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hewligan

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About hewligan

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  1. I was forced to read a poem once about a little baby nestled like a comma. That was worse, but only very marginally so!
  2. Okay, a new one from the weekend. I viewed a couple of houses, one with an EA, one with a tenant showing us around. The EA house was too small, but he started to chat away to me about houses and how before Christmas offers were going in and being accepted at between 10 and 12% off. Now he said that offers are going in 10% off, but being accepted at 5% off. I said that this was perhaps because asking prices had fallen. He didn't like that. Next he told me that now was the best time to buy (it always has been, according to EAs), but then followed up with "house prices have stabilised now". Anyway, that wasn't the most interesting part. In truth he was very helpful and sort of opened up a bit and told me that offers had picked up (as % of asking price) partly because so few new properties were coming through into the market. He said that almost all he saw were probate (death) or divorce, so forced sales, and that he felt that a lot of people were just staying put and praying that things would turn around. Then, as he left, I asked for the property details, but he had gone and locked them and his car keys in the car. He started pounding on the window and getting very flustered. He wanted to pick up a brick and put his window in as he had other appointments. I told him not to be so stupid and that there was a garage 100 yards away that could probably open it for cheaper than the cost of a new window. I left him running off down the street away from me. Poor guy. He was a nice chap though, and much more honest than I had expected. Next property was much larger, and about £100k more on asking price (this is on Kent borders, so not a cheap part of the world). It is a bit dated, but my gosh it was beautiful. It had a big garden with a mature tree and it backs immediately onto a very pretty duck lake. The garden had a very nice quality wooden workshop/study. The tenant was great, he was so honest with us. Told us what it had listed at before, why the previous sale had fallen through (overvaluation, survey issue), that there was a little damp in the downstairs shower room, and that the stairs were very steep and needed to be recarpeted as a matter of urgency to avoid death. We are putting an offer in today at 2003 price levels. It will get rejected, but at least we will try!!!!
  3. How about "In a democracy, should the leader not seek election from the people?"
  4. Okay, my story (fresh from 10 minutes ago): I viewed a property on Thursday that the wife had previously viewed. It has been on the market for 6 months, dropping 10% asking price in that time. I put in an offer today for about 25% below the current asking price, so 35% below the initial asking price. I based my offer on: 1) It is what I want to pay 2) It is what next door sold for in 2003 3) It is a slightly smaller plot of land than any other on the street, being on the corner of the road 4) It is roughly double what they paid for it in 1996 This morning, as I was getting ready to submit the offer, the estate agent called and said an offer had been put in with the other estate agency that is listing the house, but they didn't know the details. I immediately thought "lying scum", but ho hum, it wasn't going to change my offer. Submitted offer. 3 hours later: phone call from estate agent - offer REJECTED. Supposedly a CASH BUYER has put in an offer TODAY (coincidence!!!) for just 10% below the current asking price. I said "well I would highly recommend that they accept that offer". The estate agent said the buyer understood why we had valued our offer the way we had, but the vendor had wanted to point out that a similar property sold in the street in 2008 for 20% above their asking price. This all may be true, but I must admit I don't actually feel sad or angry or even remotely demoralised. Instead I feel that we just keep looking and offering what we feel houses are worth, and if we keep getting rejected then each month my savings increase. That was my first ever offer on a house though!
  5. I don't think his argument is crazy. His timing may or may not prove to be wrong, but I think that there is certainly a CHANCE that inflation may pick up, and if that occurs then certain asset classes do act as good inflation hedges. If you can secure a house that you want to live in for a long time for a good discount and lock in a low rate for a long period, then why not? Some people on here seem to think that you would be crazy to ever buy a house. Others think that prices had got too high but that at some point it may make economic sense to enter the market. For me, I am close to putting in an offer on a house. It will almost certainly get rejected as the offer I am planning on making is just over 25% below the asking price (and that has already fallen 10% from when the house was first listed a few months ago). However, if they accept, then I will be able to lock in a very good mortgage rate for 5 years, with monthly payments that are about the same as my current rent (a rental level I have been paying for 4 years). I will be able to overpay by 10% of loan amount each year, and plan to do so (perhaps 8% on year 1, then 10% for each of the following 4 years). Within 5 years I will have paid off (inc. deposit) about 75+% of the selling price of a family home half a mile from the school my kids have been accepted into. As for the argument: Are you sure your job is secure? No, of course not. Not in this environment. But we are both in employment and either one of our salaries could cover the mortgage payments if needs must. In addition if I got made redundant I would get a payout large enough to cover 2 years of mortgage payments. If they say no to my offer ... I walk away (and put up with the wife's distress). Anyway, sorry for the anecdotal nonsense (or personal spiel), but I just wanted to lend some support to the argument that for some people, in some situations, buying a house now can work, and may even be quite a good place to store cash IF inflation picks up over the next few years. It could all go horribly wrong, of course, but none of us really know how this frightening economic situation is going to play out.
