Palm Beach: America’s first “gated community.”

Source: CBS

The first thing you should know about Palm Beach is that it's an island (unto itself) – the most exclusive town in America, and (according to writer Laurence Leamer) America's first “gated community.” Mo Rocca takes a tour of the city that rose from Florida's tropical wilderness, which today features one of the richest commercial strips in America, and is home to Mar-a-Lago, the “Winter White House” resort of President Donald Trump.



Why Amazon Associates Are Acquisitioning Failed Malls

Source: WSJ

As the decline of brick and mortar retail rolls on, commercial real estate developers are left with massive abandoned properties. Who will fill that underutilized space? A series of recent acquisitions by associates of Amazon in Northeastern Ohio provides some clues.

Purplebricks Michael Bruce steps down as CEO as the online estate agent scales back expansion

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue,7th May 2019) London, Uk – –

Michael Bruce steps down as chief executive after firm admits it grew in US too quickly

Purplebricks has ousted its chief executive and said it would pull out of Australia and scale back its US business after the online estate agency admitted it had expanded too quickly.

It is understood Michael Bruce, who founded the company in 2012 with his brother Kenny, stepped down after the chair, Paul Pinder, decided to take action following what he described on Tuesday as a “disappointing” 12 months.

Bruce, who owns 11% of Purplebricks, has been replaced by the chief operating officer, Vic Darvey. Darvey joined the firm in January from MoneySuperMarket, where he was managing director. Bruce will receive his annual salary of £150,000 but will not get a bonus, as disclosed in the latest accounts.

Shares in the company, which does not have any branches, fell 7% after Pinder apologised to shareholders in a trading update for its poor performance and conceded it had made a number of mistakes including over expansion abroad.

Pinder said: “With hindsight, our rate of geographic expansion was too rapid and as a result the quality of execution has suffered. We have also made sub-optimal decisions in allocating capital. We will learn from these errors and will not make them again.”

The company said it would close its Australian division after the market had become tougher. It also admitted to making “some execution errors” in the two-and-a-half years it had been operating in the country.

Purplebricks is also carrying out a strategic review of its business in the US, which it is scaling back operations and cutting spending on marketing.

The company said that although conditions were “challenging” in the UK, it was outperforming the wider market and saw plenty of opportunity for profitable growth.

Purplebricks slashed its revenue forecast in February and announced the sudden departure of its UK and US heads. It stuck to this revised estimate on Tuesday, predicting full-year revenues of between £130m and £140m.

Shares were worth 100p when the firm floated on London’s junior Aim market in December 2015, and peaked at nearly 500p in July 2017. Since then the shares have slumped about 75% to trade at 126p on Tuesday.

The share price decline has dealt a blow to Woodford Investment Management, led by the well-known City investor Neil Woodford. It is the largest shareholder in the company, with a 28% stake.

Purplebricks, which does not have any branches, charges sellers an upfront fee for advertising their property online and arranging viewings, while traditional estate agents charge after a home is sold.

By Julia Kollewe

Palm Island Dubai the largest man-made island in the world

Source: Provident

Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest man-made island and is comprised of a two kilometre long trunk, a crown made up of 17 fronds and a surrounding crescent. The first of three such islands that comprise ‘The Palm Trilogy', Nakheel's signature development, it will be followed by The Palm Jebel Ali and The Palm Deira.

Following a number of years of feasibility studies, the Palm Jumeirah was launched in 2001, with reclamation starting in the same year. From the end of 2006, the island's first residences – comprising 4,000 luxury villas and apartments were handed over during a phased period. Since then, the tourism, leisure and retail elements of the island have been developed, creating a spectacular, world-renowned residential and tourism destination.

Debenhams names 22 stores to close with the loss of 1200 jobs

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 26 April, 2019) London, Uk – –

Debenhams has named 22 of the 50 stores it plans to close as part of a plan by new owners to revive the department store chain.

The retailer says the store closures will start next year and 1,200 staff will be affected by the first phase.

