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  1. Isn't it? Part of the whole property ******** - if the price of any other commodity was running away it would be bad news - if petrol goes up by tuppence the mediia is ripping its collective shirt and weeping in the streets. If ******ing house prices go up they "recover" and it's considered a "boost" or "good news". The whole "low inflation" era of the Great Moderation has been ******** in the UK because the cost of housing has been excluded (and for other reasons tbf). As you point out the irony of this is that if the govt had included housing costs, they would now be reaping a political reward since falling prices, rents and mortgages would be driving inflation figures down Re rents; I'm always surprised that whereas everyone seems to understand that if you are buying somewhere you don't pay full asking but haggle, there seems to be an assumption that rents are fixed price. They aren't, don't ask, don't get is the rule. I know people who have knocked 10% off, including one who got his existing rent down when his landlord's agents tried to up it (she complained, the Landlord hadn't known, there was a row, she threatened to leave, the Landlord liked her and didn't want a void, sacked the agents and split the difference with her). I'd get aggy with the ******ing landlords, half of them are complete arseholes and richly deserve it, + you have a good chance of getting a discount.
  2. Depends on what you're measuring. Simply measuring the per acre (hectare/m^2/etc) output, small scale agriculture almost always out-performs large-scale quite easily, i.e. grows more food per given area. But it uses a lot more labour and obviously whether that is "more productive" or not depends on the cost of the labour etc. Generally speaking, large-scale agriculture is "more productive" because it has replaced relatively expensive labour with relatively cheap fossil fuels. Whether this is sustainable long term depends on how likely fossil fuels are to (a) last, and ( stay cheap. Bit unknowable in both cases really I'd say.
  3. Ah yes, Patrick Colqhoun, inherited a pile of money and then added to it by buying into slave plantations in the U.S. I'm sure he's just the sort of chap who'd fit right into the modern economy.
  4. Got to agree here. Best flat I have ever lived in was a 1960s ex-council one. Incredibly warm and sound proof and with a lovely quiet garden and balcony. It was very good indeed compared to the crap vicwardian conversions and new builds I've lived in. And it came with some of the best neighbours I've ever had too although I guess that's always going to be a bit random in London. The main problem I have with postwar social housing is that I worry about the expensive repair bills that could come with corroding reinforced concrete over the next decades. And of course some estates or blocks have gone feral - but you can usually spot them pretty easily!
  5. Hi OG, would you mind saying which town this was? I live in west Dorset at the moment (renting) and am curious about the market down here.
  6. Courage mes amis! I know the properties I'm putting up here are a pretty unexciting bunch and they're in unfashionable areas but I keep hearing about London prices just going up and up (and clearly there's some of that going on in sectors of the market) but there's plenty of straws in the wind that at the bottom end in the cheaper areas we are getting proper real terms falls to prices not seen for several years in London. It's all happening at a glacial pace compared to last time, but it's happening and it might just need a nudge to really give us a few liveably priced ftb homes in London and about bloody time! I remember last time round it fell hardest and earliest in the Hackney's and such likes, I think that's happening again. And these are just what I picked up on one little zoopla search today for "Streatham". I'd think there's plenty elsewhere. Anyway here you go. http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/14403015?search_identifier=f6b18a492557c7b79d15aee61cd7d26e £95k in Feb 2005, someones getting it for £86k in Feb 2012. Or how about this little beauty? http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/15091540?search_identifier=f6b18a492557c7b79d15aee61cd7d26e £150k in Oct 2005, been on the market for 6 months at £140k and no takers yet, I reckon you could put in a cheeky offer and pick it up for £125k? Still a silly price of course but much less silly then anything you'd have paid in the last 7 or 8 years. Lastly I give you http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/15334281?search_identifier=f6b18a492557c7b79d15aee61cd7d26e - they're still asking for £13k more than the 2005 asking price of £117k but I thnk they're going to struggle to get it. Why? Because voila, their neighbours are busy undercutting them here - http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/16081368?search_identifier=f6b18a492557c7b79d15aee61cd7d26e. Now the second of these obviously wants a bit of work doing so the price is not directly comparable but if they're asking £115k for the tatty one, what would they actually take?
