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About rentingtechie

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  1. It took you 4 posts for you to [try] to tear me to shreds and expose me as a troll? I've been on this site, generally lurking since 2008 with an occasional post. Yes, back in 2009 I was earning good money, saving plenty every month and looking for a place to invest, and there was FA that looked good. A year later I was made redundant and so started a company. That also explains the silence for most of the last several years - I've been working very hard. You might also like to know I attempted TWICE to start a NEW THREAD, but for whatever reason the mods decided to put the post on the end of this thread. I'm not particularly happy about that - but perhaps they just figured "oh this must be a joke". On the name change: Being a long time lurker and occasional poster here, I went ahead and posted on 118, as I also mentioned on the other 118-oriented thread. I posted 4 times there, attempting be factual and reasonable but they obviously weren't interested, and my account is now disabled. I posted as "Actual Entrepreneur" initially, then changed to "Technology Entrepreneur" to be slightly less in your face with the username. I also got somewhat uncomfortable about having that name on 118 be so easily linked to my username here which was in fact my real name. I no longer wish to use my real name here. So it was changed to something related but different to the 118 username. Guess what - you've just been an a***hole to an actual person who's been a long-time member of the site and is not a troll. It's pathetic how certain people here wheel out "troll" as you do. It's on par with what 118 did. It's about time you stopped calling everyone troll. So - anyone interested?
  2. Hi, I posted on 118, and have now apparently been disabled, so now cannot respond to being accused of being a troll, disparaging renters (I'm one and have been all my life) and various other things. Oh well, so much for debate. One of the things that's very clear is they are organising themselves very well and are going all out on emailing associations, MPs, cabinet members etc. Mark Alexander apparently has been invited to a focus group to discuss the tax policy. They are building serious clout. Sadly however, they don't seem to have much knowledge of economics. Here - we have some excellent economic and political thinkers, but by and large all we do is whine and moan to each other. Every now and then when someone emails an MP it often falls short of well-reasoned and well-presented arguments and often makes silly comments and attacks or otherwise paints us as some wacko fringe. I don't know about you but I'm not really interested in that. I've long since stopped caring all that much about a "house price crash" per se, but I keep coming back because of the broad alternative viewpoints and excellent treatment of economics that appears from time to time. However, just watching this latest thing play out - maybe it's time to learn a lesson from the 118 folks and get organised? Or do we want to just let them scream the loudest and skulk off feeling hard done by if they get the policy reversed? Even if they fail on this particular point, they are going to be able to use this campaign as a platform to build influence and connections to use in the future. Then what? What can we do? Publish a policy paper? Email our MPs the same? Get media attention? Anyone interested in pursuing this?
  3. Hi folks - long-time lurker but I figured I'd post over on 118. I suspect my post won't last long, but here's what I wrote: -- Guys this is really simple: George Osborne has changed tax policy to discourage BTL investment and in turn promote 2 other things: 1. Owner Occupation 2. Productive Business Investment First - the government wants to promote owner occupation. Why? Because it brings stability. Homeowners buy furniture, fridges, ovens, lawnmowers etc. Homeowners improve their properties over time and generally maintain a higher standard of housing than landlords. They run for council offices, they join school boards, they volunteer. All of these are good things, and homeowners do a lot more of them than renters. Some of that is because of natural variations in life stages - middle-age married people vs. young and single, but renting delays people settling down and getting married, and regardless of age, does not promote stability and community ties. Second - the government wants to promote more productive business investment. Ultimately that means companies that are creating valuable intellectual property and/or innovative products, creating new jobs, and exporting. That's what makes the country richer, it's that simple. The UK operates in a global economy and other countries are furiously working on doing these things - we have to compete. Even amongst a whole load