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Everything posted by EmpiricalBear

  1. That level of spec is very, very, expensive. I know the architect (interesting he is not named) as his work is very distinctive. We are not talking a fly-by-night here, but a solid practice with a separate interiors designer and the quality shows in these albeit rather cold estate agenty photographs. Only 0.2 acre of land, but hey, this is a house for a family with a combined income in the 200k range or possibly more so the price doesn't seem unusually high to me. The problem with a spec of this level is that you won't get it back on resale, so a price fall probably just reflects the rea
  2. And once interest rates rise to a more normal level, annuity rates will improve. Considering increasing life expectancy, annuities would become more attractive. There are risks that annuities will overall diminish in payouts if the industry has less to spread around (its like insurance, those who live shorter lives balance out those who live longer, so with fewer people in the annuity 'pot' the risk to the annuity provider increases reducing overall payouts). Even so I don't think this is the end of annuities, it just might mean the providers have to work harder and there is scope for be
  3. I've been doing a lot of reading and studying of this in the last week preparatory to buying a few bit coins. Wish I'd mined them :-) Theres not much wrong with Bitcoin at its core, the massive problem is with these amateurish and dodgy exchanges and how people are using it. To my amazement owners of bitcoins if they store them on some of these sites are effectively giving the online site their credit card number and the pin code to unlock it! Madness. Hence they are very open to hacking attacks in that case. Another thing to say is... even with 7% of ALL Bitcoins apparently stolen fro
  4. Bigoted nonsense about teachers. Some work harder than I suspect you have ever done in your life. I'm not one, but live with one so I can tell you this from first hand experience. Every year when the government comes up with a new idea about how kids should be taught she has to rewrite all the course materials (usually involving unpaid evening and weekend work). Almost a day in every weekend is spent marking books. Then there's reports, parent-teachers meetings (loads of these nowadays) which are unpaid and involved dealing with demanding and irrational parents. Duke of Edinburgh trips, et
  5. Ha ha. I read on the internet in 2003 there there was going to be a house price crash! Guess what, there wasn't and now people write about the price of cheese instead. :-)
  6. But what matters is wage inflation. Only wage inflation can reduce the real value of debts, so until wage inflation kicks in there will be a dangerous dance with price inflation, the hope being that it will not become too hot. And the policy allows 'get outs' so that extreme price inflation would allow a change of course.
  7. The CB lists the gold as an asset (they can, because they have the leasing relationship with HSBC) Kaye has an asset, the actual gold. Most likely HSBC have a liability to the CB to return the Gold (which they would have to buy from someone else if it had to be delivered) HSBC also have the money in the bank they got from selling it to Bill Kaye, they could use part of that money to buy a future or option to cover that liability to the CB. Nothing wrong here, all normal it seems to me.. thats what derivatives and banking is all about, the virtualisation of assets to create more liquid
  8. How I'd like this to be true. This is not a scientific paper in the true sense. The main social purpose of publishing (apart from the more mundane aspect of establishing ownership of the discovery) is that other researchers can replicate and independently verify the results. As the object at the centre of this is proprietary and unexplained, its an interesting curio but no more. Archiv is not peer reviewed, any of us could write a paper and put it on there, even those of use with egregious spelling abilities. My fingers are crossed that this is real, but I'll wait until its really real
  9. I really believe that those of you waiting for the economic dominance of the US to end are wrong. I've been travelling there for the last 30 odd years and the innate reslience of the US economy is staggering. I was there at the time of the dotcom crash and that was the worst I've seen it. Todays situation is nothing like as bad, and the US continually reinvents itself. Our similarity to the US also helps us. There is a great talk by Niall Ferguson on TED called the '6 killer apps of Capitalism'. This explains why the UK and US still have massive advantages because of culture and politic
  10. If real wages don't increase, then a real fall in prices won't help.
  11. Except those who do not vote may not be representative of all those entitled to vote. I expect those who actually vote represent a population skewed to the more intelligent end. And the smartest people may not always make the best call anyway.
  12. If the Tories don't win the next election then I think we are truly sunk. They need a proper mandate in order to keep the current reforms going. Without a feel good factor in the economy, theres no chance that they will get that mandate. So I think they have looked at the options and picked the only one that has a prospect of working in the short term. A substantial pick up in property transactions would have a boost on the economy. A few years back my accountant persuaded me to join a local business network. The idea was that small businesses, we were mostly self-employed, could refer bu
  13. Thanks for this, particularly the first paragraph as it provides some much needed context. Good to see you posting, even if only for a brief moment.
  14. Yep. In any case, the rich can persuade the planners, with the help of consultants, to permit all sorts of ugly monstrosities. http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2059298_neighbours_anger_over_the_12_million_mansion (clearly visible as you drive up the hill, looks like a conference centre) http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-1702785/Rowan-Atkinsons-5m-space-age-home.html (a run of the mill Meier design that looks like a design studio, no Villa Savoie this one) http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2444_hello_john_got_a_new_mansion (he got there in the end, I've seen the pictures)
  15. Once you remove all the houses on the flood plains from the supply you end up with a smaller number of actually inhabitable houses. As a result the actually good houses that don't flood are worth more (smaller supply you see for same demand). So while the price of houses on the flood plain may crash if sea levels rise then the price of the rest will rise. The insurers can tax those of us smart enough to not buy on a flood plain to pay the claims of those who do, so it all balances out...
  16. That influx of government money into property is well timed for the next election isn't it? Given that sales of houses have a knock on effect into the wider economy, its a handy little bit of pre-election boosting.
  17. An IO mortgage should only be allowed if the borrower has passed a financial IQ test.
  18. The ideal mortgage for this IMHO is Virgin One's current account mortgage. I had one for a number of years, at the moment I have a product with a lower IR, but I'll look at switching back to Virgin when the discount/fix period is over. Ideal for people with irregular income, moreover, because they are used to such people their application process is easier for the genuinely self-employed, i.e.: just the people the other banks won't touch with a bargepole at the moment.
  19. Could Gold be the next LIBOR scandal? http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/mar/13/london-financial-sector-gold-market
  20. STR in December 2003 and had a nice time until 2007 living off the interest on our capital. Finally got bored after 9 years renting in a beautiful place, but a gradually degenerating rental property (typical of the UK, zero maintenance by the LL), so bought a place. Getting older decided I didn't want to ring someone if I wanted to repaint the kitchen. Spent far too much thanks to the rise in house prices over the years, but we have a great house now. Borrowed shitloads at low %age, but the capital is still there to pay a lot of it down if IR's rise. I don't see that happening for many
  21. Dead right, its actually feeling quite mild for the stormy stock season... but we aren't through it yet, still a couple of bumpy weeks to get through.
  22. The recent rise of Google has been a bit suspicious to me. I've followed the stock and invested in it for quite a few years but latterly decided the company was becoming very defocused. They seem to have begun to improve on that score more recently. Still, the rise in the price just seemed OTT to me. Google are great at achieving vast reach with products that generate more mediocre profits.
  23. Yes, I think your analysis is correct. I don't agree with the gold is too expensive viewpoint as I simply see its value as the inverse of currency inflation. There is investment volatility from trading operations, but I believe the long term price move is more in line with a role as an alternate currency. I also feel the source of problems is excess capacity and debt and that the likely trajectory leads to lower consumption in the short to medium term which reduces industrial demand. However in the medium to long term the possibility of a major realignment of economies might mean industri
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