Stores in Canterbury, Guildford, Wolverhampton and Kirkcaldy are among those earmarked for closure.

Earlier this month lenders to Debenhams took control in a deal which wiped out the investments of shareholders.

Once the 50 store closures are complete Debenhams will have around 116 stores in the UK.

Debenhams also reported results for the 26 weeks to March. Sales at its UK stores fell 7.4%, which it blamed on fewer shoppers heading to the High Street.

Debenhams stores expected to close in 2020

  • Altrincham
  • Ashford
  • Birmingham Fort
  • Canterbury
  • Chatham
  • Eastbourne
  • Folkestone
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Guildford
  • Kirkcaldy
  • Orpington
  • Slough
  • Southport
  • Southsea
  • Staines
  • Stockton
  • Walton
  • Wandsworth
  • Welwyn Garden City
  • Wimbledon
  • Witney
  • Wolverhampton

Failed expansion

Debenhams is the UK's biggest department store chain and its origins can be traced back to 1778 and a drapers store in central London.

However, industry experts said it expanded its stores at the wrong time – when customers were switching to online sales.

The expansion left the company with debts and expensive leases.

The store closures are part of a broader rescue effort, under which lenders provided £200m of fresh funding.

Under that refinancing agreement, shareholders saw their stake in the firm wiped out, including Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct.

Mr Ashley wanted to buy Debenhams and become chief executive, but his approaches were turned down.

‘Fit for the future'

Terry Duddy, Debenhams executive chairman, said: “Debenhams has a clear strategy and a bright future, but in order for the business to prosper, we need to restructure the group's store portfolio and its balance sheet, which are not appropriate for today's much changed retail environment.

“Our priority is to save as many stores and as many jobs as we can, while making the business fit for the future.”

Debenhams is just one of many High Street chains to run into trouble in recent years.

The collapse of BHS in 2016 resulted in more than 160 stores closing, and House of Fraser has been shutting stores after being bought out of administration last year.

Marks and Spencer is in the process of closing 100 stores by 2020.

Some areas have been particularly hard hit by the problems in the retail industry. Wolverhampton has lost a House of Fraser, a BHS and now a Debenhams.

Lendlease’s Labbad to be successor as new chief exec of Crown Estate

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 22nd April 2019) London, Uk – –

Dan Labbad, Lendlease Europe's CEO since 2009, will be named this week as Dame Alison Nimmo's successor, Sky News learns.

By Mark Kleinman, City editor

The company which manages the monarchy's vast land holdings will this week name an Australian property industry veteran as its next chief executive.

Sky News has learnt that Dan Labbad, who runs Lendlease's European operations, has been identified as the successor to Dame Alison Nimmo, who is due to step down at the end of the year.

His appointment, which requires a Royal Warrant, is understood to have been signed off by 10 Downing Street and the Treasury in the last few days.

It is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Mr Labbad's hiring will come after a nine-month search to fill one of the most prestigious jobs in the British real estate sector.


The Crown Estate's £14bn portfolio, which includes swathes of London's Regent Street and a fast-growing offshore wind turbine business, is managed on behalf of the Royal Family on a commercial basis.


Last year, the company reported a profit of £329m, with a quarter of that figure paid to the royal household as a sovereign grant to fund maintenance of royal palaces and residences.

The Crown Estate, which manages Windsor Great Park, does not have responsibility for the Queen's private properties such as Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House.

With a history dating back to ‎1066 and the Norman Conquest, the Crown Estate is owned by the reigning Monarch for as long as they remain on the throne.

It is one of the UK's biggest property groups, and has recently sought to capitalise on some of the sector's most important growth trends by opening its first branded serviced offices.

Mr Labbad's appointment will see him taking over from Dame Alison at the start of 2020.

He has run Lendlease Europe, which has worked on construction projects at London's Tate Britain art gallery and the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, since 2009.

Including roles in Australia, where he led the expansion of Sydney Airport ahead of the Olympic Games hosted by the City in 2000, he has worked for the company for about 20 years.

