John Medway

Housing economics, financial modeling, data analysis and reporting

About me

Who invented choice-based lettings? I stake my claim!


Earlier visitors to this website may remember that I had in draft a paper looking at the likely future cost of social housing. Shortly after my latest draft, Lehman Brothers collapsed and the whole outlook changed. I decided that my paper would no longer be of much interest to anyone and I stopped working on it. I am reminded of what my econometrics professor once told us: "The first rule of economic forecasting is 'Don't'. All that can be said for economic forecasting is that it makes weather forecasting look good". However, the draft can still be found on this website here.

Having said that, I look back with some pleasure at the work I did on it. It brought together what I had learnt over many years about financial modeling (from before the days of spreadsheets) with a little of what I learnt more recently as a formal student of economics. At a technical level the project helped me to refine a few techniques, such as what I call "backwards modeling" - starting with a desired financial indicator, such as interest cover, and working back to drivers such as the rate of investment.

Since then, in April and May 2009, I spent a most enjoyable couple of months with a small housing association updating and improving their business plan model. The finance director there was a great believer in the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle. He discouraged me from using any advanced techniques and rigorously forebade any refinement that could not immediately be justified as making a material difference to the output. Larger and more complex organisations can pose interesting technical challenges but my spell of "back to basics" thinking was very refreshing and educative.

My time between has been divided between the Transition movement and my attempts to educate myself on the big issues around climate change and resource depletion. For the moment, that work is beyond the scope of this website but there may come a time when what I do as a modeler and as an economist will be more directly related to the development of a sustainable future.

Email: john.medway at
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