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House Price Crash Forum


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About craggy

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    HPC Newbie
  1. If your employer is contributing at least as much as you are to a pension, then it is worthwhile saving, in spite of all the disadvantages, taxes, fees, and lack of control that pensions bring. Unless you are a high rate tax payer there is no advantage tax-wise, but at least you get the employer contributions. It's a shame that employer schemes don't give employees more control over how their funds are invested, and often charge quite high fees. If you are self-employed, or do not have a company pension, and are considering a private pension, the sums are very different - private pensions are worthless, except as a tax-avoidance measure by high-rate taxpayers, and even then the advantages are dubious because rules can easily change. You're better of using an ISA which is not taxed on the way in and on the way out as pensions are, and usually will have lower fees as well. If rules change you can at least move the money out into some other saving mechanism.
  2. Gold has been nothing like stable over the last few years, the increase in price has been parabolic. Unfortunately for you what was a safe bet up to now is looking increasingly like a bubble, and like any bubble it is subject to harsh corrections. You cannot account for the huge rise in gold price with the drop in the value of fiat currencies alone - part of its recent rise is speculation, and as the fever mounts in the mainstream press you can expect it to go sharply upwards, particularly after a stock market crash, and then correct savagely soon after that, as people pile back into equities and other assets which are then seen as cheap. Like any other asset, gold is not a completely reliable store of value over the long term, it has huge peaks and troughs in price, and if you don't time it right (e.g. buy lots of gold now, and then sell in 10 years), you are likely to be burned just as badly as you would be with cash or any other investment. The gold market is also subject to speculation and manipulation by the big players and producers, just like fiat currency. It's actual use value in electronics and jewellery is way, way below the current price.
  3. On the contrary the the UK can afford the NHS. The UK can't afford to continue spending huge sums on global wars, can't afford a new trident, can't afford to continue devaluing their currency, can't afford to guarantee gold-plated public-sector pensions with an ageing population, can't afford to continue borrowing more than they earn to spend on public services in general, but they certainly can afford the NHS if other things are cut. The US (which has the same kind of system you're recommending, i.e. insurance funded healthcare) spends more on *public* healthcare alone (medicaid etc) than the UK does per capita, and we have a universal healthcare, whereas in the us medicaid is only for those who can't afford their own healthcare. The US system truly is the worst of both worlds, and the NHS is a great system and cheap for what we get. http://apps.who.int/whosis/database/core/core_select_process.cfm?strISO3_select=ALL&strIndicator_select=nha&intYear_select=latest&fixed=indicator&language=english If you want private healthcare, you are welcome to pay through the nose for it here, while the rest of us use a sane system which controls costs without letting insurance companies take a huge cut and drive up prices.
  4. I don't see why searches on a 1 mill property differ from those on one for say 200k, but agreed that estimate might be a bit low, say £500-£800 then. I think on our last purchase we paid around £700 total before VAT and were happy with the service, but then the solicitor wasn't based in London so if you're used to London prices perhaps that explains your astonishment. £2000 seems way over the odds to me frankly for what is not a particularly onerous task.
  5. Get another quote from somewhere else. Solicitors fees + searches etc should come to around £500 + registry fee of £500 for that sort of property. http://www.home.co.uk/guides/buying/one_off_costs.htm
  6. The density of housing can change dramatically over time (from tenement slums to flats owned by one person), expectations of home ownership (as opposed to renting) also change, affecting demand for buying homes, so the population figures don't tell the whole story without considering other factors. That said the population has been rising since the end of the 70s, which will put some pressure on housing if all other things are equal. I suspect there will be spots with far too much housing where new blocks of flats have been built, and some in-demand areas (near good schools for example) with far too little compared to the demand as any big city varies a lot between areas.
  7. No he's not writing utter nonsense. He's reporting the market as he has experienced it in London, which is far more useful than your vague prognostications citing zero facts (while accusing others of not providing them) all garlanded in casual insults (insults like 'utter nonsense'). Since presumably you don't follow the London market in detail as you don't actually live there, perhaps he just knows more about it that you do? His reports chime far better with my actual experience of the London housing market over the last decade than your self-assured ignorance. The London market has so far been quite resilient - remains to be seen what will happen, but a crash is by no means a given - markets can remain irrational for a long, long time, and we may well have a soft landing caused by the government's inflationary policies, in which case buying a house or other asset would be a better hedge against inflation than saving and renting - at present the government is effectively taking money from savers, and giving it to debtors. That's wrong, unfair, irrational, etc etc, but it is happening, and in those circumstances, we may not see a crash in London at all in nominal terms (save the mini one in 2008). A real terms crash doesn't make debtors any worse off than savers, and that's all we might see in London due to other factors (constant inflow of foreign cash due to the debased currency, concentration of the wealth of the nation in the capital etc).
  8. Is your friend undead? If so the mobile phone mast should present no problems.
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