‎Mr Labbad has also chaired the UK Green Building Council, which promotes sustainability in the built environment.

His arrival at the Crown Estate will come at a time when it is demonstrating resilience in the performance of its West End retail estate – although it will have been hit, like other landlords, by last week's environmental protests by Extinction Rebellion activists.

Outside London, it part owns the Westgate shopping centre in Oxford and Rushden Lakes, a £140m leisure and retail complex in Northamptonshire.

Much of the Crown Estate's growth is, though, being driven by its offshore wind portfolio, which a report by the company this month described as having “entered the premier league”.

Announcing last year's results, Dame Alison said its robust profit growth was a consequence of the company looking “beyond short-term volatility to deliver long-term, sustainable outperformance”.

‎The Crown Estate is chaired by Robin Budenberg, a former City banker who went on to run UK Financial Investments, the agency set up to manage taxpayers' stakes in bailed-out lenders after the 2008 financial crisis.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Estate declined to comment on Sunday.

Inside Lenny Kravitz’s Amazing Brazilian Farm Compound

Source: Architectural Digest

Lenny Kravitz takes us on a tour of his incredible Brazilian farm compound. Built on an 18th-century coffee plantation, his home is set on a working farm that feeds every guest that comes through. Featuring a Brazilian barbecue, a full-sized football field and 19th-century Portuguese colonial-style farmhouses and outbuildings, it's a wonder Lenny ever wants to leave home.

UK house prices rose at its weakest rate in six-and-a-half years in February

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Wed, 17th April 2019) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British house prices rose at the weakest rate in six-and-a-half years in February, dragged down by London’s biggest price slump in a decade as Brexit uncertainty sent chills through the property market.

Official data also showed Britain’s consumer price inflation unexpectedly held just below the Bank of England’s 2 percent target in March, offering relief to consumers whose spending has helped Britain’s economy through the Brexit crisis.

House prices were just 0.6 percent higher in February than a year ago, slowing sharply from a 1.7 percent annual rise in January, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

In London, house prices were down by 3.8 percent — the biggest drop since mid-2009. The malaise in the capital spread to the south-east of England, where prices fell for the first time since 2011.

Other surveys have shown Brexit to be a major drag on the property market in the capital, which is sensitive to flows of migrant workers from the European Union. A surge in prices in London in previous years has also stretched affordability.

House prices in London are now 6 percent below their mid-2017 peak, albeit a smaller contraction than an 18 percent decline during the financial crisis.

“It is possible that the avoidance of a ‘no deal’ Brexit at the end of March could provide a modest boost to the housing market through easing some of the immediate uncertainty and concerns,” said economist Howard Archer from consultancy EY ITEM Club.

“However, we suspect it is more probable that with Brexit most likely being delayed until Oct. 31, prolonged uncertainty will weigh down on the housing market and hamper activity.”

INFLATION STILL SEEN RISING

Separately, the ONS said consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in March, the same rate as in February. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rate of 2.0 percent.

Sterling slipped against the U.S. dollar and the euro on the figures, while British government bond prices rose slightly.

Rising motor fuel prices were offset by falling food prices and computer game prices rising more slowly than they did a year ago, the ONS said.

Looking ahead, improving wage growth and poor productivity in Britain’s economy are likely to push inflation above the BoE’s 2 percent target by the end of 2019, said economist Andrew Wishart from consultancy Capital Economics.

“Nonetheless, with another Brexit crunch point looming in October and growth likely to be modest this year, we doubt the (Bank of England) will press ahead with another interest rate hike until next summer,” Wishart added.

BoE policymakers have said they want to see firm evidence of domestic inflation pressure – chiefly from rising wages – building before they vote to raise rates.

They will likely be reassured by Wednesday’s data that showed costs faced by factories for materials and energy – which eventually feed through to consumer prices – rose more slowly than expected in March.

By Andy Bruce, William Schomberg

UK house prices picked up in March, as Brexit weighed on the housing market – Nationwide

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 29th March 2019) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British house prices picked up only a little bit of speed this month as the approach of Brexit weighed on the housing market, data from mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Friday.