  7. Think the "Free Market" and private enterprise in the form of Pubcos have quite a lot to do with it.
  8. Nice to see that simplistic right-wing nostrums masquerading as common sense are still unselfconsciously sexist. Bless.
  9. Indeed.In fact there is decent evidence that shop-owners systematically misunderstand how their customers come to visit them, believing them to come more by car than they do and less by all other means that they do. It's in many ways an understandable mistake since most small shop owners are largely tied to their own vehicles by necessity for travel and transporting goods but as a result they misunderstand their customers' needs. See www.sustrans.org.uk/.../Shoppers%20info%20sheet%20-%20LN02.p... There's aslo good evidence that shoppers biggest dislike about traditional town centres is the fact that there are bleeding great roads going through the middle of them with noisy and dangerous cars on them so they drive to out-of-town centres to get a car-free experience. All a bit paradoxical but it's not the simple 'cheap parking = healthy shopping centre' that many on here are (apparently) arguing.
  10. It's a technical point really but I can't help point out that The Tragedy of the Commons is such a poor piece of work that even Hardin (the original author) has pretty much admitted it's nonsense.
  11. What on Earth makes you think it isn't? I'd expect to pay for any other land use I get a benefit from.
  12. Honestly I do wonder how on earth people can make pronouncements like this and expect to be taken seriously. The ES has run a campaign against Livingstone that has been as sustained and personal as any run by any paper against any politician that I can think of. Just ridiculous.
  13. You might also want to get up to speed with the evidence about the effects of education as opposed to those of the home. The latter massively outweighs the former so the general obsession with "good schools" is mostly a red herring - at least in terms of educational attainment.
  14. I'd really hold your nerve on buying property in London and don't do it yet. There's the look (to me at least) of a pattern emerging where there are various different property markets going on alongside one another. At the top end, things may not be much changed - the rich selling to the rich, or wealthy foreigners cashing in on sterling's low value etc. But the further you get from proper wealthy areas, the more there are signs of property falling in price. Until now London has appeared immune - that changed a little with the recent Land Reg figures - but anyway I have already seen in the last 4-5 months price falls in cheaper flats in less desirable streets in London- and I mean absolute real terms falls (i.e being offered at less than they were bought for). Not many, but straws in the wind. Also none that I would want to live in! I'm talking about places like Streatham. I'm also talking ex-council, 30's mansion block, 80s newbuild rubbish, that sort of thing (I know some of the 30's blocks are nice btw, but some really need a lot of work doing these days). Anyway, the bottom end, geographically speaking and quality speaking is wobbly, even in impregnable London. Clapham's a good bit higher up the pecking order than Streaham of course (these days anyway, I'm such an old timer that I remember when it was rather the other way round). But I'd give it a few months at least and see what's up, you might see places like Brixton and Clapham start to fall in real terms I think. They are both basically very overvalued and I lived in both during the last proper recession (mid eighties through to mid 90s for both those areas) and they got pretty bloody rough, lots of crime, lots of general badness going on. I think some of the new middle-class inhabitants may want to cut and run. You may decide you don't want to move in....
  15. If you really think the EU is a left wing plot then you're moving into conspiraloony turf. The EU's run by the usual business/corporate/political elites. Obviously these have their own self-serving agenda (who doesn't?) - but to call them "left wing" is just daft. You could certainly talk about it having a different, more 'statist' models of capitalism than the Anglo-American libertarian version (the Franco-German model used to be known as "Rhenish Capitalism" when I was at university). I suppose if you really want to be relativist about it, it's slightly to the left of the anglo-saxon version but we are talking about right of centre here, all the way.
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