One in six people are estimated to be over the age of 65 by 2050. As the world’s aging population battles boredom and loneliness, some retirees are finding second careers to keep occupied. CNBC’s Uptin Saiidi met one couple in South Korea going back to work as Airbnb hosts.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 11th Sept 2019) London, Uk – –
Company improves offer to rival after its first approach was rejected in May
Bovis Homes has revived talks to buy Galliford Try’s housing businesses after improving its potential bid to almost £1.1bn and adding cash to the proposed deal.
The companies have agreed basic terms of a transaction that would more than double Bovis’s housebuilding and enlarge its affordable homes operation. Bovis, the smallest of Britain’s major housebuilders, would be building 10,000 homes a year, from a projected 4,000 this year, and would gain sites in new areas such as Yorkshire and Bristol. It plans to keep the Bovis and Galliford’s Linden Homes brands.
Bovis expects to pay Galliford £675m in shares based on its closing share price on Monday plus £300m in cash. It would also take on £100m of Galliford’s debt and its pension scheme, which has a small surplus. The two companies hope to seal a deal and get it approved by shareholders before Christmas.
The deal would leave Galliford as a construction and infrastructure business concentrating on bigger projects such as the Aberdeen bypass.
Galliford rejected an all-share approach from Bovis in May that valued the businesses at £1.05bn including debt. The revised proposal is £25m higher puts the value at £1.075and offers Galliford shareholders a large chunk of cash.
Bovis said it planned to raise the cash by selling shares worth 9.99% of its existing share capital as well as using existing funds and raising more debt. Bovis rejected a bid from Galliford in 2017 and hired its rival’s former boss Greg Fitzgerald as its chief executive after a damaging scandal over poorly built homes. The turnaround was declared complete when Bovis reported record profits in February.
Bovis would also gain an established affordable homes business with an order book of more than £1bn to expand its own division, which it launched this year and works in partnership with housing associations. It is a more stable business, while private housebuilding is reliant on the ups and downs of the economic cycle, and is more vulnerable to a no-deal Brexit.
The government announced a £3bn programme in March to fund the building of 30,000 affordable homes by providing Treasury backing to housing associations.
Analysts at Jefferies said: “We see the rationale for the deal as the opportunity to buy inexpensive assets well known by the current CEO, bringing Bovis larger market share, speeding up the development of Bovis’s partnership business as well as the potential for cost savings. However, we believe the market will question the timing of such a large deal at this stage in the cycle given all the political and economic uncertainties.”
Bovis shares dropped 4% to £10.16 by lunchtime, while Galliford Try shares initially jumped 20% to 737.5p and later traded 9% higher.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.businessinsider.com – – Thur, 5th Sept 2018) London, Uk – –
Biggest UK housebuilder benefits from help to buy but warns of slow growth this year
Britain’s biggest housebuilder has shrugged off the tough housing market to report record annual profits of £910m, although it warned sales growth this year would be slower than expected.
Barratt reported an 8.9% rise in pre-tax profits to £909.8m for the year to 30 June, with sales surging to an 11-year high and margins improving. It announced a special dividend of 17.3p a share.
The company, the UK’s largest housebuilder by sales, sold 17,856 new homes last year, up from 17,579 the previous year. Sales in London were flat but rose outside the capital and in Scotland. The average selling price dropped to £274,400 from £288,900 as the company continued to shift away from central London to focus on the outer boroughs and areas such as Milton Keynes.Advertisement
Barratt has benefited from the government’s help-to-buy scheme, which accounted for 40% of sales. Its rival Persimmon, another major beneficiary of the taxpayer-funded programme, caused outrage in February when it made a profit of £1.09bn in 2018, the biggest ever made by a UK housebuilder, with nearly half of its sales coming from help to buy.
David Thomas, Barratt’s chief executive, said government schemes aimed at helping first-time buyers had been “enormously helpful to the market”. The first, Home Buy Direct, was launched by the Labour government in 2009, followed by FirstBuy in 2011 and help to buy in 2013, in which the government provides a guaranteed interest-free loan to homebuyers. Housebuilders have also benefited from affordable mortgages at a time of low interest rates.