Prices rose by 0.7 percent in annual terms in March, up from a rise of 0.4 percent last month.

House prices were rising by about 5 percent a year at the time of the Brexit referendum in 2016, according to Nationwide.

In monthly terms, prices rose by 0.2 percent after falling by 0.1 percent in February.

Economists in a Reuters poll had expected prices to rise by an annual 0.6 percent and to be flat on the month.

Last week, official data, covering more transactions than other surveys, showed prices in January rose by an annual 1.7 percent, the smallest increase since 2013, when Britain was trying to shake off the effects of the global financial crisis.

Nationwide said London was the weakest performing region in the United Kingdom in the first quarter of 2019 with prices falling by an annual 3.8 percent, the biggest drop since 2009.

China's industrial profits shrink most since late 2011 as economy cools

It was the seventh consecutive quarter to show falling prices in the capital.

Nationwide said factors behind the fall in London included unaffordable prices for many buyers and tax changes affecting the buy-to-let market.

Howard Archer, an economist with EY Item Club, a forecasting firm, said a prolonged Brexit delay could lead to house prices stagnating or falling slightly in 2019.

“If the UK leaves the EU without a deal during the second quarter, house prices could fall by around 5 percent in 2019 amid heightened uncertainty and weakened economic activity,” Archer said.

By William Schomberg

Persimmon allow homebuyers to withhold £3,600 per home until faults are fixed

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 21st Mar 2019) London, Uk – –

Contracts will state that 1.5% of property value can be held back until problems resolved

One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders has responded to criticism about the quality of its homes by allowing homebuyers to withhold an average of £3,600 per home until all faults are fixed.

Persimmon has come under fire for paying out £500m in bonuses to 150 executives and making an annual profit of £1.1bn on the back of the government’s help to buy scheme, while doing little to improve customer care and the quality of its new-build homes. Many homebuyers have complained about finding numerous defects after moving in, including leaks and cracking windows.

The company said it would offer a homebuyer’s retention, by writing into its contracts that 1.5% of the property value – an average of £3,600 per home – could be withheld by the buyer’s solicitor until any faults identified were resolved. The policy is expected to be fully in place by the end of June.

Roger Devlin, the chair, said: “This is a first among the UK’s large housebuilders and I hope will lead the way in change across the sector. This move, and the urgency with which we will introduce it, is a clear and unambiguous signal of cultural and operational change at Persimmon, putting customer care at the very centre of the business.”

Dave Jenkinson, the new chief executive, said: “Persimmon is listening hard to all of its stakeholders and we hear the message that we need to continue to raise our game in customer care. We are determined that the experience is not overshadowed by teething problems and providing a homebuyer’s retention is an important step towards achieving this.”

He said the builder had also taken steps to improve its accuracy of anticipated moving-in dates. Other improvements include offering maintenance appointments at weekends and out-of-hours opening of customer care departments.

Jenkinson, the former group managing director, took over from Jeff Fairburn, who left in November after his huge bonus – which made him the UK’s highest-paid chief executive – caused outrage. The firm’s annual report recently showed that Fairburn was paid nearly £85m in the past two years, more than the £75m he was thought to have received. Jenkinson received £45m.

Persimmon’s huge gains from the help to buy scheme – nearly half its 16,449 home sales last year were made through the taxpayer-funded scheme – have prompted a review by the housing minister.

By Julia Kollewe

UK construction industry shrinks for the first time in 11 months – PMI

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Mon, 4th March 2019) London, UK —

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – Britain’s construction industry reported the first fall in activity in almost a year last month, as Brexit uncertainty and a slow housing market delayed new building projects.

The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in February from January’s reading of 50.6, the first time the index has been below the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction since unusually icy weather in March 2018.

The last time the reading was below 50 for reasons unrelated to the weather was in September 2017, and February’s number was at the bottom end of economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll.

