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montesquieu

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Everything posted by montesquieu

  1. Great feedback people, there are more options here than I considered. Much appreciated.
  2. The wife is twisting my arm to go for it (we came precious close to buying in the summer and now we are viewing again with a vengeance). There is NO sign of a fresh drop in the eastern part of Berks/S Ox that we are looking in, prices are holding steady somewhere between 2006-2007 levels. I really don't see where the push to nominal falls in this neck of the woods is going to come from. We would bargain very hard and are in a decent position re deposit size / earnings multiple (we'd be borrowing less than x2 joint). But we would still be getting less for our money than I think we should be getting ... however, after 7 years renting since moving down from Scotland I'm kind of with her about putting down roots. So we'll put up with a smaller place than I'd like in order to settle the issue. I'm contemplating a 10-year mortgage, fixed for the whole period. there are a few clustered between 4.1 and 4.6% at the moment. That would be a fair whack still every month, but to me mortgage free in 10 years quite appeals. We could of course pay more and pay off for longer but I'm now 51 and don't want to stretch things out any longer than necessary. What's the view on this sort of 10-year arrangement? Better off on a (much smaller) short-term fix? Or a good deal?
  3. We've had a cyber war for some years, a hot one at that, with tens of thousands of Chinese in bunkers far inland poking at every western or Japanese IP address they can find. That will be the interesting one. Don't assume China is acting consistently here, the CP is in a state of complete funk with factions running amok, you can bet state agents are behind these mass protests, while at the same time cooler heads in the leadership are trying to calm things down. A lot of jockeying for position going on, 70% of the top jobs up for grabs in the changeover and life or death (literally) for the winners and losers. The existing top brass are desperately trying to get their money out as they fear what will happen when the balloon goes up. Political instability will have the instant effect of mass disinvestment which is very bad for China and sensible policymakers know that. China is far better off inside the system than bringing it crashing down. Having said that the Japanese have been incredibly stupid here given the history of defeat in the first Sino-Japanese 1905 (when Taiwan was ceded to Japan and became Japan's first colony up till 1945), and especially in the second Sino-Japanese war post 1931 which saw huge swathes of China occupied, the Rape of Nanjing, and many other atrocities.
  4. BTL combined with high levels of housing benefit are providing a floor to prices at the bottom end, and this is likely to continue unless benefits are cut and a proper market allowed to establish itself.
  5. To be fair, its hard to raise a deposit when paying rent that can be equal to servicing a mortgage.
  6. Totally. You don;t have to be a ZaNuLab voter to be in despair at the woeful performance of the Tories sinde 2010, the boat anchor of the LimpDem coalition notwithstanding. Osborne has proved himself woefully inadequate to the task at hand at least Gordo had some purpose behind the madness.
  7. In 1996 we bought a flat from a couple in Glasgow who had been in negative equity after buying at the top of the market in 1989. They got stuck for seven years unable to move until I was able to offer them £500 less than they paid as the price crawled back up again (and this in Scotland, which didn't see the same mad rises that say London did 1986-89. As it happens I got made redundant in Glasgow soon after, and had to move to Bristol, we sold after six month and made a few grand on the place - that was just as things were taking off again. Who did they blame? Tory government who caused the boom, then the bust. One reason for the NuLab landslide in 1997. Who will this lot blame? Probably the Tories. Arguably unfair as it's really the unravelling of the Brown boom. But since we have Continuity Brown in No 11, its probably fair to share the blame. The Tories were supremely stupid, they should have kicked away the support from the market as soon as they got in. At this rate the bust will only be getting into full swing by 2015 (or sooner - if things get really bad the Coalition's death embrace will be something both parties will be trying to escape).
  8. Interesting how many people here insisting on an economic definition when - in England - class has never been about money at all.
  9. Class differentiation has always been a very blunt instrument, as satirised by George Orwell in Keep the Aspidistra Flying which documented the neuroses (inter-war, but still universal) of being Lower-Upper-Middle-Class. (Professionals such as marketeers and policymakers use far more refined and detailed tools to segment populations). Consequently it's not a technical term at all. Such definitions as you see in the media are often based on economics (income, assets) and many of these chavs with money types probably do think they are middle class because they have a bottle of wine in the house somewhere. On this basis anyone with a job, not living in a sink estate or actually in the aristocracy or super-rich bracket is middle class. But the reality is being proper middle class (English middle class anyway) is exclusively a matter of education, manners and culture rather than money. On that basis the numbers are still pretty limited. To simplify: Chavs with money (eg drives Evoque, wife with nail extentions) = not middle class Book shop worker attending chamber concert at the Wigmore Hall = middle class Nothing to do with money or assets at all.
  10. Fantastic time to buy. Property only ever goes up, right? In London especially. Free money innit!
  11. Perfect BTL property, some grubby would-be landlord will snap it up cheap, tenants will put up with this kind of thing short-term where it would certainly put most buyers off.
