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rockdoctor

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About rockdoctor

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  1. Order up a free sim from EE, 3 and Vodafone. Stick each one in the phone and see which gives the best signal. Find the best deal with that provider (or a reseller using the same network). I just did this for my mum - 3 was the best reception and price combo. She had never heard of them!
  2. I'm a (late) boomer, who accidentally did well out of the housing market; I came out of university (free in the good old days) in 1991 and managed to get a job in the Middle East (oil industry). Before I left I had been renting as a student for many years (did second degree while waiting for the oil industry to emerge from the doldrums) and had just about grasped the fact that there had been a house price boom in the eighties and that I was priced out forever (!) Anyway, I worked for three years in Oman, saving every penny i could, then came back to London in 1995. Rented for 6 months while I looked around and decided if it was possible to buy - and discovered that with my savings and new salary I had a reasonable choice of flats (I was completely unaware that there had been a house price crash in the meantime). So I bought a flat purely to live in, not realising until later that it had been at the very bottom of the market. I hated having debt, especially since the oil industry is very cyclical and insecure, so I didn't borrow the maximum possible, and I used all my savings to maximise the deposit. I then paid off the debt like crazy for the next 6 years with every spare penny (I'm no big spender). All very frugal and sensible, but what made me rich was the 157% increase in the value over the 6 years I owned it. I sold it mortgage-free, and in 2002 sunk all the loot into a terraced house within cycling distance of central London. Did the same again in that house; didn't borrow to the max, repaid as fast as possible (and finally killed off the mortgage with a lucrative redundancy payoff). I am now in a nice, extended, terraced Victorian house I cannot believe has such a gigantic price tag attached to it. A price I couldn't afford to pay now even with my bigger salary. I see huge forces of unfair wealth distribution building up, and resentment between generations. I look at my three kids and worry that they will never be able to afford the standard of living I was fortunate enough to have. Paradoxically, I can bail them out to an extent, but it would just be adding to the country's problems. Plus I need to build up a vast pot of accessible money for possible care home costs so that I am not a burden on them when I start rotting away. I'm paying a huge amount of tax, as are all my colleagues (PAYE means that there are few opportunities to avoid it - that's for the really rich, with accountants and lawyers), but none of the money seems to be doing much good where it matters - it's all vanishing into paying off the country's PFI and pension debts. We need to crash the property market for the longer-term good of the country, even though there will now be a period of intense pain for many as a result. Maybe it will be Brexit that triggers it, or maybe just the boomer generation dying off and flooding the market with unaffordable family homes. The sooner the better. I am not relying on the sale of my house to fund my retirement - I expect it to fall substantially at some point. But it will still be a nice place to live.
  3. Is that still true? I see people turning down jobs and suffering huge commutes to work after job changes rather than pay gigantic stamp duty bills. Similarly it now makes sense to do crazy things like dig out a basement floor under your house rather than move to a bigger one and pay a huge chunk of wedge to the govt and get nothing to show for it. I bought a flat in 1996 (£1200 stamp duty), sold it and bought a house in 2002 (£14K stamp duty). A move now would cost £54k in stamp duty just to change location (i.e. same price house as I am in). Ain't nobody got time for that. The only thing that would make me consider moving is not being able to find work at all. However that's why I chose to live as close to central London as my wallet and my wife could bear - it means that most jobs in my business are accessible from my current house. Stamp duty is a massive anchor stopping people moving around in search of work (well, in the home counties it is)
  4. Glad to see the Hungry people are getting cheaper food.
  5. I had my own experience of this. One of my neighbours is a policy advisor who works in Number 10 (he tells me Cherie sometimes slobs around in a dressing gown until midday). I got him to witness my newborn daughter's passport application, and he put his place of work as No. 10. A few days later he was phoned at work to check he really existed. They made him write them a letter on Downing St paper to prove it. My daughter still got her passport in time for the trip. It seems they do check dodgy-looking applications sometimes.
  6. But do you eat the blue smartie or the red smartie?
  7. Right, I did a bit more research. The Bacton Interconnector sends gas back and forwards at different times. Last I heard it was exporting gas. The recent work was to upgrade its capacity (more compression at the ends). At the same time a new Interconnector is being laid, also to Bacton. The Langeled pipeline from Norway, which will connect us to the Ormen Lange field is also under construction. It will be able to supply 25% of UK demand alone. LNG capacity is also being expanded, allowing import of gas from Qatar, Nigeria etc. Gas prices are expected to fall once all this is in place.
  8. One problem is that your strategy relies on the decision of which house you buy being made by the vendor rather than by you. Normally you find a house that you like (the difficult bit) then negotiate on price. In your scenario you would set a maximum price and seek a vendor willing to accept it. If you are after a very generic house type, with lots of similar ones available in your preferred area, it might work. Otherwise I would just rent one you like and wait for the prices to fall in the normal manner.
  9. The two week shutdown of the Bacton Interconnector wasn't for repairs but to set it up for reverse flow - it is currently exporting gas to Europe.
  10. To be fair, lots of 'experts' predicted falls that didn't happen, so the media might feel justified in not calling them experts any more. Things will change when prices fall, then we will have experts predicting further falls and 'optimists' predicting a turnaround. Actually, current theory says that bird-like dinosaurs survived and their descendants now fill the skies (and scoff worms).
  11. Actually, someone mentioned bulldozing Palestinian houses only a few posts back. There's a House Price Crash for you (well a CRASH!, anyway)
  12. I heard that BP's complete shutdown, regarded as an overreaction by most industry observers, is an attempt to start earning back its green reputation, already seriously tarnished by earlier spills and refinery fires (and related fines). Certainly BP is hitting its bottom line hard with a total shutdowm. I would be surprised if the speculation about months of shutdown is correct - days to weeks seems plausible though.
  13. Ask them to switch off your streetlamp and halve your council tax.
  14. BP must have been seriously cutting corners to keep the oil flowing. I thought all pipelines were regularly 'pigged' - a 'pig' being a robot device that is placed into the oil pipe and swept along by the flow of oil. As it travels down the pipe it logs the internal condition of the pipe. The corrosion in the 16 miles of rotten pipe was so bad that it had started to leak - surely any pig could have picked that up? I'd be asking what the regulators were doing to let BP away with letting it get this bad.
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