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bears all

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About bears all

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  1. Hmmm. If you are a consultant, stop moaning and tell us how much you earn. If you aren't, bide your time, play golf with the right people, and wait for the gravy train to stop at your station - it worked for my friends. A terrifying amount of the extra money (about half?) the government put into the NHS went on salaries, much of it for GPs and consultants. Not that there was a noticeable shortage of contenders.
  2. I've been posting on this site for 18 months now, and while it hurts me to say "I was wrong", things certainly haven't panned out in the way I'd hoped. When I read my old posts I was convinced that the market couldn't continue without FTBs. And yet what has happened is that cheap credit has enabled middle-aged property owners (like me) to BTL the properties that FTBs would otherwise have bought, thus filling up the gap. At the moment the market doesn't need FTBs. Sometimes on this site you get people posting requests for advice - "Should I buy?" and so on. I always said you should buy if you can afford somewhere which will suit you for the next five or ten years - if you start a family for example. I still think that was good advice. I didn't buy my first house till I was 35, and I think some young people on this site want the moon, and want it now. In time, the baby-boom amateur landlords will die off and their properties will come onto the market again. It will correct itself eventually. But nowadays when I come on HPC I'm reminded of those end-of-the-world sects waiting in vain on mountain tops. Armageddon won't be arriving this week. BA
  3. A good deal of sense being talked here; clearly houses that are used only for a couple of weeks a year benefit almost no-one (hardly even the owner), and it doesn't seem to be interfering with the operation of the free market too much to suggest there should be some punitive tax regime in force. But the distinction between self-catering accommodation and 2nd homes is not made sufficiently frequently on threads like this, and I'd very much like to see some figures showing how many owners under-utilise their property - my gut feeling is that even if you confiscated them all that would not make the slightest dent on house prices in rural areas because there are not actually that many. As for the number of properties in Cumbria under £100k, 500 plus represents a fair degree of slack in the market. The problems is that, as someone once argued with me, "they're not in very nice areas". The emotional and political appeal of "there's a shortage of affordable housing in nice areas" is not quite the same as "I can't get a roof over my head". That's why you rarely see it articulated in such terms.
  4. 1. A two-minute internet search will find you about 500 properties in Cumbria under £100,000. 2. The real scourge of areas like Cumbria is unemployment and the lure of the big city. Young people go away to college and don't come back because there are few jobs and because they enjoy the bright lights. Agriculture and mining hardly employ anyone any more, and the biggest earner, tourism, is paradoxically the industry that would be most affected by restrictions on 2nd home ownership. 3. Empty holiday homes are to a great extent a myth. I know the owners of three 2nd homes in Cumbria, and they're let out for most of the year, bringing in revenue from outside the area. One owner complained to me that he never gets to stay in his because it's let out 50 weeks to other people. If you get rid of self-catering accomodation, tourism will fall and the job situation will get even worse. The critics say, "But people can stay in B&Bs instead!". They could, but they won't. Many people prefer to rent a cottage, otherwise they'd be staying in a B&B already. If they can't rent a cottage in Cumbria, they'll go somewhere else. 4. When it was made a National Park a train of events was set in motion which inevitably restricted new housing supply in Cumbria, restricted industrial development which might have provided jobs and which made the area seem all the more beautiful in contrast to other places where development was less restricted. This attracted more and more people who wanted to retire there or buy another property. The one is a direct consequence of the other. 5. Capitalism fosters inequality, and anyone who has benefited from it in the form of cheap goods from the Far East - and we all have - is hardly in a position to complain when people who've got more money than they have buy the houses they would have bought themselves if they'd had more money. That's capitalism. I think the situation is slightly different in North Wales, where the language and culture are alive but threatened by English incomers. The jobs issue is just the same though, and you have to wonder whether the exodus of young Welsh speakers might not be even greater if English money didn't provide so much employment ....
  5. In my S Manc suburb not a million miles from Didsbury someone with a house on for 950 hasn't sold; one at 750 has just come down to 695; one at 500 is now hoping for 480; and some new builds on for 250 are just sitting there with no buyers. On the other hand a terrace which originally went on for 240 came down to 180ish, still a vast amount, and finally sold after the best part of a year on the market. People are so desperate to own that as soon as they can scrape the money together they can't resist forking out. If that sentiment ever changes, then you might see some action.