“The UK construction sector moved into decline during February as Brexit anxiety intensified and clients opted to delay decision-making on building projects,” IHS Markit economist Tim Moore said.

Britain remains at risk of leaving the European Union on March 29 with no transitional arrangements, though last week Prime Minister Theresa May said lawmakers would be able to vote to delay Brexit for a short period if they continued to reject the deal she agreed with Brussels last year.

Builders said they were experiencing some of the longest delays in getting construction materials since 2015, due to transport shortages caused by manufacturers stocking up on materials in case a no-deal Brexit disrupts imports.

Construction projects such as new homes and office space were also being put on hold as Brexit uncertainty slowed commercial decision-making and the housing market weakened, with knock-on effects for hiring.

Although Bank of England data last week showed a pick-up in the number of mortgages approved at the start of 2019, house prices have been flat over the past couple of months, according to figures from mortgage lender Nationwide Building Society.

Last year construction output rose by the smallest amount since 2012, up just 0.7 percent according to official data.

Construction makes up only 6 percent of Britain’s economy, but its volatility often means it has an outsize effect on the quarterly growth rate of the whole economy.

Reporting by David Milliken

Grant Cardone SUCCESS Motivation: How to Develop a MILLIONAIRE Mindset

Source: Evan Carmichael

More about Grant Cardone: He's internationally renowned business and sales expert. He's the author of 7 sales and business books. He has worked with companies like Google, Aflac, Toyota, GM, Ford and many more. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNBC, Fox Business, and contributes to Entrepreneur.com. He was named the #1 marketer to watch in 2017 by Forbes Magazine. He helps his followers and clients to make success their duty. He's the creator of customized sales training programs for Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs. He's the author of New York Times bestseller book “If You're Not First, You're Last”. He captivates and motivates audiences with his engaging and entertaining speaking style. He's heavily involved in civic affairs and charitable organizations.

‘Brexit-proof’ property areas where house prices are forecast to rise

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 22nd Feb 2019) London, Uk – –

The recent slump in house price growth has been blamed by many experts largely on the political and economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote – but there are some areas of the country that have bucked this trend. 

According to Nationwide’s latest house price index, house price growth “ground to a halt” in January, with prices just 0.1pc higher than the same time last year. Estate agent Jeremy Leaf said the figures confirmed a market “struggling to weather the Brexit storm, but not collapsing”.

While some areas in London and south-east England have seen considerable falls in growth since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, the opposite is true for many other regions across the country. 

Buying agent Garrington Property Finders analysed Land Registry data to identify the regions in England and Wales that have weathered the Brexit storm, and are likely to see future house price rises. Its research is based on two determining factors of future appreciation – property affordability (house price to earnings ratio) and the pace of job creation.

It found that property increased in price in East Staffordshire in the West Midlands by 10pc in 2018, four times higher than the UK average of 2.5pc. It also has a good ratio of affordability in the area and a high employment growth rate, making it the top “Brexit-proof” property hotspot in the country.

The area's robust economy means jobs are being created at a prodigious rate, with local employment growing by 9.4pc in 2018, almost eight times faster than the national rate of 1.2pc, while its affordability ratio is 7.7. 

The second-placed market in the ranking was Rochdale in Greater Manchester, which clocked price growth of 8.7pc and employment growth of 7pc in 2018, yet has a good affordability ratio of 5.6, second only to Liverpool’s 5.1 ratio.

All 10 areas in the league table have an affordability ratio – the average property price divided by the average resident’s salary – lower than the England and Wales average of 7.77 (London’s is 12.36, according to the ONS), and a rate of job creation in excess of the national average.

Derby, Derbyshire, Salford, Greater Manchester, and Bassetlaw, in Nottinghamshire, round out the top five, with property price growth in 2018 of 7.7pc, 6.9pc and 6.8pc respectively. 

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington, said that while at a national level the property market is cooling to the point of inertia – with average prices rising at the slowest pace for five years – a number of hot micro-markets have emerged that completely buck the trend.

