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thegirlfrommarz

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  1. Has anyone else noticed a sudden sharp jump in prices in Oxford recently? I still get the Rightmove email through, and asking prices seem to have suddenly become very "optimistic". Will be interested to see what people are actually paying when the land registry figures come out. For example, this one has been on the market since March 2009, so what has the seller done? Increase the price from £450k to £600K, of course. Also, it's hideous.
  2. Hi Alexj, It does seem that your landlord is taking advantage of your good nature to do things at times that are convenient to him. You shouldn't have to cancel your family's plans so that your landlord can do repairs. I'm not a lawyer, so none of this is legal advice - just what I would do if I were in your situation: I would suggest that you write your landlord a polite letter (keep a copy!) to state what you've said here - that you don't want non-emergency repairs being booked for the weekend (NO exceptions) and that you need 24 hours' notice before he can come round to do repairs, and only if you agree that it's convenient for you! That will at least give you a baseline where you reasserted what you expect of him. Then log every time he ignores your written request and turns up with no warning or tries to arrange work for a weekend. Do you have a contract? If so, does it have a clause about repairs and how much notice the landlord has to give you? You will also need to start telling your landlord no when he arranges things for the weekend; otherwise he can just ignore you with no consequences. Tell the painter that you haven't agreed to him painting the windows on Saturday and he should not come - and if he does turn up, you won't let him in (and don't let him in if he does come!). If the painter is annoyed, he should take it up with the landlord, not you. If your landlord shows up with no notice, tell him you are busy and he can't do the work now; he'll need to rearrange a time for the repair during the week with you as per your letter. DON'T let him in! It will probably be very stressful and just as disruptive as if you'd let him do the work at first, but unless you actually stick to your guns, your landlord will continue to get the work done at the weekend and in the evening on mates' rates, as it's cheaper and easier for him and he knows you won't stop him. You've got into a pattern of letting him get away with it, and you will need to draw a line and stick to it if you want his behaviour to change. He also shouldn't be storing stuff in your garden. He can't treat your home like a storage unit. Again, I would ask him politely to take his stuff away and let him know in writing that you don't want him to store his things in the property. If that doesn't stop him, your next step is probably the CAB.
  3. My parents sold their North Oxford house to a financial industry type moving from London so his son could go to the Dragon (just round the corner from where my parents lived). He had a large family house in London which he was keeping and was purchasing this one a year before his son actually started at the Dragon. He tried to rent the house for £5K pcm after my folks moved out, but got no takers until he dropped the rent to £3.5K pcm. He was also unbelievably cheap about the furnishings and tried to offer my mum £400 for all the (custom-made for the large bay windows) curtains, which were worth upwards of £2K and would have cost him much more than that to buy new. I do agree that salary isn't the main way people are funding these house purchases at the very top end. Most of them aren't sold to people who have to get mortgages - the people who came to view my parents' house were mostly cash buyers. It's a good illustration of the divide that's grown up between the super-rich and the rest of us: When I was a kid and grew up on that street, it was full of young middle-class families. The parents had good jobs and both of them worked, but they were still doing the kind of jobs (GPs, lawyers etc.) that are within the scope of most people's ambitions. Most of the kids went to the state schools. Now the street is divided between older couples who have lived there for c. 30 years and who are moving out gradually as they start to downsize or extraordinarily rich families, often with inherited money, who send their children to the Dragon and buy their houses with £1m+ of cash. The sort of young families who used to live there when I was growing up couldn't possibly afford to live there now.
  4. easybetman - what on earth are you talking about?? There is no such road as Windmill Lane in Headington (it's Windmill Road) and some of the roads to the east of Windmill Road are some of the nicest in Headington (Ramsay Road, for example). The most expensive bits of Headington are probably Sandfield Road and Staunton Road, but they're way above BuyInOxford's price range. Marston is certainly less desirable than the nice bits of Headington - what part of Oxford do you live in?? BuyInOxford - I would avoid Barton, Rose Hill, Blackbird Leys (and Greater Leys) as they are pretty dodgy areas. Anywhere in North Oxford is good, but you won't be able to afford more than a flat. You're probably going to have to look outside Oxford with £175K budget as you'll be lucky to get a house for that in a good area. Abingdon is nice enough. Try some of the villages - ones with good bus or rail links in to Oxford will be pricier, but it's generally worth it (traffic into Oxford during rush hour can be hideous). Kidlington is okay and has shops (again, not sure what easybetman is talking about!), not to mention excellent bus links into the centre of Oxford via the 7A/B and the 2. Somewhere like this in Eynsham might suit: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-26797291.html The vendors put it up from £170K to £199K in July, but it has not been on the market long, so if they find they aren't getting offers they might be willing to come down in price.