  6. Immigration benefits us only when we have nearly full employment, and we are short of skilled labour. Even then, the availabilty of foreign replacements depresses wage costs, thus keeping interest rates down, encouraging debt bingeing and increasing demand for - and hence the price of - housing. It increases the population, eating up land and straining the country's infrastructure. It makes social cohesion problematic. Moreover it removes skilled people from countries that badly need them. A classic example would be the large number of Zimbabwean nurses we took in in the 80s and 90s. At times of significant unemployment immigration increases competition for jobs amongst people at the bottom end of the socio-economic spectrum, many of whom are themselves Black or Asian Britons. In other words, immigration benefits hardly anyone at any time, apart from the immigrants themselves, and it's therefore hard to pin down exactly why so many so-called bien pensants are in favour of it. IMO one defining characteristic of the liberal-left is that they like to think of themselves as the nice people, the people who are well disposed to others, and what better way of showing how nice you are than to welcome all those foreigners, with their charming cultural characteristics (just don't mention female genital mutilation, arranged marriages or honour killings). The affluent liberal elite (and I should know, being part of it) loves immigrants because they open restaurants where we can eat, make us feel good about ourselves, provide us with cheap domestic labour (au pairs and cleaners) and, perhaps above all, don't compete with us for jobs. What's not to like!
  7. You can buy a run down cottage in the Highlands for £65k. There are plots on the hspc site right now for £25k and upwards. As for these new jobs, so that's where the Barnett money's going to go! I must say I wish them luck - they'll have succeeded where many have failed before. I think my point is - and this is peripheral to the main debate about housing costs - that an area whose main source of income is tourism - have you ever been down Fort William high st at 9 p.m. on a January Saturday? - needs to look after itself very carefully. In my experience development in the Highlands is done with only the sketchiest thought for for the landscape. Two examples out of many possible - the mobile phone mast in the middle of Rannoch moor. WTF? No attempt at landscaping or planting to soften the impact on one of Britain's wildest stretches of land. Or take the new car park at the head of Glencoe. Again no planting: just bulldozer a flat bit and cover it with asphalt. There are things wrong with the Lake District NP, but they would never have allowed that.
  8. Don't build kit bungalows - do up your existing house; and by the way your plot figures are - of course - exaggerated. Have a look on the highland solicitors property centre website for more realistic figures. Looking forward to the Barnett "squeeze". Should have taken full effect in about thirty years.
  9. Sadly Ardnamurchan is another area where there is virtually no industry at all. Fish-farming employs a handful and there's a bit of tourism but that's it. The days when large numbers of people were prepared to live on a croft are gone. I remember staying on Lewis one winter about 15 years ago. In Stornoway all the kids were walking around wearing Megadeath T-shirts, and the whenever I went into the local post office to get milk they were all glued to the likes of Eastenders on TV. The lure of the bright lights and the decline in agriculture has killed those places, not holiday homes. It may well be that 90% of Ardnamurchan houses are holiday homes, but that's 90% of about 50 - it's a very remote and underpopulated place. The other sad thing I find going to the W Highlands nowadays is that the Scots seem blind to their greatest natural resource -the beauty of the scenery. Any notion of keeping the architectural integrity of the buildings has gone. Bungalows are often chucked up next door to the derelict croft. This is lax rather than over-strict planning. There's a degree of public squalor you don't get down south to anything like the same extent.
  10. Gruffyd, seeing as you apparently know what the stats are, please share them with us. Personally I'm not sure how contacting the tourist board would help, since many holiday lets are done through private agencies, and as you point out there will be some that are never let at all. I know the owners of three holiday homes, one in Wales, two in Cumbria. All are let out as often as the owners can manage. I notice you don't refute my assertion that holiday lets bring income into an area from outside. I have some sympathy with you as far as Wales is concerned. When I first started thinking about buying a holiday let I did look in N Wales. However, six months of reading the local papers convinced me that I was wasting my time. Leaving aside the virulence of the anti-English sentiment, it was the sheer small-mindedness and inwardlooking nature of the area as expressed in the papers that made me think it wasn't a place where I wanted to own a house. Then there's the issue of the language. It's widely spoken in N Wales, and not just by the old codgers. I wouldn't want to be responsible, even to the smallest degree, for diluting that culture, even though I believe that the main reason Welsh speakers are leaving the area is because of the lack of jobs and other exciting metropolitain things that young people like. There's plenty of affordable property in Bangor, by the way.
