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Everything posted by Methinkshe

  1. You will know the housing bubble is over when buying property is considered by the general populace to be the most stupid investment that anyone could consider.
  2. What's that fallacy called, the one where you attribute too much power to an individual/institution etc? Something I picked up while reading around but only half remember. It's the "......(something).....director fallacy." I just don't remember stuff any more. I'm sure someone will help me out. It's just so annoying to have it on the tip of one's tongue..... Anyway, that's what is going on with the BoE!
  3. I agree - money that would otherwise have found its way into property-related derivatives is finding a home in commodities, including oil and gold. I'd expect to see oil drop back to the 50$ - 60$/barrel sometime in 2008. As for gold, its difficult to know how much of the price rise is due to speculation and how much is due to frightened money looking for a safe haven. I'm inclined to believe that there's still a lot of speculation inflating the gold bubble at the moment.......although I'm sure CGNAO would disagree. I don't think that the concept of a potential financial meltdown has entered the global psyche on a broad enough scale to confidently assert that gold is now a safe haven as opposed to a speculative market. Mind you, perhaps by the time it is obviously being used as a safe haven, which I believe is on the cards, it could be a very expensive club to join. Join too early and you risk getting your fingers burnt by the speculators, too late and you pay dearly for your caution. Edited for typo
  4. What? You mean the wall of red on the Dow? Perhaps you should've started a Black Thursday thread - got in early on tomorrow's FTSE.
  5. Apologies, GF. I notice that I posted after you - completely missed your thread.
  6. We are watching the formation of a vicious spiral of downward property values - commerical first, soon to be followed by residential - from which there will be no escape until sentiment once again turns in the opposite direction, and that could be many years hence. I always imagine sentiment as a stick-man walking the coils of a spring - if he faces in one direction, he will be climbing upwards, if he faces the other way, he will be heading downwards. There's no route out of the spiral, only the capacity to face in one direction or the other.
  7. Centro Puts Itself Up for Sale as Debt Deadline Looms Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Centro Properties Group, facing a Feb. 15 deadline to refinance A$3.9 billion ($3.4 billion) of debt, will consider offers for all its assets, including 700 U.S. malls. Chief Executive Officer Andrew Scott said he's also invited bids for stakes in his Australian and U.S. wholesale funds, which Centro values at a combined A$3.7 billion. The Melbourne-based company said Dec. 17 it may have to sell assets to pay debt, sparking an 86 percent two-day slump in its shares. ``The trouble is that when you signal you are distressed, you may have to take a haircut when selling assets, particularly the good ones,'' said Michael McCormick, who helps manage about $170 million at Leyland Private Asset Management in Sydney. The company was approached after the A$4.1 billion plunge in its market value during Dec. 17-18 made it Asia's worst casualty so far of the global credit squeeze, Scott said. Potential buyers may include Westfield Group, Morgan Stanley, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Stockland, said John Snowden, head of property securities at Centro's largest shareholder, Colonial First State. Centro, with a market value of A$878.9 million, didn't provide the names or the number of investors that made approaches. Sydney-based spokespeople for Westfield, Morgan Stanley and Stockland declined to comment. Calls to Brookfield in Toronto outside business hours weren't immediately returned. Centro's shares closed 3 percent higher in Sydney trading at A$1.04, down from their record high of A$10.02 on May 7. Centro Retail Group, the publicly traded property trust it manages, gained 5.3 percent to A$1. U.S. Malls Other alternatives Centro may consider include recapitalizing or selling stock, according to today's statement. ``The market is sensing the company is finding a way out of its problems,'' said Richard Wallace, who helps manage $138 million at Wallace Funds Management in Sydney. The company's largest U.S. shopping centers are Independent Mall in North Carolina and Cortlandt Towne Center in New York. Its eight most valuable properties are in Australia, including Centro Galleria in Perth and Centro Bankstown in Sydney, according to Centro's latest annual report. Scott said the company first received offers in the week of Dec. 17 and that ``interest has been shown not only from Australian investors but investors around the world.'' ``We have said OK guys, in terms of the whole company we are interested in talking to you so come on down with any ideas,'' Scott said in a telephone interview. ``In relation to a sale of specific assets or parts of the group, we