  5. I moved to another part of the country about 3-4 years ago, so I'm out of the loop on the market - rented the house out at first, then sold it when I decided I wasn't going to move back. So I haven't really been tracking the Cambridge market since I sold, and was really shocked by the asking prices. I'll be interested to see what the next batch of Land Registry data says. I've been seeing something similar in Oxford (where I live now), with Land Registry data showing a low number of actual sales at prices c. 10% below asking prices, but asking prices for new instructions on a seemingly-inexorable upward trend. I don't understand where this is coming from. Shortage of decent properties leading to bidding wars on the few sensibly-priced ones? Ability of sellers to hold on for more money due to low mortgage rates meaning fewer *have* to sell? General perception that house prices are rising leading to higher asking prices across the board? Some kind of mass delusion?? Interesting that it's happening in both Cambridge and Oxford, so it's not just a local phenomenon.
  6. What's going on in Cambridge?? I've just been looking at current asking prices on the streets around where I used to live (in the Mill Road area). I put my 2-bed terrace on the market in October 2007 (signed off details with agents the week before Northern Rock ) for £275K and sold it in Jan 2008 after dropping the price to £250K fairly quickly. Now similar houses in the surrounding area are all on the market for £275K-£295K, yet looking at Nethouseprices.com, the best price anyone's achieved since the time when I sold is c. £235K. So why on earth are the houses all going on at over peak prices? It doesn't make any sense. Where are these valuations coming from, if no one's actually paying that kind of money? It could be a lag due to Land Registry data being available months behind the market, but it still seems to be a huge jump.
  7. Hi MacGuffin, Has anyone actually spoken to the problem tenant about the noise? I know chances are he/she has had people round knocking on the door asking them to keep the noise down hundreds of times, but just thought I'd ask since you didn't actually say whether or not they had. I'd caution against going in too aggressively when you talk to your property manager and landlord company. You want them to help you out and it sounds like they are sympathetic and on your side at the moment. However, you do need to be assertive and make sure they are taking action. Keep this at the top of their agenda. I think you're doing the right thing in gathering support from other residents. If enough of you complain, the managing agent will have to do something about the situation. As you say, the fact that your landlord owns a lot of properties in this building gives them a lot of clout so if you can get them to lean on the managing agent, something should happen. The council are apparently very good at dealing with these things, but I haven't called them out. Look at your council website and look up noise abatement or environmental health. One thing I did learn recently (when my neighbours were doing a loft conversion and starting work at 7.30am on Sundays right next to my head) is that you are not allowed to make noise between 11pm and 7am and there is no consideration for weekends when people might want to sleep in! My local council's page on noisy neighbours has lots of useful advice, and I'm sure yours has something similar too: http://www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decER/Neighbour_nuisance_occw.htm In the meantime while you're getting it sorted out, I can recommend these earplugs: http://www.britishsnoring.co.uk/shop/snore_calm_foam_ear_plugs.php They are absolutely brilliant. When I had noisy neighbours, it made a huge difference being able to block out enough noise to get some sleep. These block out pretty much everything and don't hurt my ears (which are pretty sensitive).
  8. Shirehall Properties claims the area has become “run-down” in recent years Oh, I LOVE this. I am sitting in my office just around the corner from this building. Yes, it's SO "run down" in Jericho, with its posh delis (Gluttons/Taylors), expensive hairdressers (Mahogany), overpriced pubs (Jericho Tavern, much though I love it), boutique clothes shops and so on. It's just like Skid Row out on Walton Street. Shirehall Properties: don't talk to me again until the newly-vacant Hobbs shop becomes a Poundland.
