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About gratefulbear

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  1. I don't know how long your commute takes at the moment (I guess if you're living in the South-East you may be used to driving for 45-60mins) but I wouldn't recommend driving into Manchester from anywhere outside the M60 (and certainly not as far out as Frodsham). Even from Altrincham it can take ages; the main routes from south Manc - Chester Rd, Kingsway and Princess Parkway - can be an absolute nightmare. It's not too bad from Didsbury or Chorlton but I'm not sure what you'd get for £250k in the nicer parts of those two (and you wouldn't want to live in the rougher parts of either). If I was to commute into Manchester I would either take the Metrolink or live close to a (main) railway link. Admitedly I don't know how regular the normal trains are, but I am sure they cater well for commuters. (I think Macc to Piccadilly takes about 1/2hour so anywhere on that route would work quite well. Once you get onto the minor routes you'll be talking an hour though). The Metrolink is extremely regular though. (Of course it depends on where you work in Manchester as well, but you're unlikely to be too far from a Metro stop)
  2. There's definitely a whiff of desperation with some of those. Obviously developers are getting very nervous (I remember the 1.75m development starting, and that was ages ago - they've got to be needing to sell) . Problem is I guess they still need to come down another 20-30% (or more) - again if we go back to 2001 prices a lot of the stuff that is on at £1.5-1.75m would probably have been around the £1m level (maybe less - the £1m level used to be quite a psychological barrier until recently), the £2-3m stuff more like £1.5 or so.
  3. I'm in the position that I'm kind of stranded in what I consider the middle ground i.e. fairly decent mid-sized property (think decent sized (not huge) semi/smaller detatched on smallish plot) but would like something if only slightly bigger, but certainly with a bigger plot, possibly slightly more convenient location (I've always disregarded the ultra high end (1.5m+)of the market). At peak prices say if my current house would have gone for 700-800k what I would have wanted would have been 1-1.2m. At my age I didn't want to take on another 3-400k mortgage commitment (esp. given my view that prices needed to fall). Now if we revert to 2000/2001 prices I would only have £150k +/- and I would be tempted to jump. This is why I have been interested in how quickly we find the bottom of the market. I think as time goes on we are going to see small houses/large plots becoming available again. I remember there being quite a few of these pre-2000. Apparently since then most were only ever briefly on the market (if at all) since they were prime fodder for developers and were snapped-up. Now that there is no longer a guaranteed profit, I don't think it will happen as much. I know what you mean about the no-man's-land. I'm not entirely convinced what makes the 2.5m properties worth 1m more than the 1.5m one. Sure, they will have ultra-high end fittings, but I'm sure you can get a lot of great kit for a few hundred grand! (To answer my own question, the difference is called "profit for the developer")
  4. I have to say that's it really does look like prices are starting to reach a reasonable level. When these houses pass back through the £500k barrier, then I think we'll be looking at approaching the bottom of the decline and a return to long-term average prices. What I would say though, is that if the mid-range stuff is now going for around 600k, it makes the £1.5m+ start to look very expensive. It will be interesting to see what these go for over the next few months (if they sell at all) I wouldn't discount a bit of a "sucker bounce" though if interest rates stay low - I'm sure there are a few people waiting in the wings with itchy fingers.
  5. I agree that the "wait-and-see" strategy is actually the wrong position to take if prices are falling - it's better to trade down when prices are still relatively high. However, a lot of people are still irrationally bullish about house prices and think that we are now at the bottom of the market - so they may be expecting prices to rise again. I think that in order to prices to bottom out quickly we would need a rise in inflation/interest rates/local unemployment to put more people in the position of having to sell. Even thought prices are lower (as Nomadd said), volumes are very low at the moment.
