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  1. But speaking even to one chartered surveyor must still be a pretty hellish chore... You are right about pulling quotes from the .pdf. And looking at the full report, it's rather surprising that there are still so few surveyors commenting on the Scottish scene. Nobody from Edinburgh or Aberdeen, only one from Glasgow who sounds downright miserable, and a couple of others whose only interest seems to be in trying to bitch slap each other about whether Home Reports are a help or hindrance. I'm sure I recall they were all falling over themselves to get their bullish comments in when the boom was on. If there really are any signs of green shoots, why are they all still so quiet?
  2. CCC, I agree you have a point about that article, though the poor chap probably has to speak to RICS people about the RICS report and ended up duty-bound to set out what they said, but haven't you noticed the increasing bearishness of the Business Desk at The Scotsman over the last few weeks? I really enjoyed this one from Saturday: Lazy agents happy to let it be as landlords struggle for tenants Has the sound of a very frustrated journalist letting off steam... EDIT: Ah, just noticed your phrase about SM becoming more 'realistic'. Quite. Still, happy to share the Saturday article in case anyone missed it.
  3. My undergraduate experience (coming at the end of the last downturn) was that living rooms became extra bedrooms, and the kitchen was the hub of social activity. Moving into a shared house with a living room during my PhD was sheer decadence - especially as it also had central heating. More than that, and irrespective of how 'happy' they were about it, quite a few homeowners let out rooms in their houses to cover mortgage and other costs - and if you were a hard up student, it was an even cheaper alternative to sharing a wholly let house with other students, especially if they fed you regularly too. Things have changed a lot since then culturally, but I'm not convinced we won't return to an increasing number of that sort of live-in student (or other) lodger if the economy continues in the way it's currently going. I quite agree. My bet would be that we'll start to find out about this in April / May, and there'll be some very significant discounting of un-let flats (from those who can afford to) at the end of this year's Festival. Thanks for that. And adding the for sale list to the rentals would be very interesting indeed.
  4. Very similar on my stair Muswell Hilbilly: two flats belonging to students' parents, two private rental, and four O/O (which seem to have been the longest without changing hands - in two cases, many many years). The student-owned flats are a pretty recent phenomenon: one bought for £250 almost a year ago, and one for £300 at the peak (ouch!!). Both sets are coming into their final year next year, so they are unlikely to be coming to market this summer. My own flat is an ex student rental, which is one reason the rent is comparatively cheap: bought about ten or twelve years ago by a parent, kept as an investment, and at this stage the owner wants 'sensible and tidy' people (his words) to look after it rather than going through the hassle of getting an HMO. I take your point entirely (and Jadoube's) about it not just being the English - phrased it badly in my last message. Sorry. And I am English myself, so should probably just keep my mouth shut about such things... What I was getting at was the regular complaint from Edinburgh academics looking to buy houses about the feeling of despair they get when bumping into students and parents on the way to or from a viewing: if it comes to a bidding war, the academic will always lose out to the student with stockbrokers for parents. I don't find living amongst students in Edinburgh too bad, to tell the truth. They tend to be far more embarrassed than me when if bump into each other, and are generally pretty polite. You are right about noise problems from time to time, but it hasn't bothered me too much here, but perhaps I've just been lucky. Either that, or making so much noise myself that... Unlike Manchester (where I was before), nowhere in Edinburgh is really a students ghetto with the sorts of crime-rates, loss of local shops for more and more take-aways, and the feeling of utter desertion during the summer. And I think that if Edinburgh council do keep their promise to significantly limit the amount of new HMOs they issue over the next few years (much agonising about this among students), hopefully it'll stay that way.
  5. Another possible factor that might increase the oversupply you identify during the course of this year is what it looks like is beginning to happen in the student market (not the be-all and end-all, of course, but also not an insignificant part of the more general Edinburgh property / rental markets). I've had a couple of conversations with students over the last few weeks that sugget we might be beginning to see the return to the 'cram them in to save a few quid' approach that occurred during the last recession - the process of converting living rooms and box rooms into extra bedrooms (with or without the landlord's consent) in order to spread rental costs more widely. If that is combined with the other recession tendency, to let out a spare room to a student to cover mortgage / bills / food, then the competition for student rents when that market really gets going again in April / May and beyond could have quite an impact on the availability of rental property of all types - especially in the more popular central and south Edinburgh areas that tend to have the highest rents. The other student-based factor in Edinburgh that is worth keeping an eye on over the next year is the parents' MEW-in-London-to-buy-for-offspring-in-Edinburgh process that has pushed up prices in Marchmont, Bruntsfield, Morningside, Newington, New Town, and quite a few other areas. Edinburgh Uni, like most of Scotland's top universities, attracts its fair share of very wealthy English and international students, and the desire to 'invest in property' by buying young Tamsin or Tarquin their very own townhouse in Stockbridge or Morningside has, in the past, been too hard for many of those who 'benefitted from the boom in the South East of England' to resist. Like the big move in rentals, that market usually takes off in the late Spring and early Summer. It'll be very interesting to see if it occurs this year, especially with the more significant (so far) price falls in England. If I can, I'll try and find a way to keep a track of it. CCC, your tracking of two-bedroom property prices has been brilliant, by the way, really helpful - it's great to have the detailed stats to back up what seems to me to be the general feeling I'm getting from those studetns I speak to who are beginning to think about moving for next academic year. Please keep up the excellent work.