think the two areas that are appropriate to look at are the two wholesale funds.'' `Once in a Lifetime' The larger fund, Centro Australia Wholesale Fund, has A$2.6 billion of assets and investments in 28 malls in Australia and New Zealand, according to a Dec. 17 company release. Centro holds a 50 percent stake in the fund, with the remainder owned by Centro's Direct Property Fund, also half owned by the parent. The Centro America Fund has A$1.1 billion in assets and investments in 32 U.S. shopping centers. Centro owns 41 percent of the fund. ``It has been said that it's almost a once in a lifetime opportunity that assets of this quality, being primarily the Australian assets, come up for sale,'' said Colonial's Snowden. ``The only way a full acquisition could work is if a much larger, better capitalized group is able to take over the business.'' Centro's Lenders Scott took on debt to help fund $9 billion of U.S. takeovers in the past two years. Centro said Dec. 7 that sales at its shopping centers rose 6 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30. ``There is definitely a stronger outlook for Centro's Australian assets to be sold closer to book value,'' said Simon Garing, an analyst at UBS AG in Sydney. Centro must agree on debt refinancing terms with its lenders Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., National Australia Bank Ltd., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and BNP Paribas by Feb. 15. It is being advised by Lazard Carnegie Wylie. Centro was created in 1985 as Jennings Properties Ltd. before being renamed Centro in 1991, the same year its flagship `The Glen' mall in Melbourne's eastern suburbs was opened. It moved into the U.S. though a joint venture with Watt Commercial Properties and acquired 14 malls in California. Scott has kept control of the malls he acquires, and the management fees they generate, by selling them into 39 partially owned investment vehicles such as wholesale funds and joint ventures. To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Cochrane in Melbourne [email protected] . Last Updated: January 2, 2008 01:39
  8. You can thank the EU for HIPS. Christopher Booker's notebook 27/05/2007 One part of HIPs we just can't shake It is curious to recall that 18 months ago scarcely anyone outside the trade had heard of Home Information Packs, when this column described them as "a disaster waiting to happen". Since then of course we have seen the inevitable shambles unfolding much as predicted, except that, in its efforts to avert the worst of the disaster, the Government has been forced to chuck one bit of the scheme after another off the sledge. The one thing it was always going to be stuck with was the need for home sellers to pay £200 or more for an Energy Efficiency Certificate, because it was obliged to do this by EU directive 2002/91 on "the energy performance of buildings". When I watched Channel 4 News's Jon Snow going hammer and tongs last week with the relevant minister Yvette Cooper (Mrs Ed Balls), with Snow repeatedly pointing out how absurd these certificates were, I was struck yet again by how neither made any mention of the fact that we can't drop them because they are EU law. Snow may not have known that, but Mrs Balls certainly did. Wouldn't it be helpful if, just occasionally, our ministers and grander journalists were prepared to explain such things, rather than just stuff them away out of sight? Like almost everything else that happens these days, the directive in question was specifically intended to aid the EU in reducing its carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Europe has persistently castigated the US as "environmentally irresponsible" for refusing to sign the protocol. How timely therefore was last week's announcement that in 2006 the US reduced its carbon emissions by 1.6 per cent, while the EU's rose by 1.5 per cent.
  9. .....until the bridges, nuclear power stations, computer sytems etc fail - in which case it is the fault of the engineers.
  10. As someone who has been married to an engineer for 30 + years, and has a brother who is an engineer, the compaints I always hear are that engineers never make it to the Board - only accountants and their ilk get there. Thus, engineers are relegated to management level and are required by their accountant boss-directors to perform impossible feats for the sake of the balance sheet with little or no regard to the integrity of the engineering project in hand.
  11. I sense we don't have a quarrel, mate, rather that our individual experiences are slightly different. So rather than waste time having a go at you for no other reason than we have a minor point of contention, which in the greater scheme of things is neither here nor there, may I just congratulate you on your self-employment and retire from the debate without in any way wishing to appear less than interested, just too old willingly to engage in pointless debate over minor points of difference? Best regards
  12. Just like the bloody Aussies: come over here, eat all our brown bread, pinch all our sheilas, and then go back home again... (all said in a broad Aussie accent!)
