Summary of “London’s Long Housing Boom Is Over. Is a Bust Coming?”

Lance Paul put his home in West London on the market last May with a 1.5 million-pound price tag.
Similar deliberations are playing out across London as sellers weigh whether to take what they can get in a falling market or sit tight in the hope the slump will be short-lived.
“The party is over for the London housing market and the hangover is just beginning,” said Neal Hudson, founder of research firm Residential Analysts.
Since 1973, the year Britain joined the European Union, the average London home price climbed from just under 13,000 pounds to about 474,000 pounds-a 36-fold increase, according to Nationwide, the U.K.’s largest building society.
Time to Sell London homes are taking longer to find buyers.
International buyers made more than half of home purchases in prime central London and almost a third in greater London in the second half of 2017, according to broker Hamptons International.
Global City Proportion of London homes bought by international buyers.
The pound’s slump after Britons voted to leave in June 2016 cushioned the blow by making London homes more affordable to buyers from abroad. The prospect of a weaker currency remains an insurance policy against a disorderly Brexit, said Savvas Savouri, the chief economist at Toscafund Asset Management LP. He’s optimistic about the housing market and supports leaving the EU. He does see one big political risk beyond Brexit, however: the potential ascension of Labour party leader and self-proclaimed socialist Jeremy Corbyn to the premiership.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Does the American Dream require a big American home?”

One of the most deeply-embedded pieces of the “American Dream” is the desire for a large, spacious home with lots of sitting rooms, corners, nooks, and crannies.
A research team affiliated with the University of California studied American families and where they hung out the most inside their homes, how clutter builds, and the general stress level associated with living big.
Families hardly used their yards, devoted money to renovating little-used areas of the home instead of fixing obvious problems, and relied on heating up frozen meals instead of using large and luxurious kitchens to cook.
It’s all too common to feel like our big homes represent our success or status in life.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median single-family home built in 2016 was over 2400 square feet.
In general, the larger the home the bigger the risk.
If owners of big homes lose their jobs, their homes don’t suddenly get cheaper.
Here’s the truth: The American Dream shouldn’t compel you to buy a home that you cannot afford or maintain.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The cluttered lives of middle-class Americans ~ Get Rich Slowly”

Long-time readers are familiar with my decade-long war on Stuff.
While I still bring new Stuff into the house – Kim would tell you I bring too much Stuff home – I’m not nearly so acquisitive as I used to be.
Graesch continues: “We have lots of Stuff. We have many mechanisms by which we accumulate possessions in our home, but we have few rituals or mechanisms or processes for unloading these objects, for getting rid of them.” All of this stuff causes stress.
The push to become consumers, to value Stuff, starts at an early age.
There’s more Stuff available for kids than there was fifty years ago, and that Stuff costs less.
We’re guilty of stockpiling some stuff too.
Says Arnold, “There seems to be a kind of a correlation between how much Stuff is on the refrigerator panel door and how much stuff is in the broader home.”
Do you struggle with clutter? Is your home packed to the gills with Stuff? What steps have you taken to get rid of some of this crap? Or have you?

The orginal article.

Summary of “From top sprinter to homeless in London”

I first met Jimmy Thoronka in a London park in March 2015.
West Africa was then in the grips of the deadly Ebola crisis and, fearing for his life, Jimmy had overstayed his visa, travelling south from Glasgow to London.
I called the president of Sierra Leone’s athletics association, Abdul Karim Sesay, who told me Jimmy was a very gifted athlete “And an all-round nice guy. Everybody likes him. He’s not just a sprinter – he’s Sierra Leone’s number one 100m sprinter. He has the potential to be one of the best in the world.”
We knew there was a risk that the publicity would bring him to the Home Office’s attention, but Jimmy had accepted that, saying, “What other options do I have?”.
Oliver Oldman, a solicitor at the London firm Bindmans, agreed to represent him, and advised Jimmy to apply for leave to remain rather than asylum.
This seemed more likely to succeed, though it meant Jimmy had to move out of his Home Office accommodation and was homeless once more.
The University of East London made inquiries with the Home Office: could Jimmy begin his studies? The answer was a curt no, not until his immigration status was regularised – a punitive decision that left Jimmy deflated.
Jimmy is still hoping to embark on a degree – in computer studies – at the University of East London in September.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How a champion boxer got caught in Britain’s immigration dragnet”

