Can blockchain technology double the speed of UK property sale?

The delay in completing a UK property sale several months and has been a big problem in the UK property industry. To solve this problem a blockchain-style platform has promises to double the speed of UK property sales, with the startup behind it announcing a new deal for its widespread use.

The deal with other software firms will give around half of UK estate agents access to new technology designed to tackle typical delays in property sales, according to ‘proptech’ firm Coadjute.

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The firms chief executive Dan Salmons said home sales typically take months because of a lack of joined-up thinking and data-sharing among many stakeholders involved.

Confusion over next steps in a sale is common. Salmons said estate agents need “large armies” of workers merely to check for and pass on updates among parties, while buyers and sellers often have to complete similar forms multiple times.

Some experts say the sector is “ripe for disruption,” and UK government officials are among those who believe blockchain and similar technology could help “revolutionise the buy-sell process.”

Salmons acknowledges his firm is far from the first to promise to speed up sales by better connecting buyers, sellers, estate agents, conveyancers, lenders, government officials and others involved in transactions.

But he said previous efforts hit a wall as they sought to persuade all parties to use a single IT system. This can prove difficult to tailor to everyone’s needs, and poses privacy concerns with all data centralised. “People love new stuff, but they’re not good at giving up old stuff,” he added.

Britain’s Land Registry began exploring such technology in 2018, with trials held involving officials and conveyancers around the world who wished to tackle similar challenges.

The work sparked the launch of Coadjute, initially as Instant Property Network, as a participant in the trials. Salmons joined the startup after first getting involved in the experiments as Royal Bank of Scotland’s director of innovation for home buying.

It has since been working on its software and building interest, but Salmons said the pandemic had proved a turning point. The rise of remote working among estate agents, solicitors and others has sparked a “sudden demand for digitisation” in recent months, he said.

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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5G can never cause coronavirus

As a biochemist graduate I can confidently say there is no relationship between coronavirus and 5G.
 
Coronavirus is a biological virus that causes respiratory diseases that can affect the lungs and airways with Symptoms including cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath.
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5G acute radiation can result in radiation Sickness caused by exposure to high dose of ionising radiation with Symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and drop in the blood cell counts.
 
Coronavirus is transmitted via molecular droplets (microbiology) while radiation from 5G is transmitted via radiowave (radiophysics).
 
5G radiowave radiation can never transmit molecular virus and as such can never cause coronavirus.
 

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Use of technology for your building projects

Building projects is now very much linked to the use of computer generated materials. This does not mean to say that your project will suffer if you do not use computers and computer-aided material. However, one of the major problem with producing material by hand is that it takes a long time, and if you need to update or amend something it can become quite tedious. Another problem is that if your writing is not clear it may be misinterpreted.

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Advantages of using technology

  • information can be produced and sent electronically
  • Save time and speed up communication.
  • Ensure orders and specifications are clear and done in good time
  • Can be easily stored, retrieve and resent
  • Can be sent to multiple recipient at the same time
  • Saves resources and cost
  • environmentally friendly

To get the best of technology, it is worth pointing out that with the advancement of technology, digital cameras are now widely available at very reasonable prices. It is worth investing in one even if you do not own or use a computer. Alternatively you can use your mobile phone if it has a good digital camera. You can take and store hundreds of pictures of your project and documents without having them processed or printed. This may be vitally important in the event of any discrepancies and clarifications. If there is a problem or situation that is of urgent concern, the pictures can be sent electronically. This gives the person at the receiving end a visual aid and therefore action may be taken more quickly.

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Property funds remains closed despite M&G raising £70m

M&G has extended the suspension to dealing in its £2.5 billion Property Portfolio fund, which blocked investors from withdrawing their cash last month.

The fund group said it had raised £70 million after completing the sale of the Ravenside Retail Park in Edmonton and exchange contracts on the disposal of an office block in Staines. A further £67 million is in the pipeline from properties ‘either under offer or in solicitors’ hands’, the fund group said.

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‘The immediate priority is to raise cash levels in a controlled manner,’ the fund group said in an update to investors. ‘The fund managers and associated teams are working hard to increase the fund’s cash position.’

The total £138 million of sales would more than double the cash level in the fund, which stood at 4.8% of the fund at the end of November, or around £120 million.

But that would still be well below the heavy holdings of a number of rival property funds, of which some have more than a quarter of their assets in cash.

