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wilko

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About wilko

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    HPC Newbie

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    Edinburgh
  1. Here's a data point for you. I've recently spent some time in Brunei where petrol is 50 cents (25p) a litre, and diesel is 30 cents (15p) a litre. Fuel is cheap but tax isn't. Didn't the conservatives mumble something about having a sliding fuel duty scale that was inversely linked to the raw cost of liquefied dinosaurs?
  2. I went to see a mortgage advisor yesterday. Seemed like a decent chap - accepting the standard "good time to buy" and "prices are going up" rhetoric. Some points: Lenders are moving back into the 90% LTV domain, especially over the last few weeks. This guy was really pushing tracker mortgages despite my preference for fixed rate deals. Apparently the vast amount of his business is now trackers. The search system he used produced much better deals than the online deals provided by the major lenders. The advisor didn't seem to understand my argument about interest rate movements. Most of the two year trackers at 90% LTV are around 1% cheaper than medium term fixed rates. I pointed out that a tracker will never get cheaper, with the base rate currently at 0.5%, and the base rate would only need to move 1% - 1.5% upwards to become worse value than the fixed rate. This was met with 'interest rates won’t move anytime soon'. I also pointed out that interest rates fell quickly, and they could increase just as quickly. I get the impression that a lot of folk are loading up with cheap (historically) tracker deals which is supporting prices. Can the base rate really stay nailed at 0.5% for the next two years? I personally don’t think so.
  3. It's going to be an interesting Christmas that’s for sure. Retailers will soon start hiring (or not) temp's for the seasonal rush. Comparing the past history of seasonal hiring against this years numbers may give a pointer to any internal sales projections. If they aren't hiring in any great numbers it’s probably time to sell up. I suspect we'll see 'January' sales in November.
  4. wilko

    Edinbugh Latest

    Yeah, you’re right. I had it the wrong way round. I've plotted some of this data as provided in the ONS report (attached). This is where the BBC have picked the 33k figure from. I agree with your point that any analysis using just income and mortgages ratios will not give you a nominal property price figure as the system is a whole lot more complicated than that. Saying that I would assume it provides a rough indicator to the direction the market will follow? It was the average earnings to average house price chart that convinced me not to buy a year and a half ago. If I had ignored this indicator I would be a lot worse off financially today. Rest assured I won’t be jumping on the bandwagon when the 3x earnings threshold is breached, it’ll involve a mix of other financial and personal circumstances too. There is a lot of confusion regarding Mean / Median numbers with each party picking the one that best fits their standpoint. It's not always clear which one the media are using so I've personally learnt to take every figure with a pinch of salt.
  5. wilko

    Edinbugh Latest

    Although I don't dispute the BBC figures they appear to be mean values, while I quoted median values. I remember seeing the distribution of UK earnings and it wasn't normal but closer to log normal distribution. Something dosn't quite fit here as I would expect the median to be higher than the mean in this case. That said, the same logic you use to discard the bottom 30% of earners would also apply to the to top 30% of earners, as they don't fit in our target demographic of a FTB after a 1 bed flat. I'll try and dig out the raw data from somewhere. That BBC data came from Office for National Statistics, are these things supposed to be in the public domain?
  6. wilko