  6. OK, that's a fair enough response. I'm happy concede that I didn't get around to it. I was away for a day (and in any case can only usually drop in occasionally), and by the time I looked again the debate seemed to have moved on as quite a few people had responded to your points in far more acute ways than I could probably have done. There were, though, a couple of really interesting things that were said about the early repayment of mortgages during the ensuing discussion, which set me thinking. If I can, I'll try and post something on the main Edinburgh thread about this later on today. Not quite the continuation of the debate that you are asking for, but hopefully might be of some interest.
  7. There is an important distinction to be made here before thinking about contacting the PCC about any newspaper piece, and that is the difference between reporting and opinion pieces. The latter are clearly framed as 'interested' argumets that are intended to provoke debate and response, and should not be judged by the same criteria as reportage. It's difficult to see from the EN website whether the article that inspired this discussion was 'news' or the equivalent of The Scotsman's 'Soap Box' column, but if it was the latter then any letter to the PCC will probably be a waste of ink. This is not, of course, to say that it was anything other than deluded rubbish, but in most contexts delusion is not a crime. And, as Hamish has committed no crime (at least to my knowledge), I'll refrain from responding to his slightly misguided reading of my piece in the message above...
  8. Interesting response. Are the statements about renting and buying misleading? Not in my experience. There wasn't room for this in the published piece, but the example I originally gave was my own situation: I rent in Marchmont, paying £590 for a two-bed flat. The pretty-much identical flat below me went last year for £250,000 and the one above (right at the height of the market) for an eye-watering £300,000. Now, I realise I have quite a good deal, but even with quite a bit of leeway either way on prices or rents, is there really a way to get a mortgage to cover those costs for less than the rental price? The only way that buying at those prices could make financial sense would be if you could rely on the market continuing to rise at the rates of the last few years. In my opinion you can't. It's importat too, I think, to recognise the genre of the 'Soap Box' column. It isn't a 'story', it's an opinion piece and it's probably quite a poor reader that misrecognises it as anything else. As I said in my last post, anyone is able to submit a piece for it, and their profession has little relevance. If it were a news report or an academic article, I'd have written it very differently, but it wasn't so I didn't. 'Cower under the cover of an educational title'? You'll have to explain that one, if it means anything, as what you are getting at is beyond me. Or was it just a cheap insult?
  9. OK, I should probably rise to the challenge, come out as a long-term lurker on this board, and declare my interests... I quite agree with the comments from Deleriad: scepticism is the most sensible response to any economic argument. There are no disinterested discussions of economics because nobody exists outside of the effects of the economic system. But people on this forum probably recognise this - if they weren't sceptical about the mass of economic claims made in the media they'd still be buying houses and expecting to make their fortunes. My interest is that, as someone who rents, I'd like to see house prices return to a level at which buying for the first time wouldn't put me into debt for the rest of my working life. And, please be assured, I'm not now nor have I ever invested in BTL. (Probably wouldn't have included the stuff about negotiating rents if I were.) The circumstances of getting published... Well... I have to declare some interest there too. My wife is a Scotsman business journalist. However, although that gave me the impetus to write the piece, it wasn't entirely the way in. I was so annoyed by a Soap Box article a couple of weeks ago by Sandy Burnett (about how the market is going to recover and renters will be left in the cold) that I had a go at her about how awful her paper was about housing, and she told me in no uncertain terms to put my money were my mouth was and write something myself (actually, she wasn't anything like that polite...). So, somewhat chastened, I got in touch with the editor of the Money section and offered to write a counter-article. He almost bit my hand off. Apparently there are quite a few people there that are getting really ticked off that the only people offering to write for them are estate agents. There's no money involved in the Soap Box column, so they choose from things that are submitted. So if other people want to contribute, there are likely to be openings for them if they get in touch with the Money desk and offer a particular perspective on the market. So that's the background. And, yes, those people that said they could have written the article themselves are quite right - frankly, even though I've been thinking all of the stuff I said for some time, the intelligence and insight shown by many of the comments on this forum were what gave me the confidence to have a public rant. Thanks.
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