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dgul

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Everything posted by dgul

  1. For auctions beyond Feb 2016 remember to budget an additional 3% for stamp.
  2. No - it is a fair point. Life cycle analysis of computers show that most energy is consumed in production c.w. use (except for servers, but we're not talking about them). My dad was very happy with Windows XP, and would continue to be happy with that level of performance - only Microsoft made XP end of life so that it is no longer secure (not that it ever was). Given that Windows 7 wouldn't even install on his machine, there was only the option to upgrade. Actually, I forced him to use Linux as the learning cycle was easer for that than going 7 (and definitely 8). Likewise, there are many companies for whom NT provided full functionality (ie, write docs, communicate with system servers, etc), but who had to upgrade to remain secure. Windows 10 isn't even that great (well, looks pretty, but is no more productive for me than NT). The other problem was Intel with the Netburst architecture (P4 arch, 15 years ago) - that changed expectations regarding CPU power consumption which took years to recover from (arguably the effects are still there).
  3. But it is worth remembering that they were being sensible - Rushing to fix the double miras in 1988 was worth about £1,000 to £1,500 a year for two higher rate taxpayers maxing out their allowance (ie, £60k+ property) - and this is when an average London home cost about £80k - so a substantial amount. It really made sense to 'overpay' by several years worth of payments. Of course, Miras was watered down soon after (base rate relief only, and only 10% when it was scrapped altogether). Now prices did crash by more than the double miras savings, but not many people predicted that. And I'm kind of sympathetic re. the miras losers, as they were predominantly just buying their house for themselves to live in, start a family, etc, etc. No sympathy for the BTL 3% crowd of course - that is a business and if they can't see the headwinds blowing ever stronger (along with numerous storm warnings on the way) then they deserve to fail.
  4. Remember this is the government cut - so this is saying that the North Sea isn't profitable (the revenue is based on profit, not royalty), but on aggregate they're not making a loss. But I don't really believe this - I think some players are very much making a loss, and the fields west of Shetland are presumably horrific at the moment.
  5. The details don't seem to be sorted yet, but so far all the info says that the 3% extra stamp applies in both cases. The extra 3% is for any additional residential property. Or, looking at it the other way around, you get a 3% stamp discount if you never own more than one property at a time. If there is a loophole it is that a couple might be able to buy one house each, one for living in, the other for renting out. But I'd have thought that would be too much hassle for most people (eg, you'd likely only be able to get a mortgage on one salary) The thing which doesn't seem to be at all sorted yet is the situation with bridging properties - where you buy one property before selling the first. I'd have thought that they'll have some sort of 'reclaim the extra stamp' if you sell the first property within 12 months (say), otherwise they'll kill-off an entire section of the auction market.
  6. What is wrong with these people. It won't affect his purchase so long as he can complete before April. He should be happy - he's got his assets and the Chancellor has just made it more difficult for others to compete. Now it might mean that prices of BTL type properties might go down 3% (or even 12% as it is a leveraged purchase) - but presumably it is a business and he should be able to cope with all sorts of problems without becoming all emotional. Anyway, they're all in it for the long term, so what do they care about the asset prices going down - they'll still get the income*. *oh yes, forgot, they'll not be getting so much tax relief (tax credits, if you will), so they might not be taking so much money home.
  7. I don't know why the're complaining - They've already got properties so if this move makes it more difficult to get into BTL then they'll have less competition...
  8. This is a potential problem - bridging loans aren't great but they really help keep chains shorter. I could imagine they'll say you have to pay the 3% but you can get it back if you sell your first house within 12 months (say).
  9. And their employer is paying 13.8% NI on their behalf. The reality is a 28 yr old basic rate taxpayer with student loan has a marginal rate of tax of 48%*. A higher rate 28 yr old with student loan has a marginal tax rate of 57%** *funny calculation, but remember the employer is paying 13.8% without you noticing - so really everyone's salary should be noted as being about 12% higher. **remember, higher rate taxpayers pay additional NI at 2%.
  10. That is a good point. So the rules should be something like - for the first 3 months both are on probation - 2 weeks' notice. For the next 3 months 1 month's notice. next 6 months, 2 months' notice ... 4 years tenancy no no-fault eviction without court order. That way the landlord can offer the tenancy without worrying so much about bad tenants, but the good tenant who has built up a relationship with the local community / schools / employer etc shouldn't be punished just because the landlord has decided they want to sell up.