  11. I think you're right. Like many people on here I've been saying "it can't go on forever" for the best part of a decade. The fact that it has confounded intelligent speculation doesn't mean to say the bears won't be right eventually. On the holiday house front generally - 1. As I've demonstrated higher up this thread, the fact that people are complaining about a shortage of affordable housing in an area doesn't mean - at least not in the area I know about, Cumbria - that there actually is one. What there is is a shortage of affordable housing with a stream at the bottom of the garden and a nice view of hills. That's not the same thing, and not the heart-string tugger the complainers would like us to believe. 2. The idea that there are thousands of empty holiday homes which could be occupied by locals is a myth. Until someone shows me the figures I prefer to believe the evidence of people I know whose holiday homes are let out up to 50 weeks of the year bringing outsiders' money into places whose only industries are tourism. Why would anyone leave their house vacant when they can let it for £500 per week? And has anyone on this site actually been to the areas of rural Wales away from the Snowdonia honeypots where the English tourist daren't venture? The word "dead" springs to mind. 3. What pushes young locals out is not the the lack affordable housing. Its lack of jobs and lack of nightlife. Young people want to get pissed, get laid and go to gigs, and the Young Farmers' just isn't quite what they had in mind. It's a decision they make long before they start thinking about buying a house. I've met several people in the last year around Cumbria (all taking advantage of the booming property market by selling up for exorbitant sums) who told me that their kids have left home and won't be coming back. The refrain is, "There's nothing here for them". I realise that many on this site are would-be FTBs who cast around for people to blame for their predicament, and that holiday home owners are an obvious target. IMO the case is a dodgy one. As a proportion of the total housing stock the numbers are very small, much smaller than BTL. What has done for the young is an era of high housing demand caused by a culture of property ownership and significant immigration, the last of which has kept wage inflation down and interest rates low. If that's anyone's fault it's the Government's. Personally I'm just trying to put together a pension.
  12. I think that's not quite right. Sure, there's an increasing number of losers - ie, those who can't get on the property ladder - but there's also a corresponding increase in the winners - ie, those who are buying BTLs and 2nd homes. As for discontent, yes, there's plenty of that. But IMO it'll have to get a lot more vocal before HMG will do anything serious about it. And don't forget that proposals to liberalise the planning laws and tax second home owners aren't necessarily vote winners either. Just a thought - when I bought my first flat in 1987 it seemed like an awful lot of money. When I bought my first house in 1994 it seemed like an awful lot of money. When I bought my second house in 1998 - but you know what I'm going to say. It's the same now I'm buying my third house. Bricks and mortar cost.
  13. What this boils down to is that people who have more money are buying houses that the people who have less money would have liked to buy if only they'd had more money. Welcome to the world of capitalism. I wonder how many contributors to this site said, "No, I'm not going to buy that cheap computer or that £4 pair of jeans because in doing so I would be exploting the inequalities capitalism throws up". Not many. There are winners and losers under the present system. Those in the UK who can't afford to buy one house (in a good, attractive or OK area!) let alone two are currently losers. On the whole though they are a great deal better off than the losers who're working their butts off in the far east for 50p a week to make the consumer goods - like the computers we're using all using today - the angry would-be buyers on this site enjoy.
  14. So the cry is not "I can't afford a roof over my head in Cumbria". It's "I can't buy a house in a part of Cumbria that's attractive or good or OK ". Since when has there been a right to such a thing? Can't you just buy one of the hundreds of affordable houses in a part of Cumbria that's not attractive or good or OK and thank your lucky stars you don't live in Darfur or the Lebanon?
  15. Quenkish - go to Rightmove and search for properties in Cumbria for less than £100k. You will find there are more than 500 for sale.
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