Political chaos and a series of tax hikes pushed the average price of a home in London’s most-desired districts down by almost 5 percent last year, paring it to a low not seen since the start of 2013. Home prices in the U.K. capital’s prime postcodes – which include Chelsea, Islington, Kensington and Mayfair – dropped 1.5 percent in the final quarter of 2018 as lawmakers failed to reach an accord on Brexit, data compiled by broker Knight Frank show. That extended the decline for the year to 4.6 percent. London’s high-end house prices have been hit by a succession of tax reforms that have boosted the sales-tax bill for the most expensive homes to as much as 15 percent of the purchase price. The hikes, coupled with uncertainty about the country’s political and economic future, has decimated the market for homes and reduced transaction levels to historic lows.
Hong Kong gas supplier offers ‘excellent wife’ cooking class
A Hong Kong company has raised eyebrows by promoting an “Excellent Wife” cooking course. “If you aspire to be the best girlfriend or wife in town, ‘Excellent Wife’ cooking course is perfect for you,” says the text on a flyer by Towngas Cooking Centre, which is operated by Hong Kong & China Gas Co. “Excellent Wife Certificate” is written in bold on the top. A spokeswoman for Hong Kong & China Gas confirmed the advertisement was authentic, though declined to elaborate on the decision behind the phrasing. The HKD2,500 course consists of five lessons covering areas such as how to treat a new wok, steaming skills and abalone preparation, the company website shows. Hong Kong’s “Equal Opportunities Commission would be interested to know whether men are allowed to go to this course,” said shareholder activist David Webb, who posted a caption of the flyer on his Twitter account. “Perhaps Towngas needs to modernize its marketing people. Hong Kong is a very conservative and old-fashioned society in many ways – they still don’t allow gay marriage or civil unions for example.”