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Everything posted by whocares

  1. Spotted another pram in the master bedroom. Looks like someone (adult female presumably) whose hobby is playing with those dolls which are very lifelike? Odd. (But harmless one hopes!) Wouldn't put me off but might alert me that someone living there is not right in the head!
  2. Standard now I think. I got one recently. Deadline to reply was end Oct. I replied to say I was living in France ... just like I TOLD THE BANK (I was going to France) before I left. So they should know, having my address here etc?! But still they send out the forms and I was supposed to fill them in and post back. Which I did. Then I got a 2nd lot of forms ... reminding me to reply before end Oct. Same day as I got a letter saying "thank you for returning your completed form" and which specified I was tax resident in ... the UK. I supposed that just means any UK arising income (n theory) would be taxable? But I was properly confused having offered evidence that I am a tax payer in France and do not live in (nor visit) the UK anymore. Which made me wonder what was the point in asking me where I am tax resident if I say "France" and they then say "UK"? I phoned the help line provided ... waste of time. The chap knew nothing (about tax) and could only suggest I phone HMRC if I needed to have my tax situation clarified. (As if!) I already know I am fine with HMRC. So none of this paper-filling made any sense. Got mad then decided to just leave it. Very confusing! I think they just need to ask for some reason. But I was expecting them to say "yes, it seems you are tax resident in France ... as you told us you would be". Would be interested to see what letter you will get back!
  3. I wouldn't call that a "penthouse" flat! Still very expensive IMO (after price reduction) for a 2 bed flat with no headroom at the edges?! (But I don't know the area I must admit.)
  4. Quite agree ... it looks very ugly now. (I wouldn't want to pay GBP 1.4million for that!)
  5. Transferwise seems good. https://transferwise.com/ We have used them for smallish amounts. (GBP --> EUR.) And a friend uses it. (I think for monthly amounts GBP---> EUR.) I have only read good things about them online. Nb There might be an upper limit per transaction but you could be multiple transactions if needed I suppose?
  6. Russsell Brand making fun of Oz politicians talking about the current HPI ...
  7. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2960410/So-working-home-TV-presenter-Dan-Snow-aristocrat-wife-told-T-tear-7million-country-mansion-s-orangery-replace-two-storey-office.html TV presenter Dan Snow has lost a battle to tear down an orangery in the grounds of his £7million country mansion and build a two-storey office in its place The couple bought the four-bedroom house in Exbury, Hampshire, from convicted mercenary Simon Mann for a reported £10million in 2009.
  8. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-27166144.html Started at £1,250,00 in Aug 2010. Now offers over £695k. So asking price down by about 44% ... so far? (Too remote and too expensive to heat by the look of it?)
  9. Many years ago, I was posted to the Middle East, (for a proposed period of 3 yrs, which ended up being longer), and was paid tax-free in the local currency, which at that time was pegged to the USD. (So essentially it was USD.) I opened a local bank a/c for salary to be paid into, (in local currency), and then transfered roughly half my salary into GBP most months. (Kept half for living expenses.) This money was sent to an a/c I had opened offshore in Jersey, with same bank I used onshore in UK. Offshore is the way to go IMO. Nb I didn't have to go to Jersey to open an a/c. All was done by letter. (Pre online days!) Might be a bit more involved now, as all banks are now annoying in this repsect, eg asking for certified copies of UK passport, work contract, salary slips, and/or utility bills from overseas. (So ask banks what paperwork they would require for you to open an off-shore a/c, but all can be done by mail/phone.) Some of my colleagues transfered less frequently than monthly, to reduce transfer costs which were fixed, and about £25 per transfer, IIRC. The transfer rate to GBP, (which was given daily at the local bank) varied daily, was also open to some negotiation eg "can I please get a better rate for a transfer of X,XXX amount?". (I usually got a slightly better rate like this, simply by asking for it!) And I used to watch the daily rates and try to pick a 'good' day to do my transfer. (But no-one can really say which way rates will go, so essentially it will always be a guess.) My exposure to currency fluctation, (ie USD versus GBP, like your situation), was then limited to monthly changes in rates. (Nb I wanted all my savings to be in GBP not USD.) Before I went abroad, I told my UK bank I would be becoming UK "non-resident (for tax) and I opened an offshore a/c with them (in Jersey) which gave me tax-free savings. I had various fixed term deposits (FTDs) for better rates, which I rolled over every 6 months or so. (I must have also sent GBP to my onshore a/c for bills.) I was clearly considered a "non-resident", from day one of my posting, due to the proposed length of my overseas contract, as long as I obeyed the visit rule of not > 90 days per year etc. (Nb At that time, 3 yrs working overseas was the min proposed period to qualify as "non-resident". Not sure if still the same now.) Nb You also need to consider your UK tax status!! Working overseas tax-free is great, but watch out for UK tax being applied. You need to avoid UK tax if you can ... by obeying all the rules. Normally, if you work abroad for a certain period, your earnings can be sent back to the UK without any UK tax to pay, but the rules are quite complex. So it really pays to know what you are doing. If you do not (yet) have a tax advisor, maybe start by seeing your bank manager and asking for some basic info? Then google and check out the expat forums and HMRC website etc. (Or pay for some independent tax advice.) Good luck! It's (usually) fun working overseas!