Fawaz was born in Nigeria, and trafficked to Britain as a child – where he was rescued by the state and raised in care.
Nigeria won’t accept Fawaz as a citizen, and according to Fawaz, neither will his parents’ countries of birth.
Ali is Fawaz’s manager, and has been his benefactor since he spotted the boxer in 2012 – impressed not just by his skill, but the level of preparation he put into the fight.
When Fawaz tells his story, he does it in soundbites and neat, well-worn anecdotes – the behaviour of a sportsman with one eye on fame, perhaps, but it is also what immigration control demands of its subjects.
Fawaz received a national diploma in sports science and was offered a place at university, although he couldn’t take it up because of his uncertain immigration status: without leave to remain, he was not eligible for a student loan.
On 29 November, as Fawaz was on his way into the gym, the building was surrounded by police and he was arrested by immigration enforcement officers.
On 2 January, an immigration tribunal appeals judge released Fawaz on bail, back to his old life of weekly sign-ins.
Fawaz’s self-confidence is evident, but there is also a certain naivety that came from his upbringing: he told me that he had barely left the west London suburbs until his early 20s. Since being released from detention, with the prospect of being recalled at any moment, Fawaz now has three possible routes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Open-Plan Homes Might Not Be Great For Entertaining”

What is wrong with having just one kitchen? Well, people cook in kitchens, and when they cook in kitchens, they make messes, and then, to make matters worse, if their kitchen is in full view from the rest of the house-as many today are-their mess is out in the open visible as they eat their meals, hang out with their families, entertain their guests, and go about their lives.
The reduced size and more affordable prices of interwar and post-war homes helped justify the fusion of cooking, dining, and living spaces, but the openness of kitchens was further rationalized by an idealized notion of efficiency, thanks to the ability to move seamlessly among different household tasks.
Inside remodeled vernacular homes and ranches, and built into the designs of new subdivisions and urban infill, the open-plan strives for the largest void possible, with the kitchen and living space coming along for the ride.
The formal living room has been abandoned, relegated to the informal great room in the rear, which flows together with a large kitchen and eat-in space.
An open kitchen island faces a large, vaulted great room with second-floor gallery and flanks an open-plan dining area.
High-end estate homes have boasted secondary or hidden catering kitchens for years.
The messy kitchen suggests that design’s pendulum might yet swing back toward defined, divided spaces.
Even if the messy kitchen’s usage proves more equitable along gender lines thanks to intervening cultural changes, the design seems to require a negotiation of the loneliness of prep and cleanup that, despite its downsides, an open design might have helped avoid.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is it better to rent or buy a home? ~ Get Rich Slowly”

The older I get, the more I appreciate there’s no correct answer in the perennial “Is it better to rent or buy?” debate.
Today, let’s look at a handful of ways to evaluate the rent versus buy decision from a financial perspective.
One way to tell whether it’s better to rent or buy is by calculating the price-to-rent ratio.
Writing in The New York Times, David Leonhardt says, “A rent ratio above 20 means that the monthly costs of ownership well exceed the cost of renting.” That’s a little opaque, I know.
Leonhardt is saying that the higher the P/R ratio, the more it makes sense to rent – and the less it makes sense to buy.
When price-to-rent ratios are under 12, it’s generally better to buy than to rent.
The New York Times has a great rent vs. buy calculator that can help you decide which is best for you.
Deciding whether to rent or to buy is a complicated financial and emotional decision.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Millennials and the new magnetism of mid-size cities”

