We live in expensive times. And there is no better evidence of this than in Hong Kong, where a local business man, Kwan Wai-ming, has just paid a world record £520,000 for a single car parking space in the Upton apartment complex in Sai Ying Pun. To put his purchase into context, the amount he paid would cover the cost of about 120,000 taxi journeys between the apartment block and the city centre, equivalent to two commutes every working day for the next 245 years! Perhaps unsurprisingly, this isn't Kwan's first high-priced rodeo. He reportedly has already spent about £9m on two apartments and three other parking spots in the same complex. What The Weekly wants to know though, is what kind of car Mr Kwan will keep in his new space? Even if it was a Bentley GTX 700-4, it would still be worth less than the asphalt it would be standing on!
 
Whilst it may sound like a magazine that could feature on ‘Have I Got News for You’, the UK Annual Self-Storage Report (11th Edition) that was released this week by C&W and the UK Self Storage Association made for an interesting read. The key findings show that Britain is now home to almost half of all of Europe’s self-storage units (42.2 million sq. ft.), and demand continues to outstrip supply. We Brits rent four times more self-storage space than the French and nine times more space than the Germans. During 2016 twenty-four new self-storage sites opened in the UK, the highest number in Europe. Occupancy levels increased too, up 3% to 76%. So what's behind this growth? 81% of self-storage users are aged between 35 and 70. This can in part be attributed to the fact that Millennials are settling down later in life, in terms of establishing more permanent relationships, having children and moving from rented to permanent residences. These 'life-changing' moments often act as a catalyst for self-storage use. Furthermore, given that Britain has the highest divorce rate in the EU and divorced and separated people are more than twice as likely to use self-storage as a single person, it’s difficult to see why the UK self-storage market won’t remain buoyant and attractive as a possible investment opportunity.
 
It is perhaps apt that the hottest June day in 41 years (on Wednesday) fell in the middle of National Picnic Week, the week of the year when everybody is encouraged to grab their baskets and head out into the great outdoors for a picnic! Whilst the good weather over the past few weeks will have inevitably helped, picnics are growing in their popularity. It is now estimated that 94 million picnics take place each year, with the average British family spending £26 per picnic. Whilst participation numbers are increasing, the contents of picnics are changing too. We are now 285% more likely to pack a tub of hummus than we were 15 years ago. In the 1970s the most popular picnic snack was the humble cheese sandwich. Today it’s a bag of crisps, followed by strawberries, French bread and cured meats. Orange squash, once named as the perfect picnic soft drink, has been replaced by fizzy, diet and energy drinks. Prosecco anyone? But for the picnic traditionalists out there, you can take some comfort in the fact one staple has survived into the 21st century – the picnic blanket, which more than half of us still use!

 

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