  10. Interesting. (I also thought he was putting the weird accent on a bit!)
  11. Wow ... those graphs gave me a bit of a headache. But I tried to understand what the implications were for current and future house prices in France. < have a personal interest as still thinking of buying in France to retire > If u go to 1st link under heading "3.6. Property Prices and Rents in the Long Run : Presentations" of the OP's link (entitled "House Prices in the Long Run (January 2014)" , and then jump to p227, (of that French doc), you will see a graph called "Prospective sur les Prix ". (Never mind if you can't read French. Think it's quite clear.) To me (if I understand it correctly) the graph seems to be saying that 1. House prices in France are well above a historial 'tunnel' value of 1. (Comparing house prices to disposable income over the years.) 2. There are 5 possible scenarios for future house prices in France, which are: - "F" = "divergence from the historical 'tunnel' value of "1", which means prices can continue to go "up, up, up". - "C","D", or "E" = the establishing of a new 'tunnel'" value (eg 2, 3 or higher) where a higher ratio is here to stay. But there will be a new stable 'tunnel' established at that ratio..) - "A", or "B" = back to the historial 'tunnel' value of "1", which means big falls and then stability at the re-established historical value. They say "F" looks unlikely. And I would have to agree, at least outside of Paris/Cote D'Azur? I assume that French economy is not going well, and incomes are not rising but taxes are? They also say "C", "D", & "E" all look unlikely. (Again I would agree. Assume for same reasons why "F" is not likely, plus sellers of rural homes can't find enough ppl with the money who want to invest large amounts in a French house for hols or retirement eg the Brits/Dutch?) So that leaves "A" and "B", which are a return to the historcal 'tunnel' ratio of prices to disposable income . Does that imply the authors believe that French house prices will continue to fall from here on? And then stay at lower levels for quite a while? (Anyone else bothered to read the whole report/try to find out what the conclusion was?) Prices look ~30% down in rural France (from say 2008) but still VERY high compared to local earnings. Maybe the quality is better/up, but hard to find a buyer, even if looks good value compared to say rural UK. (Cos supply of houses > number of serious buyers?) Some sellers look desperate to sell but are slow to recognise how much they need to lower the price. Or else they just can't. (Cos they need the cash to go home etc.) So they might be stuck for years, until they find someone who loves and house and will pay nearer to the asking price. Would like to buy but worry a lot about selling if/when I want to go back to UK. So watching and waiting for now. (But will need to decide soon probably!) If we do buy, we need to make sure we are not paying too much. (But of course, sellers will just see this as us being stingy.)
  12. This is exactly my view. Low interest rates allow people to believe they can afford to buy at a higher multiple than in the past. (Plus it's still cheaper than renting in some areas?) But if no-one would lend them the money, they wouldn't be able to go ahead? (Unless we are still talking about liar loans?) So IMO it's both "low interst rates" and "loose lending" ... and much less due to "lack of building". (There are plenty of places under-occupied, under-used and left empty.)