Housebuilding collapsed during the financial crisis but has recovered, to 165,090 in England last year, although it is still far below the levels needed to solve Britain’s housing crisis.
The new-build housing market has been remarkably resilient, despite the increasing threat of a no-deal Brexit, and Thomas was sanguine about the outlook.
“If you look at the period over the last three years since the referendum, customer demand has been very strong, there is lots of eligibility, including help to buy,” he said. “So far we’ve not seen a reduction in consumer appetite.”
He welcomed the extension of the help-to-buy programme until 2023 and expressed confidence that lenders would fill the gap with affordable mortgages thereafter.
The housing market has been dragged down by Brexit uncertainty, which has deterred many from buying and selling and led to falling house prices in London and south-east England.
Barratt is forecasting that sales volumes will grow by 3% this year, the bottom end of its targeted 3% to 5% range. It has a forward order book of just below £3bn, down from £3.05bn this time last year. Shares in the company fell 5% initially, and later traded down 3.5% at 600p. City analysts are predicting pre-tax profits of about £880m this year, down from last year.
The company’s gross margin rose to 22.8% from 20.7% last year. The firm has reduced costs by cutting the number of house types it offers from more than 200 in 2016, to about 20 for Barratt, and 20 for its upmarket David Wilson brand. It has also changed the design, for example by reducing the pitch of its roofs to save money.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 28th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –
British banks last month approved the most mortgages since February 2017, adding to signs that the housing market has picked up from its recent pre-Brexit slowdown, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Banks approved 43,342 mortgages in July, up from 42,775 in March and 10.6% higher than a year earlier, according to seasonally-adjusted figures from industry body UK Finance.
Net mortgage lending rose by 2.947 billion pounds last month, the biggest increase since March 2016 and up from an increase of 1.764 billion pounds in June.
Britain’s housing market slowed sharply in the run-up to the original March Brexit deadline but there have been signs that buyers and sellers are taking advantage of the delay to act ahead of the new Oct. 31 deadline.
Consumer spending has remained solid, sustaining the economy since the 2016 Brexit referendum while businesses have cut investment spending due to uncertainty.
UK Finance said consumer lending rose 4.3% year-on-year in July, the strongest increase since February 2018.
Lending figures from the Bank of England, which cover a broader section of Britain’s finance industry, are due on Friday.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via cityam.com – – Tue, 20th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –
Persimmon has reported a drop in profit for the first half of the year as it spent heavily on schemes to aimed to counter complaints over the quality and fire safety of its homes.
Britain’s second largest housebuilder reported a 1.4 per cent drop in pre-tax profit, which fell to £509.3m for the six months ending 30 June.
Persimmon said it had spent 40 per cent more on customer service than in the same period last year and that this would lead to an estimated £15m annual increase in customer care costs.
The average selling price of Persimmon’s homes rose to £216,942 – up from £215,813 a year ago.
Basic earnings per share dipped 4.15 per cent to 129.3p.
Persimmon’s shares were up 0.91 per cent in morning trading to 1,879p.
Why it’s interesting
Persimmon has faced criticism recently over the quality of its new-build homes, leading to the firm being branded a group of “crooks, cowboys, and con-artists” by an MP last month.
Robert Halfon also said he had met constituents living in Persimmon homes that were “shoddily built, with severe damp and crumbling walls”.
A recent investigation by Channel 4 found one of Persimmon’s Help to Buy homes had a total of 295 faults, including fire doors that did not close.
The housebuilder launched a review of its business practices in April, and had decided to push back the timing of handovers to allow homes to be checked more thoroughly.
Arlene Ewing, an investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said that while investing in the quality of its homes and customer care “has taken a small bite out of profits, it appears to be the right trade off for the long term”.
Julie Palmer, a partner at Begbies Traynor, said Persimmon “faces a recovery operation that’s going to be more than just a quick fix”.
