A giant iceberg appears to dwarf a 3,000 tonne ship. But look again. The block of ice in the foreground of this optical illusion only reaches 6 ft above sea level (Source: The Telegraph).

The political gloves were off this week as Boris Johnson jumped off the fence to land firmly in the Brexit "out" camp and (in the view of many political commentators) stake his longer term claim for No.10 Downing Street.  The Prime Minister duly went on the offensive in the House of Commons berating London's Mayor before his own MPs intervened, eventually pleading with David Cameron to "be nice to Boris".  The G20 have also now waded into the debate with a joint statement yesterday from the Finance Ministers of the world's leading economies warning of a "global shock" if the UK chooses to leave the European Union.  Luckily, however, there were no such "shocks" on the rugby pitch yesterday as England beat Ireland 21-10 to continue Eddie Jones's perfect start as England coach with three Six Nations wins from three.  Time for a Sunday trip to William Hill and a bet on the "White Shirts" for a Grand Slam?

What is the total value of all the housing stock in the United Kingdom?  Well, according to Savills recent edition of Property Focus the answer is £6,165,202,205,928 (or thereabouts anyway!).  We do pity the unsuspecting graduate who was given this particular valuation brief!  However, aside from providing some eye-catching numbers, the report's real aim is to delve into how this wealth is distributed - the unequivocal answer being very unevenly.  The value of housing stock in London's two wealthiest boroughs, for example, is greater than all the housing stock in Wales (but with only 15% of the homes).  The numbers also starkly demonstrate the shift from owner occupier housing to the private rented sector.  The value of housing stock in the private rented sector has increased by £535 billion since 2007, whilst the value of mortgaged owner occupier housing has fallen by £237 billion in the same period.  It is a trend that no government Help to Buy, or Starter Home policy looks likely to stop.

Sticking with the residential theme, the "sharp suits" at Foxtons were once again in the headlines this week after 55 landlords lodged a £2.14 million claim against the estate agent for allegedly charging 'exorbitant' commission without their knowledge.  The legal action was spurred by one aggrieved landlord who apparently found himself facing a £616 bill for repairing a light fitting.  The itemized bill revealed that the sub-contractor had charged a whopping £412.50 with Foxtons then rubbing a liberal amount of salt into the wound by adding a 33% commission on top.  A well-publicized court action is likely to put a further dent in the profession's image.  In the 2015 Ipsos MORI Veracity Index only 25% of respondents trusted estate agents to tell the truth, placing them marginally above politicians - the least trusted of all professions according to the poll.  So who can we trust these days?  The answer (if we believe the Pollsters?) is hairdressers...oh...and Fund Managers of course!

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