At the same time, it struck Bhatia that “Louisville got cool.” The city’s restaurant and bar scene, propelled in part by the surrounding region’s bourbon boom, has blossomed-“I think it’s on par with Chicago, which I realize is a controversial thing to say,” Bhatia says-and the city has a new pro sports team, the Louisville City FC soccer club, which plans to build a new stadium in the Butchertown neighborhood, part of a 40-acre, $200 million development.
In 2017, Bhatia decided to move home, joining a growing number of younger Americans returning to the small- and medium-sized cities they left after college.
Conversations with Bhatia and others, as well as some demographic data, suggests those moving home are part of a boom in the country’s second-tier cities.
The new magnetism of mid-size cities After a decade of investment in parks and greenspace, homegrown tech hubs, and downtown redevelopment, many small and mid-size metros are seeing more signs of life and increased migration, according to a recent Brookings Institution analysis of U.S. Census data.
“Taking the risk of reimagining their city” Moving to smaller cities offers a hands-on opportunity to take part in the renewal and regrowth of smaller downtowns and Main Streets, a new sense of dynamism The Atlantic’s James Fallows has called a “Reinventing of America.”
The ability to afford a home has helped many who moved from superstar metros to so-called second-tier cities connect with their new communities.
Finding a new home, and home base, for remote work The changing nature of work, especially toward service and consulting and tech, and the growth of startups in second-tier cities, has altered the equation for younger workers.
Max Wastler, a 37-year-old travel writer and brand strategist who has previously worked for companies such as Conde Nast Traveler and Basil Hayden, recently returned to his hometown of St. Louis after working in New York City, LA, and Chicago.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google is bleeding cash trying to take on Amazon in the smart home”

Google parent company Alphabet reported first quarter earnings for 2018 today, beating Wall Street estimates on sales and profit thanks in large part to its mammoth search advertising machine that continues to grow year after year.
Because Nest was rolled back into Google proper earlier this year, Alphabet recast its quarterly earnings figures for 2017 to account for the fact that Nest revenues and losses would be moved from the “Other Bets” section of Alphabet’s business to the standard Google revenue line item.
As pointed out by Variety’s Janko Roettgers, it’s likely Google is similarly spending hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, on its other hardware efforts like Google Home and Pixel phones, earbuds, and laptops.
With phones, Google is taking on Apple and the iPhone.
Perhaps most importantly, with Google Home and Nest, the company is taking on Amazon, the clear market leader in the smart home thanks to its Echo line and the pervasiveness of its Alexa digital assistant.
Nobody expects the Pixel line of phones to ever outsell the iPhone, least of all Google leadership.
That’s precisely why Nest was folded back into Google, so that its smart home devices could make better use of the AI features being built exclusively for Google hardware and software products like the Pixel 2 and Google Assistant.
So the core business is still doing astonishingly well, giving Google enough capital to make these kinds of long-term hardware investments that bank on an increasingly symbiotic relationship between the smart home and AI. But as we can see from these new numbers – a rare insight into one of Google’s more ancillary businesses – it’s clear the battle against a company as big and formidable as Amazon costs quite a lot.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Nobody Tells You How Long a Marriage Is”

I carried mine with me, grieving for something I wanted but could not have.
There would be a part of you that would want to stay with me, and a part of me that would want to stay with you, and we would leave the encounter devastated.
We could live in Amsterdam and run a little shop out of the ground floor of our home.
Always, we would fly back to Florida, back to our lives, and I would feel that sadness touching down.
So you slept beside me each night in the hospital, and went home each morning to shower and walk the dog.
You worked all day, went back home to the dog, and then to Whole Foods so I wouldn’t have to eat hospital food, and then came back to the hospital, and slept beside me once more.
“Wait,” you said, and shifted your pack onto your chest, and took my pack and lifted it onto your back.
When you fall in love, when you have fun with somebody, when you enjoy the way they see the world, nobody ever says, “This person will change. And so you will be married to two, three, four, five or 10 people throughout the course of your life, as you live out your vows.” Nobody warns you.

The orginal article.