    Edinbugh Latest

    Interesting, can I ask what your source is for that figure? Half of all male earners in Edinburgh pulling in 35k+ seems a little high to me. Here's some interesting charts : http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/City=Edinburgh/Salary The last chart suggests an average of 25k (based on a sample of ~= 3500 folk). This seems a little more realistic to me. Wilko.
  7. I've a stagnant Capital One credit card that I don't use and has a zero balance. I don't even get statements anymore. However, I received a letter from capital one saying that the APR is being increased to 35% from March onwards. Thirty Five percent! Here's an extract: "Due to changes in the credit environment, it's now costing us more to lend. Because of this we have reviewed our customer accounts and are increasing the standard interest rates in your agreement to 34.94% p.a. variable for purchases, 34.94% p.a. variable for balance transfers and 34.94% p.a. for cash withdrawals." It's just served as a reminder that I need to close that account. Is there a legal maximum APR these jokers can charge?
  8. I work for a multi-national big into semiconductor test and chemical analysis. The last quarter results looked OK - we still got a healthy bonus although we've been told no one is getting a pay rise this year. The outlook for the future is not so bright as the powers that be recently reduced the revenue forcast for next year by 10%. In the press release was this little gem, "...excludes primarily the impacts of future restructuring and asset impairment charges..." I'm expecting a big shake-up at some point next year as these guys seem to have a habit of wielding the axe when times get tough. At its peak 2500+ people worked on this site and now its closer to 500. We are also seeing the slow erosion of employee benefits. With Sony to loose 5% of its workforce and with the rest of the stories posted here I do worry about the tech industries future over the next few years. There's going to be lots of skilled folk looking for jobs... Wilko
  9. One of my pals uses a very nice gym in the centre of Edinburgh. He signed me in once and I was very impressed with the gym itself, pool, multiple saunas, roof top spar etc. I inquired about a membership and there is a 200 quid joining fee with a 100 quid a month running charge. Thanks but no thanks. I'm happy paying 3 quid a month to use the gym at work and 28 quid a month for unlimited council swimming pool access, even if they are a little rough round the edges. How anyone can justify £100+ a month for lifting some weights and a swim is beyond me. Saying that people happily go and blow 200 quid on booze each month so maybe it's not so bad after all. Wilko.
  10. What in the world are these people thinking? My pal recently sold a flat in the same row with a brand new bathroom and kitchen. Advertised at OO 90K and he got 123K for it this time last year. He was as shocked as I was at the price in the end. Although despite my drunken protests he went right ahead and bought one of those newer builds on the other side of the same street. doh. I'm starting to see some tastey discounts on the ESPC and the people I know who where staunch uber bulls last year have changed their tune. Sentiment is changing in Edinburgh - it's going to be an interesting new year. Wilko. ps. CCC - Keep up the good work putting The Scotsman crowd to rights. easy money is quite something, i'm really surprised he's not been banned yet.
  11. The ESPC has a first time buyers night this Thursday. I'm planning to crash the party - anyone else coming? Free pencils for all. Also I'm pretty sure I heard an advertisement on the radio relating to the single seller survey. Maybe we'll see a rush of new instructions aiming to beat the deadline.
  12. So, I just arrived back from traveling and there was a letter from the thieving credit merchants. Turns out my limit has just doubled from 1.5k to 3k+. I didn't ask for this. I tend to keep a little (circa 100 quid) on the card to build some sort of credit history after my student days. Barclaycard are also very liberal with the loan application and balance transfer propaganda leaflets. As a side, my buddy works for RBS in the credit card marketing department. Off the record it's all change internally with lots of worried folks around. They have 'products' being cancelled and the end of 0% interest rate offers. Also he said it costs around 60 pence to produce and post one of those credit card application packs. You should have seen his face when I said anything sent to me goes strait in the shredder :-) Wilko.
  13. Immune to global factors? How about the whole HBOS debacle? Does this not rip the heart out of the "Scotland is different" argument? Last year when I said that buying now was pretty stupid and the whole thing is a bubble I was met with the usual “Its not going to crash”, “just f'ing do it”, “prices won't fall here” arguments. Now, those same people have realised what has been happening. They know prices are falling and to most it's deemed to be a "Good Thing ". It was the graph of average earnings vs house prices that stopped me from buying. Anyone with an ounce of sense could tell it was going to correct itself – the tricky question was when. Also, my last landlord is well connected and sold up late 2006. I think the smart money got out then. I'm happily watching from the sidelines now waiting to see the impact of the single seller survey. Although I suspect the government will be lobbied by the property types to have the introduction suspended. Regarding the trams, I was down in Manchester a few weekends ago and they worked really well. Once they get outside the city centre you get train like speeds out of them. However due to the size of Edinburgh I think they are pretty pointless up here. They should have invested in a fleet of LPG / electric buses and repaired the roads instead.
  14. This dosn't seem too bad for a two bedder (http://www.espc.com/Buying/269294.html) so I went for a cheeky viewing. This place needs some serious work. No heating (portable heaters only!) No Shower Hot water is an immersion heater Non of the windows locked Kitchen is a sink and a cooker tucked away in a cupboard Needs decorating throughout and a lot of TLC. All of the above I can deal with, it's a fix-er-upper with a lot of potential to develop over time. What had me scared is the amount of damp in the place. All along a shared wall in two rooms it was physically wet to the touch. This was really bad in one corner, and when prompted the girly doing the viewing said you get puddles when it rains. Seeing my shock she then went on to say something about underground streams. By now I was in WTF mode and started backing slowing towards the door. Is damp that bad something that the whole block is responsible for? It seems like a pretty serious structural integrity issue to me. I did notice the ‘drying green’ was all concrete, and sloped towards the flats. Poor drainage maybe. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to this one.
  15. Hi, Thought I might reply to this as my brother is now caught in Florida with no definite means of getting back home. Thanks for all the tips regarding getting the money back. I'll pass this on to my bro. The airline industry as a whole really should have blanket insurance coverage for just such an occurrence. How would you feel turning up for your flight home just to be told it's not happening and tough luck. Pretty pissed off I would imagine. I'm due to fly stateside next week with business - can I trust the airline not to go tits up during my stay? Not everyone has investor tips to live his/her life by. btw, my brothers and I are from Middlesbrough (Teesside). One is an electrician, ones doing a PhD in Astrobiology (and has kit on the ISS), one is a second year degree student and I'm a software engineer. Remember not to paint each area with the same brush! Peace, Wilko.
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