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Everything posted by Stret

  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.
  16. Plenty more debunking of this story here - http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/24/1010295/-Naomi-Klein-buys-into-the-Iceland-Revolution-mythos (mind you I haven't fact-checked the debunk either, but, like you, the EU error jumped out rather)
  17. Another minor typo, fifth table (subtracting public and private debt from growth figures). First line (1998) you have Actual Growth = -£25.9bn when it should be -£29.5bn.
  18. Sorry to butt into your by-the-numbers free-market rant but at least part of the reason ordinary Germans are prepared to invest themselves in their work is precisely because they are "cotton wool wrapped" - certainly compared to most workers in the UK. Proper state-funded education, vocational training, paid holidays and paternity/maternity leave that that would make a yankee neo-liberal gape and a decent pension at the end of it. One consequence of this is that German workers are ready to re-train (often on their own time) or to accept new employment patterns etc - because they know that they are going to get looked after. It must make cheerleaders for anglo-saxon economics really ill, but co-operation and long term policy-making based on consensus seem to work.
  19. Always makes me laugh when the police go on about things like "possible petrol bombs". You mean you found a bottle? I remember them doing a press conference on an "arms cache" they found during one of the climate camps; basically it was a couple of screwdrivers and a stanley knife.
  20. Sure, the international super-rich will prop up the super-top end of the market, especially while the pound is weak and other investments look a bit dodgy, London property is a handy bolthole for them. And obviously this knocks-on a bit. Then, as I said, the bottom (ex-council, unfashionable areas etc) looks like it's falling already to me. It's the bits in between that are hard to read, I've just heard of an acquaintance who bought a one-bed flat in "Hammersmith" (looks like Shepherd's Bush to me) for £205,000 last spring and has just sold it for £225,000. It was a pokey little victorian conversion on the first floor. I don't get that and think she may have been lucky - or she may be lying of course, many do with property prices. I'm going to look it up on the LR in a month or so (it's only just gone through apparently).
  21. As a fellow newbie I don't know if this has been discussed before on here but it seems to me possible that there won't be A Crash in London, but that rather the market will start to fracture into different parts, some of which will be crash-proof (ish) and others of which will crash hard. I think the bottom end is already clearly going down in London but there are still enough mugs out there on decent money to let a few vendors get lucky.
  22. Lancaster has nearly 13,000 students and a population of about 50,000 + some stupidly expensive prices. Aber's a good call btw.
  23. This is true, but often it's because lots of the population basically don't know what's going on. If that sounds patronising then I should quickly add that myself and our partner sold last year and didn't have a clue what was going on with the market. In our defence we have a young baby, we were out of the country for a year 2008-2009 working in a pretty isolated place with no access to news media so the whole banking crisis thing just didn't really happen except as the occasional distant echo from chatting with a visitor etc etc. I like to think we're reasonably savvy people and our flat was put on the market at a price that seemed toppish (recommended by EA of course) and we were very quick to cut the price when that didn't seem to work and eventually we sold - eventually it went for just less than 15% off the original asking price. That was definitely lower than I would have predicted, but as I have said we knew nothing. We just had other things to think about and deal with. Also we've always hated the whole ******** "my house cost X now it's worth Y blah blah blah" that afflicted so many people. "Not knowing" about property prices was a way of staying sane frankly. I think that's probably quite normal. Having only just discovered HPC, I'm finding it a fascinating place but the level of knowledge here is way higher than average and I think it will take a fair while for some of this to work its way through to much of the population, especially in London where it's still pretty easy to rent your place out if you can't sell. Anyway, for what it's worth, our experience was that EAs are talking prices up, buyers for ex-council properties in London are almost exclusively BTLers, the price at the bottom end (i.e. ex-council) is clearly on its way down in London (our 15% discount was from a price that was achieved in an identical flat in 2009, albeit one that had better kitchen and bathroom).
  24. I'm pretty much a total newbie on HPC, just discovered it a month or so ago so I wasn't really familiar with a lot of these debates but the question is an interesting one. My partner and I sold a 2/3 bed ex-council maisonette last November after it had been on the market since May. Our general instinct was anti-BTL and we discussed this issue and agreed that we would prefer to sell to a family and were ready to make some financial sacrifice to allow that to happen. This was as much out of liking our neighbours and wanting the estate to keep its community as anything. How big a sacrifice we would actually have been prepared to make? I don't know and we were never realistically in any kind of position to find out - in 6 months we had only 3 viewings (that I can remember now - it might have been 4) from potential owner-occupiers. All the others were a steady stream of BTL landlords - I think we must have seen about 20. In the end we sold to one of them, we almost had no choice.
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