  6. It shows nothing of the sort. Why is Nationwide cobblers on months they are up, but an excellent source on months they are down, and then conversely Halifax are excellent this month because they are down, but useless in January when they were up? It is crazy that you can just discount info that doesn't agree with your view to reinforce your view. BOTH indices will be volatile for a while, probably for a few reasons: 1) transaction levels are low 2) their own share of that low level of transactions is thus lower still 3) we are in the traditionally more-upbeat spring period Both indices are still useful over time, but one has to understand that volatility is likely to remain high until such times as transaction levels increase.
  7. I am very annoyed at the government and their irresponsibility, but I would never have considered attending THIS protest. It has been hijacked by a smattering of fringe groups. It has no clear message (what was it, climate change? anti-capitalism? anti-Brown? property-rights? Anarchism? anger at bankers? Anti-globalisations?), and is weakened for it. A few days ago they were touting how this was going to be the end of capitalism. In the end it was a damp squid. They were a bunch of idiots! What a lost opportunity to actually construct a single clear message to protest under and actually bring some pressure for change.
  8. I wondered about that myself. I have been looking at mortgages myself (kid just got accepted into a very tight school with 6 applicants per place, and my wife is very keen for us to at least start looking to buy, albeit with a possible lag of a year or so), and I noticed that the Nationwide and Halifax are actually quite low in terms of competitiveness right now. Given that you can find (although not necessarily secure) a much more competitive mortgage rates from places like Natwest, PostOffice, etc., and lower entry points (deposit %) from places like Northern Rock, who exactly is using Halifax and Nationwide right now? I wonder just how many completions their data is based on now ...
  9. I expect to see a lot of posters saying that this rise doesn't matter, etc..... Well, it does matter a little, and until next month it probably matters a lot in terms of sentiment. The numbers aren't controlled by some great conspiracy of shadow forces. A rise is a rise, so take it for what it is and lets not spend a lot of wasted intellectual energy trying to find reasons why it doesn't matter. If you accept that the numbers matter on the way down, then you have to accept that a rise also matters. Of course, it is not a trend, just like a single day rise or fall in the FTSE does not establish a trend. It will be interesting to see the Halifax numbers, though. Does this correspond with the small bounce they saw 2 months ago, or is it the start of a new spring bounce?
  10. Okay, lets use an example. You spend £400k at peak, and sell today and lose £100k. You have lost some wealth, but actually could be better off if you are selling to buy a larger house. Also, the person buying your house has just saved £100k (or at least had to borrow significantly less). So while individual A may lose out if they sell and don't purchase similar or bigger property, person B has gained. Net effect to the economy is thus not as simple as saying a £100k loss. His point was that one man's loss in this situation is often another man's gain, and thus the economic impact overall is difficult to ascertain, and almost always not as bad as the full loss. The house is the same as it was before, regardless of its actual market price, so you cannot say the asset has been impacted. That was all he was trying to get across, but the journalist has appeared to try and make more of it.
  11. Look guys, I was at this conference (only just got back to the office), and he was very clear on his point. He said that there was no direct relation between house price falls and overall falls in wealth. He was pointing out that while one person would lose (the person selling out or downsizing), another person, or possibly many, would gain (first time buyers and people moving up one rung on the ladder). He also said that a fall in house prices does not actually signal a destruction of value - the houses still yield their utility. He said that with stock markets, if a fall reflects a fall in profits in the underlying companies, then that does reflect a destruction of value. He did not address whether prices would or should fall further (last year his speech at the same conference was on why prices should fall).
  12. My wife watched it last night (I was sitting next to her reading 'The Great Crash 1929'). At the end of the show as they were showing the house she asked me what I thought of it. I looked up and said: "it looks like a cheap office building, not a home. What did it cost them?" When she told me I laughed. It was a glorified shoe-box, with cheap looking exterior, and they spent £650,000 on THAT!!!
  13. It should definitely be taught in school. I have a postgraduate diploma in Economics, and a Masters in Economics and Economic History, so obviously a bit of a vested interest, but bear with me: Economics does not have to be about maths, or at least not over-ridingly so. One of the worst aspects about the LSE (where I did my Masters) is that they basically team Economics as a mix of greek and math. That is sad, as you tend to miss the historical and psychological elements of economics. However, lessons in supply/demand, and then some economic history lessons (teaching, for example, the oligopoly situation in Germany in the past, how monopolies work, a history of some of the most interesting and damaging bubbles in history, etc.), and pulling this history back to the present by showing how basic economic principles explain what occurred - that, in my opinion, has immense value.
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