  9. Nice house, neiloxford - much better value for money than the place my ex and I were renting in Headington for £1400pcm (although it did have off-street parking and a large garden, which were our two must-haves, and which this place doesn't have). Just after we took the rented place, rents went through the roof and people were asking for £2,500pcm for a two-bed terraced house on Observatory Street, which seemed absolutely ridiculous - glad things are more sensible now! Anyone under 30 has been royally shafted and the ageing population wants to maintain the status quo at pretty much any expense. People like me got a free ride on a false economic boom almost from the start of my career to a point where I don't even need to work and have many times more in assets than I've even earned. And I'm just the tip of the iceberg Not just those under 30, though, fallingbuzzard. I have friends in their mid-30s who initially didn't buy because they couldn't afford it on the kind of salaries they were getting early in their career. Then they didn't buy because prices were so stupid that they thought things must be about to turn and they would have had to take out liar loans to get a mortgage - this was from about 2005 onwards. At that point some of my friends started predicting things were going to crash and saying they were going to stay out, but by the time things finally started looking dodgy with the Northern Rock nationalisation in late 2007, they had lived through years of ramping and as soon as their salaries went up enough that they might think about buying, the market jumped up out of reach again. My sensible friends, who didn't have help from the Bank of Mum and Dad like I did, didn't want to borrow more money than they could afford to pay back if interest rates changed, so they didn't take on 125% mortgages or self-cert their way to a bigger loan. Now we're bailing out the banks that got us into this mess, propping up the stupidly-overpriced housing market (and I am genuinely torn about what to do about people whose houses are due to be repossessed - on the one hand, they should be helped to stay in their homes; on the other hand, people who were sensible about their money are still getting shafted because the housing market still hasn't had the correction it is due), and basically this is all being done at the expense of everyone who acted responsibly with their money. That doesn't seem right to me. /rant Ah, that feels better!
  10. I don't know if the Cambridge Accommodation Notice Board is still as popular as it once was, but when I lived in Cambridge I often found people to share houses and privately rented properties through it: http://www.brettward.co.uk/canb/index.html This was c. 2002, so there weren't so many online resources for house hunters, so it might well have become less popular as people advertise elsewhere, but it might be worth putting up a Wanted ad on here (and Gumtree!).
  11. Tom, if you want to get to London easily, you'd be better off in Headington (unless you're really wedded to going by train) - the Oxford Tube and Espress bus services between Oxford and London are excellent, and being in Headington means you're close to the A40/M40 out towards London if you drive. Obviously, at rush hour the bus takes forever because it goes through central London, but it's fine at the weekends and at off-peak times and runs all through the night. Having said that... I work in Jericho and it is a lively area - Headington is pretty dull in comparison. The Cowley Road has a lot going on (that can be a good and bad thing, as when my friend who lives off the Cowley Road had a crack addict on her roof throwing tiles at the police...) and is home to a lot of students. If you're young and single and looking for excitement on your doorstep, I would recommend Jericho or the Cowley Road ahead of Headington and Summertown, as the latter are generally more family-oriented neighbourhoods. Prices will be higher in Jericho than the Cowley Road area, but I think they will probably be more likely to hold up (or at least decline less badly) as Jericho appeals to families more than East Oxford and is better located. If you do go for Jericho, make sure that your house has the right to on-street parking (sounds ridiculous, but a friend of mine found that she didn't). What kind of prices are Jericho terraces at the moment? When I last looked they were c. £350K-£450K.
  12. I've lived in both (grew up in Oxford, lived in Cambridge for 13 years, moved back to Oxford 3 years ago) and I prefer Oxford. Cambridge is great, but it feels cramped - Oxford feels more spacious, with wider streets. It's also good being more central - it's much easier to get to somewhere in the west of England/Wales than it was when I lived in Cambridge.
  13. Just completed on my house! Can pick up the keys later and will go round to see it later tonight. Had a chat with my neighbour yesterday, who said she thought I was lucky to have bought at the right time as prices seemed to be going up again. She was very confused when I said I expected them to fall further once public sector cuts kicked in and interest rates rose!
  14. Oh dear, I really hope s/he hasn't gazumped fallingbuzzard... I got into a bidding war on the house I'm buying, despite having told myself I wouldn't be dragged into it in a falling market. Would have preferred to stay on in my rented place for another 6 months, but the landlords said 12 months or nothing, so had to make the decision and chose to buy as (ridiculously) it was cheaper for me than renting. I move out in three weeks and they haven't found another tenant yet - what a shame .
  15. £520K for a 3-bed??? I know it's Staunton Road, but even so... http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sa...y-12726390.html Plus according to Property Bee (see attached), it went on at £500K and then they put the price up £20K!
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