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Everything posted by montesquieu

  1. On the one hand we have a bunch of muppets with more money than sense, desperate to turn the easy money they have accumulated in the Asian boom into hard assets ... on the other a greedy pack of developers who have run out of UK-based idiots (or rather, most of the UK-based idiots have run out of money or access to credit) who are quite happy to cheat, lie and obfuscate to take their money from them. Either way it's classic bubble behaviour and has to end badly. When the penny drops and the international money flooding the London market finally stops, there will be hell to pay. One thing I'm not sure I'd want to be the guy who ripped some of these people off, bad business can get personal very quickly in Asia and they might well find themselves at personal risk at some point in proceedings.
  2. Our planned purchase in West Berks looks to have gone pear-shaped and on a whim we took a look today at some houses back in North Somerset where we moved through from four years ago. Where we've been looking to date (anywhere from Henley down to Hartley Witney, and Goring/Pangbourne across to Ascot (a big area but it's all about transport links for the wife) asking prices are totally mental, anything up to 25% above 2007. They aren't really selling for that but there's little sign of economic pain in S Ox and Berks - plenty of 11 and 61 plates around, Waitrose still full etc. Well we got a shock looking around Wells and some of the village up to Bristol today - our favourite deli (Taste - which sold live crab, lobster etc) closed in 2010, citing people cutting back. Lots of shops and pubs have closed, the traffic (always quieter than Berks) is quieter than ever, cars are old and smoky, and the feeling generally is of hard times. Of course there was always a difference but it's far more pronounced (it seems to me) than it used to be. And then the houses - of course you get almost twice as much for your money but we looked at three today, all on for at least 18 months previously, all dropped between 20 and 25% already (needless to say any offer we make will be a leg down again). The market for expensive houses - so buoyant when we lived there through 2006, 2007 etc - has collapsed, it seems. Interesting times.
  3. Bastards. Exactly the same happened to me. We moved into a place one November on 6 month let - our first rental after STR so we didn't know the score - it had apparently been bought BTL as owners had never lived there. Booted out 7 months later as it transpired that it had actually been bought so daughter and several fellow (rent paying) students could live there when she started at the nearby veterinary campus of the local university. We had been totally conned into covering the mortgage for the owners in the interim. Kids had by this time started at the local primary ... [edit - it was a small country village so we weren't spoilt for choice for new places to go, we ended up two villages and 5 miles away which was a real hassle as we didn't want to move them again after the original move] Unfortunately you have no comeback unless you know someone who is into voodo and you can get a lock of their hair or something ...
  4. Fly to Belfast and drive. Almost certainly cheaper and far more pleasant. I had to attend a course near Carcassonne (Ryanair monopoly) recently. Took BA to Toulouse and drove for an hour or so. Ryanair can go ****** themselves I would rather get on a bus than sit in their shitty, shagged out crappy second hand planes, let alone put myself through the humiliation of using the web site, checking in bags or having to converse with the smug, arrogant crew that they hire (each of them a mini-O'Leary in the way they make you want to punch their faces).
  5. Don't forget that mortgage rates for anyone on a tracker or SVR could shoot up with a snap of the fingers if the bond markets ever finger the UK for a spot of unwelcome attention. Payments could go up in short order by anything from 10 to 50 percent depending on the rate people were starting on. Many people have simply forgotten how historically low mortgage payments are per £1k borrowed.
  6. If they collect it, under FoI they should be required to provide it provide there is no personal (Data Protection) or commercial (specific company commercial) impact. Worth framing an FoI request for this data to the Land Registry and see what happens.
  7. Anything with a finance agreement usually has a cool-off period, when was it signed?
  8. Well, after a month of sitting tight I finally had an offer of -15% of asking accepted. My original -20% would have been better but we liked the house so much (it's a cracking wee place, a large self-contained apartment - no-one above - attached at one wall to a converted country house in lovely country/village surroundings, but with 4 beds and a double garage in a block separate to the house). I was wondering if anyone had any tips for looking for a mortgage. We only have 20% deposit (STR fund a casualty of divorce settlement a few years back :angry: ) but are looking for x2 joint salary over 15 years so hardly a stretch - plan is to overpay on top of that. I have approval in principle from HSBC for a lifetime tracker at 2.79% over base - just wondered if there was better out there. Anyone do a lifetime fix at something sensible on 20%? I still believe the balloon will go up at some point but we do really like this place and I plan to stay there till retirement at least.