“The spectre of Brexit still looms,” she added, “and without a decision on terms of leaving and a damaged reputation, Persimmon may struggle to grow. Its priority must be to rebuild its reputation because in this highly competitive and uncertain market its needs to win back the hearts and minds of customers.”
What Persimmon said
In today’s results document, Persimmon said it would be introducing a “new independent team of construction quality inspectors” to help address concerns over the quality of its homes.
Chief executive Dave Jenkinson said the changes made in the first half “clearly shows that Persimmon is changing”.
“I am proud of the commitment and dedication our teams have shown in supporting the many initiatives we have introduced to deliver a step change in our customers’ experience,” Jenkinson added.
“I am confident that the progress we are making with our initiatives, our strong forward build, healthy forward sales and robust balance sheet place Persimmon in a strong position for the second half.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 19th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –
Chancellor Sajid Javid has said he has no plans to make house sellers rather than buyers pay stamp duty tax.
“I wouldn't support that,” the chancellor said in a tweet on Sunday.
His comments came after the Times reported on Saturday that Mr Javid was considering the idea, to save first-time buyers from paying the tax.
“I know from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that we need bold measures on housing – but this isn't one of them,” Mr Javid said.
Stamp duty – a purchase tax paid in England and Northern Ireland on properties worth more than £125,000 – was abolished in 2017 for first-time buyers spending up to £300,000 on a house.
Forcing home sellers rather than buyers to pay the stamp duty tax would have made house purchases cheaper for those buying their first home or people trying to upgrade to larger homes, but could have made owners of larger homes reluctant to downsize.
The latest housing figures suggest that both house prices and sales are losing momentum amid Brexit uncertainty.
Key aspects of the housing market were “pretty much flatlining”, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said earlier this month.
In the interview with the Times, Mr Javid refused to give details of his plans to reform the tax system, instead saying “wait and see for the Budget” which is due to take place in the autumn.
According to the newspaper Mr Javid said: “I'm a low-tax guy. I want to see simpler taxes.”
The report added: “he said that he was looking at various options when asked about stamp duty reforms including reversing liability from those buying property to those selling”.
Mr Javid also said he had not yet decided whether to hold the Budget before 31 October, the date the UK is expected to leave the EU.
What is Stamp Duty?
It's a tax that people who buy property or land must pay. In England and Northern Ireland buyers pay Stamp Duty Land Tax, in Scotland it is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax while in Wales buyers pay Land Transaction Tax.
In England and Northern Ireland the tax falls due on homes sold for £125,000 or more. However, first-time buyers pay no tax up to £300,000 and 5% on any portion between £300,000 and £500,000.
For people who have bought a home before, the rates are 2% on £125,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£925,000, 10% on £925,001-£1.5m, and 12% on any value above £1.5m.
So if you are not a first-time buyer, and you buy a house for £275,000, the Stamp Duty you owe is calculated as follows:
•0% on the first £125,000 = £0
•2% on the next £125,000 = £2,500
•5% on the final £25,000 = £1,250
•Total Stamp Duty = £3,750
In Scotland, the rates on Land and Buildings Transaction Tax are 2% on £145,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£325,000, 10% on £325,001-£750,000, and 12% on any value above £750,000.
In Wales, the rates on Land Transaction Tax are 3.5% on £180,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£400,000, 7.5% on £400,001-£750,000, 10% on £750,001-£1.5m, and 12% on any value above £1.5m.
The Flintstone House is an eccentric house in Hillsborough, California. It was designed in 1976 by William Nicholson and most recently purchased by Florence Fang in 2017 for $2.8 million. Large dinosaur statues and other Flintstone-themed artwork cover the front and back yards. Town officials from Hillsborough sued Florence Fang, stating that her property doesn't comply with the community's code.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 30th July 2019) London, Uk – –
An Airbnb host who rented out his central London council flat to tourists has been fined £100,000 and evicted.
Council tenant Toby Harman, 37, created the fake identity “Lara” on Airbnb to rent out his studio apartment.