  6. Yes, if we take economic factors out of the equation, the demographics would predict a stagnation of local market over the next 5-10 years. As I have said previously, a lot of £1m+ houses are owned by people in their 50's/60's who have been there for quite a while i.e. mid 90's or earlier. Since they are probably financially secure, and "at the top of the food-chain" for the local area, they are not in any hurry to move. In fact (as Nomadd says) the most like strain on their finances is their 20-something kids. However as they get older, they are not going to want the hassle and expense of maintaining a large property (This especially applies to Hale where most of the larger semi's and detached are pretty old - like Bower Rd). But, I would agree that we are not really at that point just yet - the baby-boomers are only just coming up to retirement and are still pretty sprightly. (Not to mention that since houses aren't selling at the moment, there is a tendancy to wait-and-see if prices recover). It wouldn't surprise me if we see a lot of people wanting to trade down in another 5-10 years. (The problem for me is that in another 10 years if these sort of houses become relatively cheap, I'll be getting on a bit myself and would question whether such large high-maintenance properties are sensible - but again it's down to an accident of birth; it might well benefit the now 20/30-somethings who will be ready to trade up in another 10 years).
  7. It's funny you mention this. As I said in a previous post, I had quite an intersting chat with someone who used to live around here in the 60's and 70's. Apparently it was certainly not the prestigious location it is now - and was priced accordingly. To be honest though, you can tell by the type of property that was built in each era i.e. there was obviously money around here in around the turn of the previous century when a lot of the large Victorian houses in Hale and Bowdon were built and indeed it was prestigious (if quite sparsely populated) then. However if you look at what was built post WW1 up til probably the early 80's, it was pretty much commodity housing. Most of Hale Barns was bungalows/dormas, and even the new stuff in Hale itself and Bowdon is pretty boxy and utilitarian. There was even council housing at the bottom of Bowdon and the Timperley side of Hale. (Not that there's anything wrong with council housing, but it shows the area was not that exclusive in that period). Also the type of property that makes up Hale Village and the upper part of Bowdon (i.e. Georgian/Victorian/Edwardian) was apparently quite out of vogue in that period. People wanted characterless boxes! It's only really the late 80's onwards stuff that you would consider high-end developments expected to make up an exclusive area. Apparently everyone who was "aspirational" wanted to live in Prestbury and Alderley Edge in this middle period, Hale and Bowdon were seen as a step down. This is of course just one person's perspective, but it makes sense to me. (Forgot to say though, £80k was still pretty big bucks for a house in 1982!)
  8. This is what really puzzles me. Surely the basic principles of business dictate that in order for EA's to maximise their income stream, it makes sense to accept a lower level of commision for an increase in turnover of properties e.g. instead of a house taking a year to sell at £600k, is it not better to sell the house at £500k if it will go in 6 months (and then hopefully sell another in the nexxt 6 months)? Within reason, is quick turnover of properties always better? Obviously it is not as simple as that, otherwise prices would be much more elastic (if that's the right term - can't remember my economic terms). I suspect that although we mainly blame the EA's, the vendors are also at fault. I think it's human nature to be quite greedy, and years of house price inflation bring the worst out in people's attitudes and expectations. I guess that in above example if the vendor has two EA's giving valuations of £600k and £500k, they would almost certainly go with the former. Even if they believe the £600k is overpriced, they won't be able to resist taking a punt at that price in case some mug is willing to bite. Obviously when there are a large number of forced sellers, this no longer applies and both vendors and EA's have to accept the lower prices.
  9. I think there's got to be a few developers sitting on a real time-bomb at the moment. Again low interest rates must ease things a bit, but commercial loans often aren't particularly favourable. I can think of a couple of largish developments in the area which look quite vunerable. You wonder whether someone going in with an extremely cheeky low-ball offer might be able to grab a bargain off one of these guys. (Much bettter than trying the same with some semi-retired accountant who was considering downsizing but is quite happy to stay where he is anyway).
  10. This is actually a crucial point wrt Hale/Bowdon prices. If you look at any of the websites tracking actual sold prices, a lot of the properties that were being marketed in 2007 did not sell, or went for quite a bit below asking price. (In some ways the over-optimistic asking prices have perpetuated the belief that property is really expensive in the area). The odd one that did (plus the odd bling-pad that went for £2m+) will have increased the average sold price on a relatively low volume - which is of course the problem with any average price statistic, they don't reflect the relative volume of properties. The examples you just gave are interesting. I agree that 18months ago they would have been on much higher - but problably not sold. Kensington Gardens and Heald Close are funny in that although the houses are not that great to look at and not particularly spacious, they are in extremely good locations i.e. easy walking dsitance to Alt/Hale and nice quiet streets. I think such roads are always going to look a little overpriced (and effectively command a premium) compared to other similar one for those reasons - but they need to drop about another £200k. (I actually remember looking at Kensington Gardens back in 2000 - and yes they were about £400k - which seemed incredibly expensive at the time!). The one on Vicarage Lane has no such advatantage and is way overpriced - from the photos it looks like a possible development.
