on an annual basis. The measure includes manor houses, defined by Knight Frank as a large property standing in extensive grounds; farmhouses, which typically have six bedrooms and several acres of land including garden, paddock and barns; and cottages, which normally have four bedrooms and about an acre of land. While demand for properties within commuting distance of London was strongest, prime country homes in every region of England climbed for the first time in two-and-a-half years during the quarter, according to a reported published by Savills Plc last week. Last Chance This is your last chance to buy before stock goes down and prices really start to rise, Yolande Barnes , director of residential research at the London-based broker, said by phone. Current offerings of theirs include Park Place , an eight-bedroom period house on the edge of Windsor Great Park with cottages and stables on about 15 acres (6 hectares). The property, about an hours walk from Queen Elizabeth II s Windsor Castle and close to English private school Eton College, is priced at 20 million pounds.
London’s Low Taxes Lure Foreign Companies as Banks Retrench
I just didn’t realize the impact it was going to have on me and to see so many of our past contributors, to see fans make videos and write in to tell us what they learned, and how many people said, ‘Thank you.’ I was so humbled and so overwhelmed by the impact. It was really emotional for me. It was much harder than I thought it was going to be and then I realized, ‘It’s been 10 years.’ And that feels like a lifetime.” For the uninitiated, TLC’s “What Not to Wear” features contributors nominated by family members, friends and/or co-workers who are fed up with her style — or lack thereof. London and co-host Clinton Kelly then help her weed through her wardrobe and spend $5,000 of TLC’s money on new clothes to make her look her best and build her confidence, so she can move on to the next phase of her life. Also aiding in the transformations are hairstylist Ted Gibson and makeup artist Carmindy. Although episodes start off with a comic kick and there is no shortage of good-natured teasing on the set, the shows are incredibly moving as the contributors finally face the various issues that led them to stop caring about what they look like. “Generally, I think the people who really don’t understand the benefits of fashion are looking at it as an industry that is built on insecurity and if you feel like you don’t belong in that world, chances are you’re more likely to poo-poo it,” London told UPI. “If you don’t look at it as just fashion or that the only way to be fashionable is to own a $40,000 Birkin bag, but if you look at style as something that is personal and individual and belongs solely to the person who is creating their style, then you’re not playing that comparison game. “I don’t look like a 12-year-old Estonian model on the cover of Vogue. I look like me. I have scars and I have psoriasis and this is what I’m going to do to make the best version of me. It’s a very different proposition than thinking everything I am is wrong because I’m not a 12-year-old Estonian model on the cover of Vogue. …
still faces stiff competition in its bid to attract investment. American companies including Perrigo Co. and Actavis Plc are planning to re-incorporate in Ireland after completing mergers with Irish companies. Irelands corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent is among the worlds lowest. Netherlands Neutrality The Netherlands will be the home of the new company created by the proposed merger of advertising giants Omnicom Group Inc., based in New York, and French rival Publicis Groupe SA. The Dutch corporate tax rate is about 25 percent. Publicis Chief Executive Officer Maurice Levy has said the move to the Netherlands was motivated by the countrys neutrality, not its taxes. The renewed interest in London from companies in a broad range of industries comes as the financial sector retrenches. The number of people employed in Londons financial services firms is likely to decline to 236,000 next year, the lowest level since 1993, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The financial sector, which is overwhelmingly concentrated in the capital, accounted for 11.6 percent of total tax receipts last year, down from 13.9 percent in 2007, according to the City of London . Standard Chartered Some hedge funds and asset managers have quit London for Switzerland, blaming tighter financial regulations.
London’s coolest gravestones
HIDE CAPTION The best tombs in London belong to the famous and lesser known alike Explorer Richard Burton rests in extravagant digs One coffin hangs permanently in the air Author Douglas Adams wastes few words on his headstone (CNN) — “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” memorably proclaimed Samuel Johnson. Whereupon that man — presumably — is buried in London. Lucky him (or her). The city has some of the best, most atmospheric, cemeteries in the world. Luminaries from Karl Marx (Highgate Cemetery) to the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst (Brompton Cemetery) to Johnson himself (Westminster Abbey, which is really not your everyday resting place) are buried here. Being famous, though, doesn’t guarantee an interesting gravestone. Some of the best tombs belong to the largely forgotten, people who nonetheless seemed to have had big plans for the hereafter. Tom Sayers: The big sleep Highgate is the most famous of London’s great Victorian cemeteries, bursting with big names and bombastic memorials. Yet in choosing her favorite gravestone, Catharine Arnold, author of “Necropolis — London and its Dead,” picks someone removed from the worlds of literature and the arts, with which Highgate is normally associated. Tom Sayers’ tomb, guarded by his “immortal dog … faithful to the last [is] a great example of Victorian animal memorial art,” she says. Sayers was a bare-knuckle boxer, whose final fight is considered to have been in effect the first boxing world championship.
Stacy London reflects on 10 years of ‘What Not to Wear’
STORY HIGHLIGHTS Keepers “heartbroken” as tiger cub found dead in enclosure at London Zoo Newborn animal believed to have drowned in pond after mother carried it outside Three-week-old cub was first Sumatran tiger to be born at zoo in 17 years London (CNN) — Keepers at London Zoo are “distraught” after a newborn tiger cub — the first Sumatran tiger born there for 17 years — drowned in a pool at its enclosure. The animal was born to five-year-old first-time-mom Melati just three weeks ago, and its arrival was greeted with huge excitement and celebration at the zoo, where experts were “over-the-moon” about the birth. But on Saturday, keepers raised the alarm when they could no longer see the young tiger on cameras inside its den; a search of the enclosure revealed the animal’s body. It is thought Melati carried the cub out into the paddock area of the zoo’s “Tiger Territory,” where it fell into the pond and drowned. Meet the newest resident at London Zoo Animals weighing in at London Zoo Wanted: Female for last surviving fish “We’re heartbroken by what’s happened,” said London Zoo’s Malcolm Fitzpatrick. Melati is said to be a very nervous tiger who prefers routine, and experts at the zoo had opted to allow her full access to the whole enclosure fearing that any changes to her environment might cause her to injure or abandon her cub. “At the time we thought it was in the best interests of Melati and her cub to allow her continued access to the full enclosure as normal,” Fitzpatrick said. “We didn’t want to put her on edge by changing her surroundings or routines, in case she abandoned or attacked the cub.” London Zoo is to carry out a full review of the circumstances which led to the cub’s death. “We would do anything to turn back the clock, and nobody could be more upset about what’s happened than the keepers who work with the tigers every day,” said Fitzpatrick. They are devoted to those tigers and are distraught.” The zoo had kept Melati’s pregnancy a secret for about 105 days before her cub was born on September 22. Hidden cameras were installed in her enclosure to keep watch over her throughout, and the speedy birth, which lasted just six minutes, was also caught on video.