  13. So he hasn't made any gain then, in AUD terms? (So no CGT probs for him?)
  14. I am not an expert, but as far as I know there's no UK CGT liability for him if he has been resident outside of UK for more than 5 years, which seems to be his case. But this situation might be changing in the near future, (as mentioned by the poster above), to bring non-residents into UK CGT range for UK disposals. (Not yet in place, and details unclear.) So might be a good idea to sell before this happens! Will he have any Australian CGT liability though? (He needs to check re CGT in his country or residence.) Also he might have to look at any "currency movement", (GBP v AUS$), if he has to pay CGT in the host country, as the host country will (probably) look at the price paid in the local currency (in this case AUS$) on the date the UK asset was purchased, and compare this to the sale value (in local currency) on the day of sale, in order to calculate the "profit" in the local currency ie AUS$. (As opposed to just considering the "GBP profit" and converting that into local currency, if you see what I mean.) There can be a BIG difference in the calculated "AUS$ profit" depending on the local currency value on those 2 key dates. If the £ has changed a lot in value, versus the local currency, (AUS$), over the period of ownership, it could work in his favour, or against. Not much you can do about that I suppose except be aware how the CGT bill might be calculated? Hope that helps for now. (But please check with an expert!)
  15. Me too. I am still hoping for a big "pop". Not for me. (It doesnt affect me right now.) I want it for my 3 kids who are just too young to buy and not yet able to.) But today, I read (in some papers) that UK prices will keep rising until 2020! So with each bit of promising news comes a counter depressing view. I am less sure now than I was (last year) that prices are heading for a big correction, especially as more and more people pile and this will create an almighty problem for the government if interest rates rise and/or prices collapse in the near future. But how can prices continue to rise when wages are not rising and it's getting harder and harder for keen young people to get a decent job and to save up?
  16. Excellent. He made perfect sense but will prices ever be reversed? I really hope Dorling is correct and that council tax goes massively up to encourage people to sell up rather than 'sit on' under-occupied large homes.
  17. I have experience of living in north of Holland and the The Hague. (But not Amsterdam.) I would 2nd that people are v friendly (almost all speak English) and we were on that 30% expat tax deal. (Think there's a limit re how many yrs u can use that tho. Is it ~7 yrs?) FYI, house prices have been falling steadily for a few hrs in NL which should be in your favour, although we found many more flats/houses for sale than for rent. In the end, we got a choice of 3 really lovely (brand new) flats with extra storage in basement, (in same luxury block), cos developer couldn't sell them all. (It was a really great flat we had. Quality build, large windows, nice views, and almost no need to pay for any heating ... as never got cold .... like a sort of like a Passive house?) Cost of living in NL a bit higher than UK I reckon, (eg food), but biking around is great, (Buy a bike there. Can get 2nd hand. They are better than UK bikes th not cheap.) Public transport quite good. Easy to travel/get back home to UK (or wherever) as Schipol is a v busy but excellent airport. (So lots of flights. Also ferries eg from Hook.) So, think u have nothing to lose as long as the salary is OK as heathcare was also fine. (We were in the local system.) It's just the weather which was a bit negative for me ... ie cold and grey outside of "summer" months. And was proper cold in the 2 winters we were there ... frozen canals etc! Visit the north (from Amsterdam) if u like cycling and if you like birds. Apparently lots of islands worth visiting also. (Tho we didn't.) Beaches are OK in summer eg Scheveningen. Mumsnet has an overseas living section ... so might be worth you having a look in there for more info re housing, schools or whatever you need to know. Good luck. (Overseas work experience is generally a good thing.)
  18. Well done Count. (Re complaining to editor.) I suspect there is a lot of this 'loose' reporting about! We all need to be vigilant and remain suspicious.
  19. According to the sources in this Dec14th article in Daily Telegraph, UK house prices are going to increase about 5% pa for next few yrs.
  20. You got me there! (Too rushed due to my blood pressure climbing!)
  21. I know! (It's just me then?) Good article link tho OP. (Have read it now. And am going back into my pedant corner!)
  22. Am I the only one who couldn't concentrate on the topic at all, because the subject like contained a glaring selling mistake .... and no-one mentioned it? It's LOSE (not loose) ... and I have noticed that more and more people seem unable to tell the difference. I am fully aware that I am being very pedantic, but why is this such a problem all of a sudden? And why do we just seem to accept it? (Nb My son makes this error too and he's v well educated. Argh!) OK, I will read what you wrote now ... nice & calmly.
  23. I love it! Thanks & well done! (This is going to be SO useful.)
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