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About chinaman

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  1. You might not remember but for many years the British Govt. and therefore the British taxpayer funded part of an owner's house purchase through the MIRAS scheme. It was essentially a tax break on a householder's mortgage interest payments. This was withdrawn in the 90's and replaced not long afterwards by new laws that made BTL very easy and gave, not householders, but landlords tax breaks on interest payments instead! Nice....
  2. There are some great roads through some great scenery in Romania. You have to watch out for potholes though and riding at night is not advised due to unlit horses and carts. Late May or September are best times to go as its very hot in high summer. Check out the link below for some more biking in Romania information. I stayed at this place once and can recommend it. http://www.visionsofromania.co.uk/
  3. Can anyone give any pointers as to how to go about this in a convenient way? Would like to switch part of my sterling savings into CHF as a) a hedge against the pound continuing to tank and on the assumption that swiss banks are safer than UK ones.
  4. My wife is Romanian and we follow developments in Romania closely. As I'm sure you know, a lot of foreign owned banks set up shop in Romania a few years ago and for the first time ordinary Romanians could get access to credit. This is what caused prices to rocket after 2003. Its interesting to hear that these banks appear to be tightening up now. I am always interested in whether the high asking prices for Romanian property are ever achieved. You see people asking 150,000-200,000 euros for houses in provincial cities. Do people ever pay this?
  5. I moved to Romania last year with my wife who is Romanian and spent six months there. We now live in China but thats a whole new story! I would say watch out for the following: 1. You've got to learn the lingo! Even with my wife taking care of the bureaucracy and me speaking rough Romanian, the feelings of isolation through not being able to communicate properly can get to you. 2. The bureaucracy is unreal largely because you have to do everything in person and lots of things have to be done through notaries. I spent an unhealthy amount of time hanging around in notaries offices waiting for various papers to be prepared. 3. Cheap property will require a lot of work to bring it up to Western standards. You will have to find and manage tradesmen to do this. Not easy. 4. Food and energy cost nearly the same as they do in the UK. Gas and electricty for a two bed 140sq.m house can be £100 a month in winter. You need a lot of gas when its -15 outside all day! We managed to live on £500 per month but watch out for things like car repairs and house repairs as they will put a hole in your budget. 5. Think about what would happen of you became ill or had an accident. Hospitals are expensive and not very good. You would need a lot of local help to get through a hospital stay. 6. Jobs for English people who do not speak the language are non existent. You would have to set up your own business or live off investment income. On the plus side: 1. Long hot reliable summers from beginning of May until the end of September. 2. Labour is cheap - a labourer is about £7 a day plus food and cigaretters. 3. Council tax and car insurance are very cheap. 4. Beautiful countryside and if you are single, beautiful women!
  6. I live in a large city in Central China. Prices for flats near our factory have tripled in the last two years from 2000RMB per sq. metre to 6000RMB. Gross yields on rentals have been compressed to 3%. A modest 60 square metre flat now costs 360,000RMB and a good take home salary here is 3000RMB per month. The govt can only stay in power if they keep the current economic boom going. They have been doing this by creating domestic demand and building huge infrastructure projects. A key part of encouraging domestic demand is to encourage the building of residential real estate. All land is state owned and is leased to privately owned developers in a less than transparent process. Flats that you buy here are on a 70 year lease. All media outlets are state owned and of course contain lots of advertisements encouraging people to buy flats - even the state owned bus networks do their bit by carrying these adverts. Mortgages are granted by state owned banks whose true financial positions are never known. Given the UK's 50 billion bail out, maybe Alistair Darling took some lessons on how to maintain a state sponsored real estate pyramid from the Chinese, on his recent visit here.
  7. I remember lots of articles from the mid nineties saying that now was a good time to buy as a mortgage was cheaper than rent. Prices had been static for a couple of years by then. When a mortgage is equal again to rent then I guess we will start seeing the same articles again. So you can argue that when a 1 bedder mortgage = 1 bedder rent then we have reached the bottom. The purchase price at the bottom will depend on what the IR is at that time.
  8. A belated thanks to all respondents. The IFS data is the most recent and basing take home pay as about 70% of gross it seems to show you need a gross household income of about 70K to be in the top 10%. Your average household seems to have an income of around 35K. It just shows how far hp's are ahead of incomes and that they appear to be based on the availability of cheap credit along with lax lending practices.
  9. Does anyone have enough information to post up a UK salary distribution curve? I heard somewhere that if you gross over 50K pa then you are in the top 10% of earners. Is this true?
  10. Check out our very own 'What the Newspapers Said Last Time' http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/wiki/Read...ast_time_around Lots of EA's ramping the market after it had begun to turn and this was 17 years ago. Reading the headlines its clear it began to turn on sentiment a long time before Black Wednesday.
  11. Things may change in a couple of years though, Lets Get It Right. Once the market turns you may find that the general punters aren't that interested anymore. Imagine a scenario where there is no more property porn on TV, amateur BTL's no longer interested, no more dinner party conversations about house prices - that may leave fewer but more astute buyers in the auction ring in a couple of years from now.
  12. Average wage in Poland is about 40 pounds a week - if you can find a job - which isn't easy especially in the rural areas. Food and energy are nearly as expensive as they are in the UK so life there is tough. I may be wrong but I believe that after two years of work in the UK Poles are entitled to our full range of benefits. I agree that they are nice lads and hard workers but I wouldn't bet on them all going home if there is a recession here.
  13. Don't forget charity shops and boot sales! Mrs Chinaman furnished our kitchen with top notch cookware and appliances for next to nothing from these places. Mrs Chinaman doesn't cook with convenience food either so the two of us have top quality grub for about 30 quid a week
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