The flat, in Victoria, had been advertised since 2013 and received more than 300 reviews, Westminster City Council said.
Anti-fraud software had found Harman's first name in reviews and connected the listing to him.
Harman's bank statements showed he had been receiving payments from Airbnb for a number of years.
He had been taken to court and, after a failed appeal, evicted and ordered to pay £100,974 in unlawful profits, the Times reported.
Airbnb told BBC News the council property listing had been removed from its website earlier this year.
“We regularly remind hosts to check and follow local rules – including on subsidised housing – and we take action on issues brought to our attention,” said a spokeswoman.
“Airbnb is the only platform that works with London to limit how often hosts can share their space and we support proposals from the mayor of London for a registration system to help local authorities regulate short-term lets and ensure rules are applied equally to hosts on all platforms in the capital.”
Westminster Council said it was currently investigating at least 1,500 properties in the borough for short-term letting.
“Social housing is there to provide much-needed homes for our residents, not to generate illicit profits for dishonest tenants,” the council's Andrew Smith said.
“It's illegal for council tenants to sublet their homes and we carry out tenancy checks, as well as monitoring short-term letting websites for any potential illegal sublets.
“Along with a six-figure unlawful profit order, by getting a possession order, we can now reallocate the property to someone in genuine need of a home.
“We're also pressing government to introduce a national registration scheme to make it far easier for us to take action against anyone who breaks the rules on short term letting.”
London's Airbnb market has quadrupled since 2015, from 20,000 to 80,000 listings.
One of the most popular areas for Airbnb listings in the country is Shoreditch, particularly the area around Brick Lane.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 23rd July 2019) London, Uk – –
Property company makes deal as a result of European Medicines Agency’s move to Amsterdam
A US firm run by two billionaire entrepreneurs is being paid €62m (£55.7m) in “financial inducements” as part of the Brexit-enforced relocation of the European Medicines Agency from London to Amsterdam.
WeWork, a $47bn (£37.7bn) property company founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, secured the cash from British and European taxpayers as part of a deal in which it will sublet the agency’s former headquarters, EU documents reveal.
All UK-based EU agencies have had to be relocated to other member states as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the bloc. The Netherlands won the right to host the EMA while Paris secured the European Banking Authority. But before its move to the Netherlands, the EMA failed in its bid to break its 25-year lease with its landlord, the Canary Wharf Group.Advertisement
The EU agency had been facing £500m in costs, including an annual rent of €16m, on 26,000 sq metres (280,000 sq ft) of office space at 30 Churchill Place in Canary Wharf in London that it was unable to use.
The subletting deal with WeWork recoups an undisclosed amount of those costs but EU budget documents record that at least €62m has been paid to the US firm in an attempt to make the deal attractive. The sum covers the costs for 2019-20.
The EMA’s efforts to sublet the property had faced rising competition in London’s commercial subletting market as a result of businesses reducing their footprint in the capital in the light of the Brexit vote.
But the attraction of the Canary Wharf location was made clear by the company when it announced the lease agreement, describing it as a “desirable location for our member businesses who are rapidly scaling as well as the large enterprise companies who now represent 40% of our global membership”.
A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union declined to comment on the costs to the Treasury from the relocation of the London-based agencies.
The EU’s budget documents for 2020 suggest that the payment to WeWork will add €6.5m to the forecasted outgoings to be met by the 28 member states.
Nine years after co-founding WeWork, Neumann, 40, its chief executive, and 45-year-old McKelvey, as chief culture officer, are reportedly worth $7bn between them. The company leases large office spaces, divides them up and rents them out out in smaller portions to businesses offering perks such as free coffee and beer.
Neumann once said the objective of his company was to “to elevate the world’s consciousness”.
WeWork, which operates in 27 countries and is preparing for a stock market flotation this year, is second only to the British government as an occupier of London offices, with more than 275,000 sq metres of space in the capital.
The EMA is currently in a temporary building in Amsterdam until completion of the construction of its new premises at the end of the year.