Mr Hopper said this includes the Midlands which currently has a “combination of Brexit-defying economic momentum, good affordability and, above all, strong future growth potential.”

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has previously predicted that national house price growth will come to a “standstill” this year, but a supply shortage “will negate outright falls”. 

Halifax’s Russell Galley is more bullish, however. “On the basis that it is still most likely that the UK exits the EU with a form of withdrawal agreement and transition period”, he said that he expects annual house price growth nationally to be between 2pc and 4pc by the end of the year.

By  Sophie Christie 

Sir Philip Green drops legal action against the Daily Telegraph

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 28th Jan 2019) London, Uk – –

Sir Philip Green has dropped legal action against the Daily Telegraph, which prevented the newspaper publishing details of allegations of sexual harassment and racist behaviour.

Last October, the Telegraph published a story saying a prominent businessman had been accused of harassment.

The Topshop boss was later named as the businessman in the House of Lords.

As a result, Sir Philip said he had been the subject of “vicious” and “untrue” personal attacks in the media.

The statement also said that Sir Philip is “not guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour”.

Sir Philip's representative would not say why the businessman had dropped the legal action.

When the allegations first emerged, Sir Philip acknowledged there had “been some banter”, but said it had “never been offensive”.

At the heart of the issue are non-disclosure agreements signed by five individuals.

In his statement, Sir Philip said that the Telegraph had helped break those agreements and threatened to make the information public.

In doing so, the newspaper had exposed the individuals to “significant risk and future legal action”, the statement said.

It also said: “Due to the ongoing confidentiality obligations and injunction still in place, Arcadia and Sir Philip cannot comment on the detail of any allegations, but confirm that any grievances are treated with the utmost seriousness and are investigated thoroughly in accordance with best practice.”

Fortune

Sir Philip used to be known as the king of the High Street.

He built a fortune from a retail empire that included Topshop, BHS, Burton and Miss Selfridge.

He sold BHS in March 2015 for £1, but it went into administration a year later, leaving a £571m hole in its pension fund.

He later agreed a £363m cash settlement with the Pensions Regulator to plug the gap.

In a report into the collapse of BHS, MPs called the episode “the unacceptable face of capitalism”.

He and his wife Cristina are estimated by Forbes to be worth £3.8bn.

10 Amazing Mansions Nobody Wants To Buy

Source: The Richest

Despite popular belief, a mansion is not always more valuable if it was owned by a famous person. In fact, this ownership can actually decrease the property’s value. Studies show that the house of a famous person lasts an average of 36 days longer on the market than that of a non-famous person. The reasons for this are paradoxical. It seems that the exact reasons why someone would want to buy a famous mansion are exactly what turn people off from owning said mansion: there’s too much baggage.

Debenhams rescue attempt could cost more than 10,000 jobs

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 14th Jan 2019) London, Uk – –


A daring rescue attempt being drawn up to save Debenhams from going bust could cost more than 10,000 job losses, dealing the biggest blow to the high street since the collapse of BHS.

The Daily Telegraph understands that the chain has earmarked as many as 90 of its high street stores for closure, more than half the current total, as part of a radical turnaround plan.

Debenhams has 165 shops in the UK and Ireland, and 26,000 employees. It has said publicly that around 50 stores could be jettisoned but the board has quietly identified another 30 to 40 that could be offloaded as it seeks to focus on the most profitable ones.

Nearly 90pc of the chain’s pre-tax earnings are generated from a core of 80 to 90 shops, it is understood. Debenhams declined to comment. BHS imploded in 2016 with the loss of 11,000 jobs.

Debenhams plans to push ahead with a three-stage restructuring program despite a dramatic boardroom coup at the hands of Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley, who has amassed a 30pc stake in the retailer.

Ashley and fellow rebel shareholder Landmark Capital ousted chairman Ian Cheshire and chief executive Sergio Bucher last week. Cheshire has been replaced by veteran retailer Terry Duddy, while Bucher will continue to run the company without a board seat.