  12. Definitely happening hear in eastern part of Berkshire. When you challenge them on it they say houses are selling - which is true up to a point (though there's a lot of ******** mixed in about what the closing prices are). Survey after survey expects prices to keep going up, the great unwashed are still as bullish about property as ever. Beats me who is paying over £400k for shitty little single garage houses in Bracknell with tiny bedrooms and a poxy cheap conservatory tacked on but somebody seems to be doing it.
  13. I really don't see a problem with this. Foreign students pay to provide cash to educate Brits. The idea that Brits are excluded because lower-qualified foreigners are let in is wrong - it's not zero sum. No Brits are sent home or downgraded because of this. Everyone knows anyway the hardest bit of getting a university degree is getting enough A levels to get in in the first place. If the foreign students can't hack it they won't pass - there's no suggestion they are paying for work-free or work-light degrees (as happens in the US).
  14. Good luck to them every other ******er is coining it in, why not the train drivers? Watch the price of everything shoot up for several weeks, while Coca cola execs get to travel in the special Zil lanes denied to us plebs. If billions are being splashed around by a government behaving like a student with his first credit card, why shouldn't the workers take some if it?
  15. Except Germany isn't blighted by being a one-city country - the disgusting black hole that is London, the city and its dormitory towns sucking in all investment and people (not least from the state - why on earth half the army needs to be based in ******ing Surrey is beyond me) is a big part of all this country's problems.
  16. You'd really think that a mortgage company loaning £600k especially interest only would insist on a bit of life assurance as well. Hmmm even by Daily Wail standards this all seems a bit makey-uppey ....
  17. funilly enough when I was giving the usual earful to an agent (over a house that's perfect for us but on at 20% over what they greedy sellers bought for in 2009) he came up the the most of-used phrase of the moment in these circumstances: ''That may be your opinion but we've just had a fantastic month.'' Yeah right.
  18. Berkshire/S Ox still selling (it would appear) much to my annoyance, a few SSTC turning back to For Sale but no more than in previous years. Some drops but then again asking prices in April and May were 2007 + 20% so something had to give.
  19. Normally I can't stick Melanie Phillips (especially when she goes off on one about how everyone with the teensiest bit of concern about how Israel behaves in the world is somehow a closet Heinrich Himmler) but here she stood out as an intellectual giant. Michael Forsyth seems to have mellowed a bit as well. As for the rest - if that really is Labour's leader in Scotland then no wonder Salmond made mincemeat of them at the Holyrood elections, hardly fit to represent a cooncil ward out in the wops. Barely two brain cells to rub together.
  20. Yes. Had an offer of 15% off (£50K) accepted but amazingly it was the wife who wobbled and we withdrew from the sale. We are half-heartedly still looking but a little confident of more of a bargain come the winter. At the moment it all seems very delusional. Land registry says sold prices in this bit of Berkshire are on average a few percent below 2007 peak, but asking prices in our target range are anything up to 20% above (annoyingly, some of these houses have been shifting so abusing estate agents for fantasy valuations isn't quite as much fun as it was for a while). Totally unsustainable of course, but short of a total Greek style bloodbath suddenly coming out of nowhere, people here don't seem to be affected by the doom and gloom. Waitrose is still busy and there are as many plonker wagons sorry Range Rovers as ever being badly driven around the country lanes. There have been some redundancies at the likes of HP and Accenture driven by global considerations but it all feels a bit unreal.
  21. Kata-who? Times columnists are an irrelevance in a post-paywall world.
  22. Reads like a free puff piece for his web site.
  23. I like the fact that London is there and when I'm working I can hang on and go to St Martins in the Fields or the Wigmore Hall for a concert. Then stop over in a hotel or get the late train home. I wouldn't live there if you paid me, life is so much more pleasant FAR AWAY. Entertainment is one thing but living there, it's a noisy, smelly dangerous dump.
  24. 'Tragedy of the commons' springs to mind here, what's good in generating a return for individual capitalists is not necessarily good for society at large (something rabid free-marketeers often overlook, indeed, the most rabid strenuously deny). I'm not a fan of man-made global warming theories particularly but there are many other cases in the environmental sphere where what's profitable for some (eg pumping pollution into the air from coal fires or hunting dodos) can have unforeseen larger consequences. Ditto economics. But I guess the Clean Air Act is classic red tape after all ....
  25. Surely most people who didn't join a corporation at 18 or 21 and stay there for life have a mix ... I have at least two defined benefit schemes sitting waiting on me (one reasonably large) and several defined contribution pots as well which I've always pondered bringing together. As I just turned 50 I'm hammering away at AVCs into the current one. I suspect the check-boxes won't capture the complexity of most people's arrangements. Also I suspect the sample here will be rather different from the public at large.
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