The agency’s latest management board meeting heard that that the EMA expected at least one in four of its staff to stop working for it by the time of the final move as a result of the relocation. Of the 776 members of staff, 312 are “teleworking” from London due to “personal circumstances”.
A spokesman for the EMA said of the payments: “This is standard practice in the London commercial property market and these inducements are typically used by the tenant to fit out the building to their specifications. EMA received similar financial inducements when we entered into the original lease. The financial inducements are being funded from the EU budget.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 17th July 2019) London, Uk – –
The second half of the year may be a buyers' market for much of the UK as average price increases continue to slow sharply.
House prices in London fell in May at their fastest rate for almost a decade, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a 4.4% decline, on an annual basis, in residential property costs in the capital.
It marked the biggest fall since the 7% reduction recorded in August 2009 as the effects of the financial crisis took a hold on the sector.
The wider ONS figures showed a continuation of the slowdown across the UK as a whole – with prices increasing by 1.2% in the year to May, down from 1.5% in April.
The gradual decline – over the past three years – was first driven by London followed by the wider South East region.
However, house price growth in Wales – while sharply down from a 5.3% rate in April – remains positive at 3%.
The figure was 2.8% for Scotland.
The English region with the strongest rate of growth was the North West at 3.4%.
London saw a surge house price growth after the financial crash that saw prices almost double before cracks began to appear in late 2016.
They were a consequence of concerns about affordability after the boom and shaky sentiment since the Brexit vote.
The ONS said that while London house prices fell over the year, it remained the most expensive place to purchase a property at an average of £457,000.
That sum is 6.7% down on the 2017 peak.
The North East continued to have the lowest average house price, at £128,000, and remains the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak, the ONS said.
There are signs of worse news for prices ahead.
The official figures lag other industry surveys which have already reported on activity during June.
A report by Rightmove earlier this week suggested that the current political uncertainty – as the clock ticks down to the extended Brexit deadline of 31st October – was continuing to weigh on sentiment.
It said average prices had fallen in the UK for the first time in 2019.
Rightmove's director and housing market analyst, Miles Shipside, said: “With record employment, low interest rates and good mortgage availability, buyers have a lot in their favour apart from the lack of political certainty.
“Those who have postponed their purchase should note that estate agency branches have more sellers on their books than at any time for the past four years, so there should be more choice of properties to buy.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 15th July 2019) London, Uk – –
The retailer's investors react nervously as the company delays its annual results citing several factors.
Shares in Mike Ashley's Sports Direct have dived more than 10% after the retailer said it had delayed the publication of its annual results.
The company, whose shares trade on the FTSE 250, blamed problems integrating its purchase of House of Fraser (HoF) stores last summer and increased scrutiny of its accounts.
It added that this could affect its financial forecasts.
Sports Direct had been due to publish results for the year to 28 April on Thursday but said it now expected to release them between 26 July and 23 August.
Its statement said: “The reasons for the delay are the complexities of the integration into the company of the House of Fraser business, and the current uncertainty as to the future trading performance of this business, together with the increased regulatory scrutiny of auditors and audits including the FRC (Financial Reporting Council) review of Grant Thornton's audit of the financial statements of Sports Direct for the period ended 29 April 2018.”
In December, Sports Direct had described trading as “unbelievably bad” with significant challenges for House of Fraser, which it had bought out of administration at the height of the high street crisis.
It has since lost a major stake in the collapse and rebirth of struggling Debenhams and it is currently in the process of taking full control of Game Digital.
Shares – down almost 40% this year – fell more than 12% in early deals on Monday.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said of the announcement: “The big question was what impact House of Fraser and various other acquisitions of dubious value would have on Sports Direct results. A material impact, one can only assume. HoF must be losing money hand over fist.
“Looking to the earnings, top line growth is expected to rise but profits are seen weaker as the cost of acquisitions weighs.
“Since reporting a 27% decline in underlying profits in the first half we've not heard a peep from Sports Direct on performance.
“The delay in delivering the annual results does not sit well with investors, who must be nervous about what it means.
