Yesterday’s mystery print was of a brass steam dome reflecting the rest of its engine.
This morning I watched part of my least favourite television programme. There I was, minding my own business upstairs while Jackie was watching one of her choices, ‘Homes Under The Hammer’, when she called me to come and watch it. Some of my American and continental correspondents have commented about how crazy are the real estate prices in UK. One of the reasons for their escalation is the ‘Buy to Let’ practice which enables people to buy homes specifically for the purpose of renting them out. After the exposure of Peter Rachman’s exploitation of tenants in the 1950s and ’60s, various rent acts have protected tenants, and for a time it was not possible to obtain a mortgage on a property bought for the purpose of letting it. Since the late 1990s, however, the practice has burgeoned.
‘Homes Under The Hammer’, follows the progress of largely neglected dwellings through the auction houses to their refurbishment or demolition and redevelopment of the site. The programme focusses solely on profit, bringing in local estate agents to weigh up the benefits for developers of resale as against rental. Some people, of course, make the improvements to turn dilapidated houses into family homes for themselves. That is a different matter.
‘You’ll never guess what’s in ‘Homes Under The Hammer’, Jackie cried. She was right. I didn’t. But as soon as she told me, I was down the stairs like a shot, pausing only to grab my camera from my desk.
In several posts, including ‘Derelict’, during our time in Morden, I wrote about an uninhabited dwelling. This boarded up house suffered more and more graffiti and vandalism whilst we lived in Links Avenue. Today it featured in the programme, which, following the normal formula, began with the presenter investigating the property on offer.
Viewers are the taken to the auction rooms to watch the sale, hyping up the escalating bids and pointing out by how much the guide price has been exceeded. The packed Savills venue demonstrates both the popularity of this method of sale, and the multi-cultural nature of this part of London.
At the end of the proceedings the camera focusses on the successful bidders who are then congratulated by the presenter who discusses their plans with them on site.
The original intention had been to demolish the wreck and replace it by four new attached buildings. After two unsuccessful applications to the Council’s Planning Department, the buyers settled for one larger, more luxurious, dwelling. Letting this out was not in their minds, as they intended to sell what they built.
Allowing a reasonable amount of time to elapse, the film crew return to see what has been achieved. In this case, after two unsuccessful applications to the Council’s Planning Department, who had paid attention to neighbours’ objections, the developers had settled for one larger, more luxurious, dwelling.
Although not yet finished, it was now possible for the filming to take place inside.
This new build has been estimated by local estate agents on completion of the work to be valued at £800,000 – £850,000. I imagine, looking at what’s on offer, my readers from abroad may be rather shocked.
This evening Jackie produced a dinner of succulent Muscovy duck breasts roasted in redcurrant jelly, crisp roast potatoes, and crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with a tasty gravy. I began the excellent 2010 claret from Fortnum and Mason given to us in a hamper by Luci and Wolf for Christmas 2013.