of decent businesses providing decent jobs the thing that counts the most by far is being a net exporter. That's what truly matters to the UK economy. So where does BTL fit? BTL adds very little to the country's economy. You may gain, but the country doesn't. I would guess the job creation and employment taxes paid by a BTL landlord per 100K of turnover are an order or magnitude lower than in other small businesses. That's not much good. That's then compounded by you reducing and/or deferring taxes in a way that is not at all useful for the Treasury. And you don't export anything - you can't. All the "we provide a valuable service" talk is a smokescreen - in BTL you keep a disproportionately high amount of the gains, and pay a disproportionately low amount of tax versus other business endeavours. Stop and think for a moment and I'm sure many of you will recall that's why you got into it in the first place. I'll be perfectly honest, I setup a business, I work ridiculously hard, and I find it incredibly annoying watching people make money passively through BTL and contributing next to nothing to the country's finances. I put £50K of my own money into a business that employs 7 others in a highly-skilled area, and approximately 1/2 of our turnover is derived from services to US companies. Surely THAT's what George Osborne wants? When I think of the money sitting around in some of your bank accounts or the equity that could be freed up to invest I think of all the new jobs that could be created and the innovation and exporting that could come from using that money in more productive ways and it irks me to know it's not doing any of those things. So - if you've got a decent amount to invest and you want to look for good, productive, tax-advantaged investments, why not look at where HMRC does in fact encourage you to invest? There are some excellent tax breaks available for investment into startups and small businesses: https://www.gov.uk/seed-enterprise-investment-scheme-background https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-enterprise-investment-scheme-introduction/enterprise-investment-scheme (you may want to look at the "qualifying trades" part to see what kinds of businesses HMRC likes and doesn't like) If you feel like getting started: http://www.ukbusinessangelsassociation.org.uk/ https://www.seedrs.com/ (no, I'm not affiliated) In summary - you've had a good run. The rules have changed. It's now time to restructure, sell some or all of your properties, and invest in more productive parts of the economy. Many of you should be sitting on some healthy gains from this good few years you've had, meaning you have a good amount to invest - those who don't, well you've been doing something wrong. So what's the problem?
  4. Not that I'm especially in favour of the measure, but the "taxes" they speak of are probably just property taxes. In the US "PITI" is a standard acronym to describe the components of your monthly housing payment - principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Your mortgage payment may actually include all of this, and the servicing company will pay out the taxes and insurance. Or not - depends on how it's setup. But it's all considered in the monthly cost for loan qualification etc., as if you stop paying any of those items you're either in default (for principal & interest) or the authorities can take the home (for taxes - and they win over the bank in that situation) or the home isn't insured (and of course the bank wants to know it's security is covered). Thinking about it, I'd rather this where at least the program is capped than the SMI over here.
  5. Actually I agree with your first 2 points. Renewables are being pushed too much without enough corresponding investment in storage technologies. There is a fundamental problem in terms of compatibility. Rather than ignoring that on 1 side and making too much of a fuss about it on the other (in my opinion at least!), why not get on with the business of solving it? And I'm very pro-nuclear given the fact that we need cheap energy to support our economy. Folks need food and shelter - that requires transportation and paying for all that requires jobs. All that needs energy. The next 100 years of energy needs won't likely be met by fossil fuels and renewables at an acceptable price point (i.e. not catastrophically damaging to our economies to the point that economic collapse causes folks to die). So yes, we need to build nuclear. Again - the arguments at the extremes are diverting people's resources from what we should really be doing - improving nuclear technology past it's current state which is largely stuck in the 1940-50s and then getting on and building them. I don't agree that there's no point in having windmills though. Free energy is a pretty damn good thing to have no matter when you get it, where you get it or how much of it you can get...