“It seems likely it's been a tough ride in the core Sports Direct retail division, whilst acquisitions have added nothing but increased costs,” he added.
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(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 2nd July 2019) London, Uk – –
Fears are growing the UK economy may have contracted in the second quarter of the year as the latest data misses expectations.
Output in the construction sector fell at its steepest rate since April 2009 in June, according to a close-watched activity survey.
The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed declines across the sector over the month – adding to evidence of a wider economic slowdown in the second quarter of the year.
The index for construction showed a reading of 43.1 in June – down from 48.6 in the previous month and way below the expectations of economists.
Anything above 50 indicates growth.
The PMI findings – based on the responses of purchasing managers – suggested business activity and incoming new work both fell at the fastest pace for just over 10 years.
The slide in construction demand across residential, commercial and civil engineering operations was mainly attributed by survey respondents to “risk aversion among clients in response to heightened political and economic uncertainty.”
Continued fog over the UK's departure from the EU has coincided with a sharp easing in demand across the global economy – largely blamed on the US-China trade war.
The UK economy grew by 0.5% in the first three months of 2019 however much of that growth surge was attributed to Brexit stockpiling ahead of the original deadline of 29 March.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed construction had flat-lined during January to March with growth of just 0.06%.
The PMIs suggest construction output will have contracted during the second quarter.
There is little to cheer in the sector as the housing market continues to lose steam and businesses hold back on investment decisions.
Separate figures by Nationwide released on Tuesday showed house price growth at an annual rate of 0.5% in June – with London and surrounding areas continuing to see the largest declines in prices.
Shares in housebuilders fell at the open and declined further when the PMI number emerged.
Persimmon was down by more than 2%.
Dr Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said: “With the purchasing managers also reporting that manufacturing activity contracted in June and was at a 76-month low, the dire June construction survey fuels belief that the UK economy highly likely contracted in the second quarter.
“Obviously, the performance of the dominant services sector will be important so there will be appreciable interest in the June services purchasing managers survey out on Wednesday – but while services activity is likely to have avoided contraction in the second quarter, we doubt it will have been sufficient to stop GDP contracting given the likely sharp falling back in manufacturing output.
“Specifically, we currently expect GDP to have contracted 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter.”
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(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 27th June 2019) London, Uk – –
The rise in numbers of £1m homes was seen in Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and in the north of England – but London saw a fall
The number of homes worth a million pounds or more that have been sold nationally has reached a record high – despite a fall in London.
In total, the number of sales of houses valued at £1m or more increased by 1% in 2018 to a new high of 14,638 – which is the highest number recorded, according to Lloyds Bank.
The number of homes sold for more than £2m was down though, from 2,530 in 2017 to 2,501 in 2018.
The rise in numbers of £1m homes was seen in Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and in the north of England, according to Lloyds, which analysed Land Registry and Registers of Scotland figures.
However, sales in London and the South East remained relatively flat, despite making up around 80% of the sales for homes worth over £1m.
8,267 million pound homes were sold in London in 2018 – down from 8,308 in 2017.
The capital also saw a 3% fall in the sales of homes worth more than £2m, from 1,946 to 1,886 over the course of a year.
The South East showed no major growth in the sale of million pound homes, with 3,390 being sold, which is only 13 more than than the year before.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, the number of million pound homes sold dramatically fell by 23% year-on-year in 2018, with only 103 sales made.
The south-west of England saw a 1% fall from 676 homes in 2017 to 668 in 2018.
Louise Santaana from Lloyds Bank said: “The high-value property boom the country has experienced over the last decade has decelerated in the past 12 months, which is in line with expectations.
“However, while growth across London and the South East has slowed, there are still a number of property hotspots across the country that would create some value for investors, particularly in the East Midlands.”Sponsored Links
Why do so many of New York's older skyscrapers have a similar design? The answer can be traced back to a monumental 1916 zoning law, which established “setback” requirements for buildings above a certain height. In the heart of the Financial District, the Equitable Building, a historic skyscraper that predates the law, remains a symbol of the excesses of the pre-zoning era.