The Ravenside Retail Park sale will meanwhile chip away at the fund’s large weighting to the under-pressure retail sector, which amounted to 34% of the fund’s assets at the end of November, higher than that of most rivals.

M&G was forced to suspend dealing last month after suffering nearly £1 billion of withdrawals in the space of 12 months. The fund fell 8% over the last year and is kept off the bottom of the Investment Association’s UK Direct Property sector only by the Aberdeen UK Property fund.

Source: Citywire Funds insider

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Meet the new Bank of England governor – Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey has been appointed as the next governor of the Bank of England.

Mr Bailey, aged 60, is currently chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the City watchdog.

He will become the 121st governor of the Bank of England on 16 March, taking over from Mark Carney, and will serve a full eight-year term.

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The search for the new governor began in April and Mr Bailey, who spent more than 30 years at the Bank, was seen as an early favourite for the job.

Who is Andrew Bailey?

Andrew John Bailey (born 30 March 1959) is a British central banker, who was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England from April 2013 to July 2016.
He had previously served as the bank’s chief cashier from January 2004 until April 2011. He is currently the chief executive officer of the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bailey attended Wyggeston Boys’ Grammar School, Leicester from where he went to Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he gained a BA in History and a PhD.

After university, Bailey became a research officer at the London School of Economics, before joining the Bank of England in 1985.

He has worked at the bank in a number of areas, most recently as executive director for banking services and as chief cashier, as well as head of the bank’s Special Resolution Unit (SRU). Previous roles include Governor’s private secretary, and head of the International Economic Analysis Division in Monetary Analysis.

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Since the onset of the financial crisis in August 2007 and until April 2011, Bailey was responsible for the bank’s special operations to resolve problems in the banking sector, and in 2009 was chairman and chief executive of Dunfermline Building Society Bridge Bank Ltd.

On 1 April 2013 Bailey became the chief executive of the new Prudential Regulation Authority and the first deputy governor of the Bank of England for Prudential Regulation.

On 26 January 2016, it was announced that Andrew Bailey will take over as CEO of the UK Financial Conduct Authority. He replaced Tracey McDermott, who became acting CEO after Martin Wheatley resigned following a vote of no confidence by George Osborne in July 2015.

On 3 June 2019, it was reported in The Times that Bailey was the favourite to replace Mark Carney as the new Governor of the Bank of England.

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Bank of England launches climate change stress test

The Bank of England has launched one of the most ambitious attempts to date to quantify the risk that climate change poses to the financial system.

Banks and insurers will face climate stress tests in a similar way to the financial stress tests they already do.

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It is a project that could ultimately result in banks and insurers having to hold more capital to do certain kinds of business.

And that could have profound effects on the way the economy is funded.

Bank officials told journalists that the value of every asset on the face of the planet will be affected by climate change. Where values change, there is financial risk and the bank wants to measure it – and then manage it.

Large banks and insurance groups will be asked to go through their balance sheets almost asset by asset to assess the risks posed by a range of climate scenarios.

The Bank of England recognises there are two types of financial risk posed by climate change. There are physical risks arising from weather related events – floods, droughts, fire, etc.

And then there are what it describes as transition risks. Things that happen as a result of adjusting to a low carbon economy – meat becoming more expensive, costs incurred in the mandatory insulation of homes.

Source: BBC News

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Super-insulated home: Heating by cat power?

Not a lot of people know this, but the average domestic cat gives off nearly 20W of heat. Why is this relevant? Because if your home was super-insulated so that it only lost 1kwh of heat a day, then the body heat of a couple of domestic cats could be sufficient to keep the living space warm – at least until the temperature outside was 16° colder than inside.

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The total heat lost of a building depends on two main factors – its average heat lost (ie how insulated it is) and the temperature difference between inside and outside. Together these two factors tell you how much heat you need to generate to keep the interior cosy. So in this example your living space set to be a comfortable 20°C, only once the outdoor temperatures fell below 4° would you need to invite additional household pets into the home to boost the heating.

If the building is well insulated enough, the internal gains will be more than the total losses through the building. In other words the number of watts of heat required would be less than the heat given off by occupants and from everyday activities, such as waste heat from appliances, cooking, hot water use, plus any solar gains received through windows.

 

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EU to spend over £12bn on satellites to track CO2 emissions across the globe.