  11. The fact that properties have been sat on the market for a year or so just illustrates what an impasse we have reached. The problem is that although most people accept that the long-term market value of properties is significantly lower than the 2007 high, without the economic conditions precipitating a significant number of forced sales, they can't bring themselves to lower asking prices to a realistic level. I suspect the 40/50somethings with small mortgages are also quite used to sitting on a large pile of (unrealised) equity, and similarly not willing to let that go. Hence no movement. Interest rates may not stay low forever though! It's interesting that some of the properties you posted links to are developments. I have been watching the Park Rd and the Hale Rd houses. Neither are in my opinion particular great places. They are both "large house/small plot" and both pretty close to the main road. The original asking prices were quite frankly laughable. And to think they put up the price of the Hale Rd house I think they would have been pushing it even in 2007. You have to say their timing isn't the best. There may well be some bargains to be had from developers in trouble. Also, with quite a few people waiting to come back into the market, it wouldn't suprise me though if there is enough pent-up demand to create a "sucker bounce" followed by further decline. Ironically a recovery in the economy could trigger this.
  12. Missed your reply while typing my other post! I guess the big question is how much of a premium you are prepared to pay for a Hale address? I would agree with you that you will often get more "bang for your buck" in Timperley compared with Hale. Certainly at todays (still) inflated prices. If the prices were halved e.g. 90K and 140K that might be a bit more interesting? What I didn't say before is that I don't know any first time buyers who bought e.g. Terrace on Tree Rds for top dollar 1-2 years ago. These people might be feeling a little bruised at the moment - these were going for silly money at one point. Notwithstanding the help the low interest rates will be giving them, the negative equity must be stinging somewhat.
  13. This is one of my faves! There has been quite a degree of "boundary creep" around Hale and Bowdon. I know someone who used to live round here in the 60's/70's and moved away; they found it very amusing that much of what used to be Altrincham is now classed as Hale i.e. some of the "Tree Roads" and others off Hale Rd. Similarly the Altrincham/Bowdon border has blurred somewhat. When we talk about Hale proper I would consider the most "blue-chip" being the roads within walking distance of Hale Village - although obviously the roads off Arthog and further up are nice but not within that criteria. Once you go north of Hale Rd (Moss Lane/Grove Lane/Delahays Rd and off-shoots), it is much more patchy but this is where I'm not really sure if it's Hale anyway (although what is it when you go up Grove Lane, it's not really Timperley either?). Before someone accuses me of snobbery, there's nothing wrong with these area, but they contain a very different kind of property and lose a lot in conveniance and quaintness. But in fairness they are quite a bit cheaper - as seen in the examples given earlier in the thread. Similarly once you go east of Chapel Lane in Hale Barns, you are out of the desirable area. Most of Bowdon is pretty desirable. The area around the bottom of Vicarage Lane is perhaps the weakest part - but in fairness they've improved it quite a bit over the last few years. I fully agree that Hale Barns is where perhaps you are over-paying the most for the privilege of the address. I couldn't tell you exactly where Hale ends and Hale Barns starts. The roads on the Hale/Hale Barns border are some of the best in the area - think Hill Top, Hawley Lane, Broad Lane, Carrwood etc - but I think (with the exception of Carrwood) they are generally considered Hale. Other than Brooks Drive, Hasty Lane and the houses along Hale Rd itself, most of Hale Barns is pretty mediocre 30's-60's stuff - some of which has been tarted up a bit. What you don't get is the leafy roads or the ability to walk to nice bars and restaurants. Prices do reflect this compared with Hale or Bowdon, but as has been pointed out already, you have to ask yourself whether it would be better to find something in one of the better parts of Sale or Timperley. (I don't really know Bramhall well, but I understand it has the same relationship with Alderley Edge and Prestbury that Timperley has with Hale and Bowdon i.e. next step down the ladder but possibley more "bang for buck". Because of work I have never considered Wilmslow and it's surroundings as it is far less convenient for the motorway network and commuting)