The City fears that Ashley’s extraordinary move could deal a hammer blow to Debenhams’ survival prospects. In The Sunday Telegraph, an insider accused the entrepreneur of “management by hand grenade”. Crispin Odey, who has a 5pc short against Debenhams, said it was “coming to an end”.

The company’s share price hit a record low of 3.8p, while its bonds have crashed to just 49p in the pound.

Bucher is expected to table a formal, three-stage turnaround proposal with lenders in the coming weeks. The complex plans will begin with a loan refinancing and partial debt-for-equity swap; followed by the attempted closure of up to half its stores; and a fundraising from existing shareholders.

However, there are significant hurdles to overcome. Around half of Debenhams’ bank loans have been hoovered up by American hedge funds, while any store closures will need to be approved by landlords.

Ashley, meanwhile, could attempt to block the refinancing, which would almost certainly be fatal. Retail footfall fell 2.6pc in December.

The fate of HMV will be decided this week when a deadline for rescue bids expires, Sky News reported.

By  Ben Marlow 

UK House price growth slows to weakest in almost six years

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 4th Jan 2019) London, Uk – –

UK house prices grew at an annual pace of 0.5% in December, the Nationwide building society has said, the slowest annual rate since February 2013.

The lender says uncertainty over the economic outlook appears to be undermining confidence in the market.

London and surrounding areas saw a small fall in house prices in 2018.

Northern Ireland saw the biggest house price rises, up 5.8%. Prices in Wales climbed 4%, in Scotland they were up 0.9% and in England they rose 0.7%.

December's growth rate, based on its own mortgage data, was a marked slowdown from the annual pace of 1.9% recorded by the Nationwide in November.

The Nationwide's chief economist, Robert Gardner, told the BBC the severity of the slowdown was unexpected: “It is a little bit surprising that house price growth has slowed as much as it has in the last month or so.

“It seems to be the uncertain economic outlook that is really weighing on buyer sentiment. I think once that lifts then things should start to pick up to normal levels of about 2%.”

He said a lot of it “depends on how we get through this Brexit uncertainty”.

Chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, Samuel Tombs, said the slowdown was striking, but the overall outlook for the market was relatively benign: “The hefty month-to-month fall in house prices in December [of 0.7%] – the biggest Nationwide has reported since August 2011 – brings an end to a weak year for the housing market.

“While the supply of homes for sale also has dwindled, the balance of demand and supply has shifted in buyers' favour. That said, we continue to doubt that a sustained period of falling house prices is likely.”

He said that assuming MPs back some form of Brexit deal, with a subsequent recovery in consumers' confidence, prices were likely to pick up to grow by 2% this year.

Nicholas Finn, executive director of Garrington Property Finders, said: “At one extreme we are seeing a surge in the numbers of opportunistic, frequently cash, buyers emerging to snap up homes at large discounts.”

“Meanwhile thousands of would-be sellers are instead hunkering down and waiting until things improve before putting their home on the market.”

Separate figures from the Bank of England showed that mortgage approvals for house purchases fell in November, and are now at half the level of 15 years ago.

Regional differences

The Nationwide said that house prices in London and the surrounding areas, such as Berkshire, had fallen by 0.8% and 1.4% in the past year.

However, outside these areas, each nation and English region – based on Nationwide's local mortgage data – recorded annual house price growth.

In addition to steady price growth in Northern Ireland and Wales, the East Midlands also saw prices increase by 4%.

“With prices in both inner and outer London falling, the capital bears a share of responsibility for dragging down the national pace of growth,” Mr Finn said.

Africa’s Top 10 Most Expensive Homes

Source: Alux

In this video we'll try to answer the following questions: What's the most expensive home in Africa? Which are the most expensive homes in Africa? Which are the top 10 most expensive homes in Africa? How much is the most expensive home in Africa? How much are the top most expensive homes in Africa? How much is Aliko Dangote's home? How much is Mike Adenuga's home? How much is Folorunsho Alakija's home? Where are the most expensive homes in Africa?