Europe will press ahead with a network of satellites to track carbon dioxide emissions across the globe.

They will be developed out of a new European Space Agency (Esa) budget agreed in Seville, Spain.

Artwork: Space Rider

Research ministers on Thursday approved a package of proposals worth some €14.4bn (£12.3bn/$15.9bn) over the next five years.

As well as the new CO2 monitoring system, the funds will also pave the way for missions to the Moon and Mars.

It should be stated that Copernicus is a joint venture between Esa and the EU, with the latter covering 70% of the overall costs. Brussels’ contribution to the expansion programme has yet to be determined.

“There is today about €6bn (£5.1bn) foreseen as part of the [EU] budget for space. And we look forward to completing the constellation with the recurring [satellites] which are to be paid for by the EU along with, of course, their operation,” explained Esa EO director, Josef Aschbacher.

Across the entire Space19+ budget request, the top contributing countries were:

  • Germany – €3.3bn (£2.8bn), which is a 23% share of the total budget
  • France – €2.7bn (£2.3bn), which is an 18.5% share
  • Italy – €2.3bn (£1.8bn), which is 16%
  • UK – €1.6bn (£1.4bn), which is 11.5%

The UK’s subscription after this meeting will rise from €355m (£304m) per year to €440m (£377m) per year.

Source: BBC News

 

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Manchester container business centre for start ups

It might not sound like a likely or desirable space from which to run your business, but the rows of old shipping containers at Pollard Yard have become a hub for some of Greater Manchester’s most creative and promising start-ups.

The business centre offers Wi-Fi, affordable rates, flexibility… and walls made of rusty corrugated iron giving it its unique feature.

The New Islington hub, run by property management firm Meanwhile Creative, boasts nail bars and film studios, co-working spaces and fashion design houses.

A short walk from the Holt Town tram stop, it might feel a little out of the way.

But it’s got some big neighbours – Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo Man have got warehouses and offices on either side, Hope Mill Theatre is just down the road, and the drumbeats coming from Brunswick Mill Rehearsal Studios are just audible – and it’s doing a roaring trade.

There are 75 containers here now, with more phases on the way in the coming months – and they’re all let.

Stepping through the entrance to Pollard Yard, you’re greeted by a huge bee-covered mural by artist Ben Downs .

Tenants are given only the very bare bones of a container, though insulated and with electricity wired in, which they can decorate how they wish.

We see neon signs and flower walls, hanging plants and giant noticeboards as we work our way around the yard.

There are loose plans to add an outside seating area to help nourish the community that’s formed here in this unlikely location, with hopes to open a cafe.

Prices at Pollard Yard are low, too – to get your own 160-square-foot office, it’ll cost you £225 per month.

For 320 square feet, it’s £425 per month.

Source: Manchester Evening News

 

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US tech giants pledge billions of dollars in housing development

As the tech industry has boomed, home prices and asking rents in such areas for example the Bay Area have roughly doubled over the past decade, becoming by many counts the highest in the US.

Last month, the San Francisco Association of Realtors said the median home price in San Francisco had hit $1.4m. The average asking rent exceeded $3,200 per month, according to research firm Moody’s Analytics-Reis.

RVs line Bay Road in East Palo Alto, California

Wages in the area have increased as well, but not as fast as housing costs.

A family needs to earn $126,800 a year to rent a typical two-bedroom property in San Francisco without spending more than 30% of their income – the share typically considered affordable. In 2017, about 40% of Bay Area renters spent more.

The high costs are forcing companies to pay more and work harder to find staff, one reason the tech firms have taken an interest.

For the most part, their pledges aren’t philanthropy.

Apple is lending the state up to $1bn to help finance affordable housing projects and providing $1bn to California’s first-time homebuyer fund.

Painted Ladies in Alamo Square, Victorian-style houses in the residential area of San Francisco with downtown in the background,

Google and Facebook also plan to invest hundreds of millions in new housing. Land owned by the tech companies that will be made available for housing construction accounts for another major part of the commitments – a full $750m worth in Google’s case.

Such large promises are “unprecedented”, but a lack of detail makes them hard to evaluate, says Carol Galante, director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley.

“It’s in their self-interest but it’s also obviously in the community’s interest.”

Multinational businesses all over the world should borrow a leaf from this and invest in housing to solve the global housing crisis.

Source: BBC News

 

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