  13. Well, I can trace my British ancestry back to William the Conqu so I feel fairly secure in my Britishness. As for the newcomers, isn't it up to them to decide when they have become sufficiently Anglicised to warrant the term "British"?
  14. Whoever suggested anything other than self-reliance, whether when working for an employer or for oneself. It is very good that you have found a way to make a profitable business under your own steam when you were not capable of doing same as part of a team. No-one is endowing employers with supernatural abilities - far from it. As an erstwhile employer myself, all I was interested in was employing a person who would contribute to the company effort rather than detract from it. That you were not able to do this within a comany context but have been able to do so when working for yourself speaks more to me of a rather self-centred individual than a defective company - but perhaps that kind of self-centredness is what is required to be financially successful these days.
  15. Brett, if your work is worth more than twohappence rubbed together, sooner or later it will be recognised. Meanwhile, hang on in there....
  16. Brett, you're wrong. Companies have to make money to survive. They promote or weed out employees to this end. Sometimes it can take several years to weed out the dross, but sooner or later they will be weeded out. No-one of any worth to a company will get the sack. No-one of any worth will fail, in the long run, to find promotion. Yours is the bleat of the inadequate who has been by-passed for promotion for what one must assume are very good reasons.
  17. Interesting point about the slick salesman beating the engineer.... My brother has an engineering degree from Cambridge. He has worked in the US for 10 - 15 years, can't quite remember. Anyway, a salesman was appointed above him and my brother fumed - the salesman and his underlings were bringing in contracts that the techies under my bro's management had no chance of servicing through lack of support staff. To cut a long story short, Top Bod salesman has recently been sacked, brother has been promoted to his position (Vice President) and now the company is working the way it should. Just takes a little time and patience for the market to have its inevitable way... Just remember the Engineer Song
  18. Yet the paradox is that those who could, if they HAD to band together and resist, would much prefer to live peaceable lives and on the whole are prepared to pay a percentage of their earnings (tax) to a government in return for the security to settle down with wives and children instead of having to permananently man a front line with swords and shields. On occasions, however, these peace loving individuals recognise the threat to their long term preference for a stable way of life, for tradition, continuity, community etc., to the extent that they are stirred to lay down their ploughshares and take up swords - as in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. What those occasions are that stir the fighting spirit in the common man is anyone's guess. At what point does the individual recognise that his continuing abilty to live a peaceable life is so threatened that he must take up his sword to defend it?
  19. There's ALWAYS a need of defence against the next band of marauders...or are you suggesting that there is such a thing as a benign government/band of marauders...? It is either every man for himself (anarchy) or benign government and from my POV the latter is the better option so long as the majority is able to insist on benign government. Democracy was supposed to allow that, but I have my doubts. The odd trouble-maker (anarchist) ensures that democracy does what it says on the tin - but I don't think that anarchy instead of government is a solution.
  20. Well said and welcome. That has always been my contention. If a graduate REALLY has something of value to offer the current market he WILL get a job. All the rest is just whingeing....
  21. So basically it's a free market argument as opposed to an anarchistic one. Personally, I believe that all governments have their source in banditry/protection/ a Mafia style projection of power. The weaker allow themselves to be taxed by the stronger via a taxation on work in return for defence against more bloody marauders. Once a government of any colour fails in its primary duty of protection against more bloody marauders (and I believe the UK government did this when they signed up to Europe and allowed foreign tribes to levy a tax on British subjects) then the people/government compact comes into question. The masses willingly allow an elite to impose taxes in return for an assured defence of common enterprise - whether it be business or agriculture. The minute that compact fails the governmenmt has one of two choices: it morphs into a dictatorship or it bows to the will of the electorate and is voted out of office. I think we are closer to dictatorship than most people realise...especially when one bears in mind the unelected EU commissioners who can and frequently do trump British law.
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