  9. Salaries in NI are generally significantly lower than British mainland indeed for larger companies there's an entirely different 'nearshore' ratecard applied. Though there is still, of course, a need to recruit and retain good people. If you are going in via an agency they should be able to guide you as to what recent equivalent offers have looked like. There's a strong chance you'll be offered more than many of the incumbent people (it's called 'salary compression' and very commonly happens to people reluctant to take the risk and move job for more money). All depends on specific demands for your skills, I'm not aware that the skills you mention are in particularly short supply but my team work more on the Microsoft side of things so that may not be the last word on the subject.
  10. Spot on. We should be gleefuly rolling back the state (slashing over-generous benefits like HB, chopping the quangocracy and eliminating non-jobs) while simultaneously finding creative ways to boost investment in much-needed infrastructure like water, rail, and social housing.
  11. Can't see it, they'll take one look at London house prices, another at the cost of everything else, then at the shambolic state of everything, and go home and pay up. £300k can't compete with the serious funny money that London is awash with right now. Far easier to move to Brussels or some other European city.
  12. Would agree entirely, keep saving and wait. At least for a few months, if you look at house price trends over the year spring is generally the most expensive time to buy, that's even without taking into account coming falls as what looks like a definite second leg progresses. I'm currently looking myself but beyond one very cheeky (-20%) offer which was rejected, we are holding fire until later in the year. Bear in mind the following: Halifax index - AVERAGE SOLD PRICES: June 2004 £159,058 January 2008 £197,074 April 2012 £159,883 So we are back at 2004 prices. Meanwhile Right Move says average asking prices are up 0.5% in April 2012 at £243,737 - higher than the highest point of the bubble in 2007 (indeed I'm having fun now with EAs mocking some asking prices that are 20% over what houses were purchased for in 2007-8). On this basis, based on what houses actually sell for, asking prices are 39% inflated over achievable selling prices, bid up not by punters in a frenzy of bubble offers, but by estate agents desperate for new spring stock. That's not to say that prices are imminently set to fall 39% I think falls will be protracted over years, unevenly spread, and there are factors (national and local including market manipulation by Government) that may come into play to provide some support, but it gives some indication of what's actually happening in the market as well as the collective stupidity of EAs and the blind greed of many would-be sellers out there.
  13. I don't know, BTL, got to be worth what, £9 a week?
  14. Not really, it was all dependent on your luck, some people ended up guarding a barracks in leafy Surrey or (like my dad) clicking a typewriter in a well-defended air base in Kuala Lumpur with R&R trips to Singapore, but others did get shot at & killed as the Empire got handed over to various dodgy locals while the Cold War progressed around them.
  15. I just went through this, all sorts of ******** from the letting agency pressuring me to sign a new contract (six months then two months notice). In the end they were hassling me on holiday, saying I had a legal obligation to sign. Complained to the LL (who is a great guy BTW - moved to Edinburgh for several years with work, teed up in part so his girls could get free Uni education, he's renting there and plans to move back 'home' when they finish) and he told the letting agency to naff off and leave me alone. He was up for charges too and thanked me for pointing out that the letting agency had written a contract to make it look to the both of us as if the statutory option didn't exist. No rent increase since we moved in (despite the fact the rental for this place is stupidly cheap for 5 bed double garage in Berkshire). I've told him we are starting to look and I'll give him at least 2 months notice (statutory is 1 month but fair's fair). And yes I know I'm really lucky. 100% improvement on the total nutcase (the wife called her the 'mad lady') we had before who kicked us out to sell up, then saw it empty for six months, eventually dropped £100k from her asking before it went.