  14. Hi Guys! Looks like this thread is becoming an update of the one from 6(?) months ago - complete with flaming Just to put forward my opinion (and I am not so arrogant as to consider my opinion as fact) - The big thing that has changed since the last thread is that we have comically low interest rates (and will do for the short to medium term unless things change dramatically). Last year my position was that prices will have to revert to approx 2001ish levels - the question was whether we were going to get a short, sharp shock or long protracted stagnation. It now is almost certainly the latter. I can only go off what my neighbours/colleagues etc are experiencing but even the ones who might be considered to have stretched themselves a bit have been given a repreive since their mortgage payments are £100s less than they were. (Ironically fate has favoured the reckless!). I don't mix with the "flash" crowd but the ones I know of aren't really struggling with their mortgage - there seem to be a lot of people keeping their cars longer though! I also need to redress the perception that Hale and Bowdon are filled with either "flash wannabes" or "old money". An awful lot of people are your normal mid-to-high end professionals who bought into the area when property (everywhere) was fairly cheap i.e. pre-1999. It's purely an accident of birth that a lot of the £1m-1.5m (2007 price) houses are owned by late 40/50 something proffessionals who paid 300-500k for these places 10-15 years ago. They're really not in any danger of becoming forced sellers unless interest rates rocketed wildly (as in the 90's). Similarly a lot of the mid-range of properties (500-1m at 2007 prices) tend to be owned by similar people in their mid30's/early 40's who bought late 90's early 00's - again not neccessarily with particularly large mortgages, and not really under pressure in this low-interest rate economy. What is really telling though is that I don't know anyone who is even contemplating upsizing/downsizing. Most people appear to be playing "wait and see" - and are under no pressure to do anything other. Before someone jumps down my throat, I an not saying prices in Hale & Bowdon will miraculously defy gravity, but as Red Kharma has stated there is a difference between the market value of houses being low, and there actually being a lot of houses on the market at cheap prices. Unless things change dramatically we are not going to be in the situation that apparently occurred in the 90's where there was a flood of good quality forced sales/repossessions - and when some people picked up great properties at real bargains. We're just not going to see mid 90's prices again. There is just going to be a gradual erosion of prices as the few people who need to sell come to the realization that they will have to accept the market value of their property. The upshot is that people waiting to buy are either going to have to wait quite a while to call the bottom of the market - which will be hard to spot when the curve is shallow, or bite the bullet, negotiate hard and factor in the amount of downside they are comfortable with. (Obviously buying at 30% off peak price and then losing another 10% or so if going to be more palatable than buying at the peak).
  15. Absolutely disagree on this one. I have no issue with someone being rewarded for their success, be they male/female working class/middle class/upper class provided they have some kind of skill/talent. Many athletes/sports people are from working class backgrounds - they certainly deserve the fruits of their labour. Similarly most rock stars come from humble beginings. What I find really depressing is that if you ask many kids these days what they want to be when they grow up, they reply "famous". OK Kerry Katona was for a short time in a girl band, but they were manufactured and did not write any of their own music. Since then she has merely been a "personality" who has sold her privacy and dignity to the tabloid press, who lap up any trivial detail of her life. I repeat, I do not blame her for doing this - provided you are prepared to give up said dignity and privacy, it's an easy way to make a living, and more importantly if it wasn't Kerry Ketona there would be some other stooge that the tabloids would lock on to. It is more an indictment of society that the public drive the interest in these people by buying the papers/magazines. BTW Better examples are Jordan and Jade Goody, since they don't seem to have any talent/skills whatsoever. I know you may feel there is an element middle-class intellectual snobbery in the previous posts, but it is a damn shame the country as whole does not celbrate more admirable personal qualities than e.q. in Jade's case uncommon stupidity or in Jordan's comical plastic surgery and self publicity. I can't see our returning olympic gold medallists (many of whom are female, some are working class) generating the same (long-term) tabloid interest. Point is of course they probably wouldn't want it, but their skills, sacrifices and dedication make them far better roll-models than Kerry Ketona.
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