Surge In London House Prices Fuels Bubbles Fears

Ike Taylor gets playful as Steelers arrive in London

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The average cost of a home in the capital surged by 10 per cent between July and this month, compared with the third quarter of last year, British bank and major mortgage provider Nationwide said on Friday. It added that the average London home, including flats as well as houses, now costs 331,338 (S$672,000) – 8 per cent higher than in 2007 or during the run-up to the global financial crisis that eventually led to prices crashing. “The acceleration in house prices…reported by the Nationwide will fuel concern that we could be on our way to a new housing bubble,” said Mr Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight research group. “On top of this, the Bank of England has indicated that interest rates are unlikely to rise before mid-2016, which seems likely to give many people greater confidence in their ability to purchase a house,” he added. The government launched a new programme called “Help To Buy” earlier this year, offering interest- free loans for a set time period to help buyers with only a 5 per cent deposit to purchase newly built properties. The scheme will be extended in January to offer mortgage guarantees for new and existing homes worth up to 600,000. People will not be allowed to benefit from the scheme if they intend to own more than one property. The current state of the housing market has meanwhile led to splits in the governing Conservative- Liberal Democrat coalition. Outspoken Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that Help To Buy could fuel a new bubble. However, Conservative MP George Osborne, who as finance minister holds a more senior role in government, maintains that the scheme is needed to help homebuyers struggling to find sufficient deposits. Britain’s housing market has been bolstered in part by the country’s economic recovery in the first half of the year and on keen demand from cash-rich foreign buyers, particularly for investment property in London. Analysts also blame a shortage of affordable property for the current boost in prices. Become a fan on Facebook

“Y’all spell it futbol.” BIG BEN: Expect plenty of Roethlisberger jokes in London Taylor, 33, later asked one reporter to “shoot me a few slang words,” only to be told that man was from Denmark. His friend in the front row chimed in to recommend “jiffy” (meaning quickly) and “lift” (instead of elevator). “You know what I did see outside the airport?” Taylor said. “We call ’em restrooms. Y’all call ’em toilets.” Told he could also say he’s going to “the loo,” Taylor responded, “A lube? Jiffy Lube? We have them in America where you get your oil changed.” It all came after multiple Steelers players followed the lead of Vikings end Jared Allen and balked at the idea of playing full-time in London if the NFL ever puts a team here. “I wouldn’t like it,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “I just, I wouldn’t. It’d be really tough.” Said linebacker LaMarr Woodley, “It’d be rough. Luckily, I’m in Pittsburgh, so I don’t have to worry about that.” Tomlin said he hasn’t considered the idea because “(i)t doesn’t involve me.” Told that it might one day, Tomlin responded with a smile, “I doubt it.” Perhaps Taylor could lead the way. He said he’s a fan of soccer (or, as he’d probably say, futbol) and in particular Argentine star Lionel Messi, who plays for FC Barcelona. “Should I be saying that here?” Taylor asked. He hopes to “bring a little London swag back to America” with a shopping trip before kickoff. And Taylor has one other item to check off his list.

Fire sweeps boat on London Duck Tours; passengers leap into the Thames

“At one point, it looked as though the boat wasn’t going to survive.” Amateur video showed several passengers jumping into the water as flames and smoke billowed out from the windows at the front of the London Duck Tours boat, a bright yellow vehicle that takes sightseers around the British capital by road and river. After reports of the fire were received late Sunday morning, firefighters, a police helicopter and paramedics rushed to the scene. Several people were pulled from the water, and the blaze was eventually extinguished. Police said all 28 passengers and two crew members on board the vessel were safe. No one was seriously injured, and three people treated at a London hospital for “minor smoke inhalation ailments” have all been discharged, London Duck Tours said. Most of the people on board the boat were foreign tourists, ITV reported. The company and the London Fire Brigade both said the cause of the blaze, which damaged one third of the vessel, was so far unknown. Borough Cmdr. Alison Newcomb of London’s Metropolitan Police said that the maritime coast guard is investigating. “At the conclusion of that investigation, I anticipate they will make a decision with regards to future tours,” she told ITV. London Duck Tours said it has stopped operating tours on the river until the reason for the fire has been established. The company was continuing tours by road on Sunday afternoon, ITV reported. “Should technical or safety modifications be required to our fleet, these will be introduced prior to the service recommencing,” Duck Tours said, stressing that it “operates to the highest safety standards.” “London Duck Tours operates a fully modernized fleet of nine vehicles that have been completely rebuilt and refurbished between 2002 and 2012,” it said.

London hardly abuzz over return of NFL

I still cant for the life of me figure out why commissioner Roger Goodell seems so intent on having an NFL franchise in London one day. I think it would be a logistical nightmare — as does Steelers free safety Ryan Clark who told ESPNs “NFL Live” on Wednesday that he would retire before playing for a London-based team if he had to make that choice. Then there is the reality of how rooted futbol is in Europe. Kovacevic illustrates how a major difference between futbol and football is one reason why the latter has never really caught on across the Atlantic Ocean. The Steelers’ players echoed the sentiments of their coach before the team left for London. There are ample sightseeing opportunities in London, but the Steelers wont take advantage of them since they are focused on coming home with a win . The Steelers need improved play along the offensive line if they are to beat the Minnesota Vikings and avoid an 0-4 start. In their quest to find the right combination up front the Steelers will continue to rotate Kelvin Beachum at tackle with Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams. Adams and Gilbert have each struggled through the first three games, and if they dont show marked improvement Beachum will see the field more and more. The Steelers dont have a lot of other options as they try to get better play out of their line, and their hope has to be that some competition will compel Adams and Gilbert to raise their respective games. Kion Wilson has started the last two games at strongside inside linebacker but rookie Vince Williams is on track to make the position his . The sixth-round draft pick played 75 percent of the defensive snaps, considerably more than Wilson, last Sunday night, and it is worth noting that the Steelers list the two as co-starters on their depth chart.