  6. I always find it interesting when this debate comes up. Surely the answer, and the giant elephant in the room that no one ever mentions, is to research energy storage technology? Wind and solar power are excellent at generating electricity with very little marginal pollution or cost - direct or indirect. Yes there are pollution and costs associated with their production/commissioning and decommissioning but those will come down over time as materials and procedures advance. But from what I can see the giant hole in energy research strategy is energy storage. Wind and solar aren't much use feeding directly into the grid because their generation patterns are very difficult to control and don't match demand. So we need a suitable storage mechanism to smooth their power delivery. The only thing that people seem to be looking at much at all is combined wind/solar/hydro (which is good to a point - but rather restricted by geography) but I think the reality is we need far more research into storage and control systems/algorithms that will allow wind and solar sources to integrate better into the grid. Local or community-scale mechanical or hydro-mechanical seems to be a good contender to me... (arrgh I'm sooooooooooo tired of hearing that wind and solar don't work because their generation patterns are variable)
  7. Ok, this might be a completely silly idea, but upon reading the thread about Barclays paying 7% interest on deferred bonuses I just thought of a way we could get out of this absurd situation with the banks. We should auction banking licenses like we do RF spectrum or NY does with taxi medallions. Get the banks to pay massive amounts of money for the privilege of being allowed to setup a lucrative banking business. Imagine if we said that starting in say 2015 there would be say 5 banking licenses available in the UK. Auction them over a 90 day period - whoever pays the most gets the license. The ones who don't would have to wind their businesses down or merge with a winner etc. They'd all try to outbid each other and probably pay far more than we get out of them in taxes. Straight into the treasury with no funny business (hmmm, well they'd find some way...) We'd still have competition. We could have some rules like 1 or 2 licenses would be reserved for a bank with holdings below some value, so that it wasn't just the obvious top banks who got to continue. We could make them 3 year or 5 year licenses or something like that and get a nice recurring revenue stream. Then all the other banks who keep threatening to leave us could just - well... umm - go ahead and LEAVE. Yippee!! Anyway, food for thought... I'm sure there are a million reasons it wouldn't work but it's nice to think about a world with a very different banking landscape.
  8. Yeah - I know about that side of things. Part of the reason I'm still just watching and waiting. As the finances suffer and people are desparate to rent apartments out, pretty low quality tenants come in, plus I hear there's talk of property taxes going up too right? Still, I would guess it could be a good time to buy sometime in the next 2-3 years. It's a good site for keeping an eye on things if you read the comments on the blog posts (and take a lot of it with a grain of salt).
  9. I think Florida could be a very good purchase. I moved to the US when I was 12, and lived there for 20 years, but now work in London. Even in a very good job, being able to afford a place here seems a long way away. I like Miami myself, this site might be useful: http://www.miamicondoinvestments.com/
  10. I think doing an engineering degree is still a good choice as you'll get more education in the time you're in university since the courses are more challenging. Good training in maths and logic and other topics generally of use in technical fields is always going to serve you well. I don't know about actually working as an engineer though. I studied Mechanical Engineering, but in the first year of my course came to the conclusion that it was too light on computer experience in the university so looked for part time work that would give me that experience (this was in 1991 - early-ish days of CAD/CAM etc.). As luck would have it in my second year, IBM came to campus to find college students to become support engineers - this was back when they were cutting people left and right - cheap labour for them and great experience for me. At graduation, I watched other folks in the course try to get the few actual mechanical engineering jobs that paid peanuts, and people fighting to get the consulting or investment banking jobs (tough compared to the business school grads), but just told my boss "I'll be ready to work full-time in May..." and with a bit of overtime was making $50-70k a year from graduation (yes, it was in the US). From then until a few years ago I stayed in IT/computing, moved into consulting still doing programming and project management and had a pretty good career. In the last decade there have been ups and downs with the dot-com crash and outsourcing, but in the grand scheme of things it's still been pretty good. Strangely now I'm in advertising, in a management role in a digital advertising agency - and it looks like an even better place to be. Combined technical and managerial talent is short in general, and unbelievably short in the advertising industry. If you are techncial, from day one you should look to be developing your non-technical skills as that is where the real money is. If you get business in general, you're golden. No matter what anyone says about management, if you're a good manager that's how you get paid the most. (I find it odd this idea that "management" is a career path - to me it's something that comes to you as you get better at doing - you end up managing the doers). If you have technical abilities, IT is a no-brainer at least for the money. It's not sexy, it's devoid of females, but it'll make you good money and then you can get on with living your life outside of work. Go ahead, do the mechanical engineering degree, and then put it to use in a better field.