  16. Also looking seriously ... There was a house I really fancied at the weekend but I won't be making an offer as it's 70s unmodernised (pink sinks in the guest rooms ffs), needs double glazing throughout and a lot of other stuff (glass telephone table in the hallway gives the vintage of the decor away). I could make an even sillier offer than usual on it (30 or 35% off perhaps) but that only helps with the size of the mortgage, it doesn't help with the £30-40k I'd need to find up front to do the work, then there's the hassle factor. Decent 4-bed detached going for £435k in S Ox village suggested there wasn't much of a discount being offered though (backing up your theory). By contrast next stop, different village, same agent, we saw a fully done-out mini-'country house hotel' with all the usual twee nonsense. Asking £399k for a 3-bed semi cottage with small rooms. I really went just to mock, and to humour the wife - who loved it BTW, Aga and all - but I realised it was pointless, some clueless. monied twit would buy this just to live the dream (duly forgetting that all the antique pine stuff and pointless Laura Ashely-type fabrics and nicknakery would be leaving in a removal van). So I'm not sure that I agree that work is not figured in ... it certainly is sometimes, on the 'done' side of the equation anyway (in inflated asking prices).
  17. How about this for a pitch? Show seeks people/families priced out of the market. Responsible types with at least the minimum deposit (90% ok, more better) priced out of the market as there's nothing to meet their needs as it's all been snapped up by speculators on IO. Hosts are a pair of hard-nosed property search types (kind of anti-Phil & Krusty) who find properties with vendors who might be amenable/motivated (ie, forget about anyone who bought 2005 on at high ltv and who is looking to make a profit) and negotiate them down to a sensible deal? Might just define the coming the zeitgeist, no?
  18. A rider to this story - if anyone is interested - I never did hear back from the EA but there was an almost immediate drop in the asking of £25k, not the £100k I complained about but it's a start at least.
  19. I would assume not unless it expressly says so. Where I'm looking in West Berks we are looking at *1.6 rise since 2000 in selling prices, where asking prices are more like *2.5. Amazingly some stuff is selling at this mark-up though only the very best, I suspect the asking prices of the summer leftovers will seem even more risible in a month or two than they dow now.
  20. They knocked down two bungalows and built 7 houses on a plot near me, backing right onto a busy railway line. '4 bed terrace' for £450k when the top floor rooms are mostly eaves leaving only a small patch in the middle of the room you can stand up in. No storage (as above) and 'open plan' so cooking smells are inescapable. And three out of seven have sold! The 'big one' at the front (over £500k) - it's an L-shaped arrangement - just sold for the second time after it didn't survey up the first time. Saw the surveyor out yesterday be interesting to see what happens to the board in the next few days. Big front one is the only one with double garage the rest have none or a single. Rental value is probably about £1400 a month, mortgage has got to be double that surely ... totally nonsensical.
  21. Keep taking the mescalin. Entertaining though!
  22. Being too precise might give the game away as this particular agent is almost single-handedly responsible for jacking up asking prices over the last couple of years in the area (booo hisss) - but I'm essentially looking in the small town/villagey areas around (but not in) Reading. He still sells a few now and again but the main point for him is that his books are full of instructions - and as was pointed out above, you can't sell what you don't have on your books. Cynical though and backfiring for me at least.
  23. A couple of weeks ago I emailed a local agent in Berkshire whose communications were getting annoying, to the effect that his prices were stupidly high and take me off his mailing list as it was a waste of my time and his right now. This worked for a week or two then yesterday I got a phone call. Perfect property for me, £400k asking but 'they'd take an offer' of maybe £20-25k less. I'd seen it on rightmove - backs onto the A4 so bit noisy for what I want, but reasonable space. Anyway I got the house number - no sale pre 2000, but next door had. This is the response I sent to the dipshit agent: What planet are these people on?
  24. The problem is Blair is a) ancient history already discredited (remember Brown was actually WELCOMED by most people after Blair's shiftyness. Cameron and Osborne are current PM and chancellor and as such are (rightly) in the frame for when caught with their trousers down taking one from News Corp. (And Coulson makes it all much closer to home anyway than a lot of what Blair got up to).
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