  11. It seems to me to be a fairly simple game theory exercise a la the prisoner's dilemma... All the banks know they're screwed - including the BoE. They have assets that are currently on the balance sheet at a certain amount, and in reality they are worth less than that. So everyone knows they need to climb down from the current valuations - the question is how much and crucially, how fast. The banks are maximising short term income with the interest rate spread - this controls how fast they can writedown assets. A few percent a quarter is ok since they can pretty much balance those losses with the increased income. Faster than that and they start getting in trouble - reducing their capital on paper and having to find extra money to fill in these holes - but this extra money isn't around, anywhere (other than what's being QE'd into existence). If any 1 bank starts writing stuff down "too fast" then that forces other banks to have to write down faster too - and the whole thing snowballs out of control - the Lehman scenario. At the right pace, the losses just continue filter through the system at a manageable rate. Fundamentally, the BoE and in fact all governments and central banks around the world want to maintain stability so basically everyone's complicit in this. It's a balance of how they can slow the process down and still look like it's legit. It really is just a giant game. I expect we've got 5 years or so of this before we get to banks that are really healthy again, based on appropriate asset valuations.
  12. I live there now - in Rotherhithe in the Pacific Wharf building next to the Old Salt Inn. It's ok, too quiet for me with as you say with very few cafes/restaurants/bars/signs of urban life of any form. It's suburbs in near-central London - not a bad thing at all for many folks, but not quite my thing. It's basically a 10 minute walk from any part of the Rotherhithe peninsula to Canada Water tube. Decent bus connections too. You should note that the water taxi is not much use though - there's no stop out here except the Hilton, which is just a shuttle over to West Ferry if you want to pick up the main service. There's no actual river taxi stop on the south side of the Thames until London Bridge.
  13. I live in Bermondsey at the moment - Rotherhithe Street in the fugly eyesore that is Pacific Wharf which is currently undergoing the country's largest NHBC repair project so covered in scaffolding and plastic wrap. It's a pretty nice area, kinda suburban corner in the middle of London. If you want peaceful it's pretty good, although personally I prefer it a bit more lively. The Thames path is pretty nice, can't say there's much wrong with this section of the path. I'm paying £320/wk for a 2 bed, although that would probably be £50/wk more if the building wasn't in the middle of a huge repair project. It's direct riverfront so that also adds to it. A regular 1-bed in the area would probably indeed rent for £250-325/week depending on exact location and quality. Buying is still more expensive than it should - 20x annual rent or so. Another nice area to look is around Greenland dock - even more peaceful in many respects and closer to Tesco. Bits of Bermondsey still look pretty shitty to me though. Near Canada Water there are lots of nice places, and obviously Shad THames, but in between it's not great. The places at Bermondsey Spa seem absurdly expensive to me, but I'm pretty anti-new build anyway as I think the developers rip you off. The place I'm in sold for I think £330k originally, it'd probably still list for £350-400k now and obviously it's only sustaining ~£20k annual rent. Still a good 40-50% overpriced in my book relative to rent, and very little appreciation in 8 years. BTW if you do want to buy here it's probably actually a pretty good buy as when the NHBC work is complete in about a year it should help support prices. I'm pretty sure there are a couple of flats for sale and I imagine there a pretty hard sell at present.
  14. Yep - I'm in the same situation. I now have what would amount to a fairly sizeable deposit, but am not sure at all I want to use it to purchase property. So at the moment it's just sitting there in the bank doing nothing useful. Sad to say, at the moment the best return looks to be BTL, unless I can find a suitable business opportunity to invest in. I don't think any of the normal investment routes offered/managed by the financial services industry are very attractive as either the investments are still over-inflated or I just don't trust the managers. I would love to invest in a small company I know, but my hands are tied by my current employment agreement, so I'm still trying to work out what to do. It may well be that I just keep saving for another couple of years. It does seem a bit ridiculous to have a 5- and soon 6-figure sum just sitting in cash when it could be helping to build the economy, but I guess that's how it is. Still checking used Ferrari prices now and then though...
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