  11. I agree with the petition - when people talk of the UK not having the same rent culture seen in other European countries it is largely because of the amazing lack of security in private rental for families. One thing I've never really understood is how the assured shorthold tenancy has been allowed to continue. Sure, it has a place, but in most other contractual law the consumer has a right to not have the rules used in a petty way against them. For example, I'm not allowed to employ someone for 1 year 364 days (say), get rid of them and then immediately re-employ them (so that I don't have to pay them redundancy when I get bored with them) - the law would say that even though there are multiple contracts, as an employer I'm taking advantage of the situation, and the employee would have all rights despite my efforts. So how come with letting I would be allowed to do the '6 months at a time' trick, with each tenancy being independent from the previous ones - it is the same as the employment situation - I would be taking advantage of my position in the relationship to force my tenants to take a shorthold lease, even if they might prefer a assured tenancy. The tenant has no protection from the unscrupulous me doing this over and over again. Surely the answer would be for the law to be like for employees - the matter should be the intent, not the letter of the contract. So if you're in a house for 4 years (say) with children then the landlord should of course assume that the tenant would have an assured tenancy, even though they'd been mucking about with shorthold contracts to try and keep the rights as if they'd only been there for 3 months. If they would sort out the law in this way then it would solve a lot of the current problems (and as I say, there is plenty of prior understanding that it is the intent that counts with important consumer rights, and you shouldn't be able to just muck about with contract durations to get what you want).
  12. Allows us to meet our EU carbon emissions limits, while actually increasing emissions compared with conventional power sources (when you include all the transportation costs)
  13. Looks like they're presuming Labour get in next, then we'll have the blackouts ready for the election after... [not a Labour thing - they've 10 years to sort it out and they haven't even worked out how many new installations they'll need]
  14. Well, I tend to think that students should get the same benefits as unemployed people (cash, HB, access to training, council tax) - why do you get money for sitting around going to the efforts to find a job but not for going to the efforts of getting a further education so that you can find a job? So you can imagine I think this is a bad idea. But for the specifics - why not give students access to council tax relief (as now), but make overseas students pay. I don't see why they should get access to our council provided services while they are in the country but not pay anything for them. It would probably be difficult for EU students (they could change the eligibility rules but they won't), but there are only 100,000 of them. There are 300,000 non EU international students, so about 10% of student numbers - so the 10% idea of your for all students would be the same income as 100% CT for international students. Also, the international students in the UK tend to be from high income families overseas, so they could probably afford it...
  15. But they don't take the tube to official functions when dressed up, or take the tube from the airport when there is a cabinet meeting to get to. Also, if I have highly paid (or valued) staff I'd prefer for them to be taking a taxi (where they can work or relax before the next meeting) rather than taking the tube where they'll need more preparation time that evening or whatever. (This is the reason why business class exists - I've travelled to the US for a meeting for one day, preparation on the plane, etc - and been on a plane home so I can be at work the next morning. Doable in standard or business class, but you make less mistakes in the meeting if you're more prepared and relaxed). The question really should be how much smaller do you think it can be. I've worked for large companies where the 'chauffeur car' bill (actually posh taxis) is in the millions per year, and most people most of the time will be using public transport or their own car. But I think there is clearly some misuse going on*. They would do well to have a summary report with miles driven per person. Cost per mile would be instructive, also. * the example being the Mone woman, who is doing something for entrepreneurship even though she was dismissed from her previous post for lying on her CV (so perhaps isn't the most honest of individuals) and has only built up the one company so it might just as well have been luck - if you're going to have someone championing entrepreneurship I'd expect to have a few failures (failure can teach a lot) as well as multiple successes - it might be that following her example will work 5% of the time, and she just happens to be one of the 5%.
  16. I'm sorry but this is a case of 'let's make the proles worry about inconsequential things then they won't be worrying about the important things'. £6m might seem quite a bit of money for real people, but given how much they waste on everything else it really is of no consequence. And, as I said before, there is going to be some spend, so the argument is over how much cheaper you think it could be, not the headline figure. [i should add that I'm not actually a government chauffeur, despite all my support in the face of opposition]
  17. You can't make predictions like that without bringing the pound into it. If it went like that the pound would crater in mid 2016 and that would bring stabilising investment money into the ftse and housing. [of course it doesn't help you as you've just had a de-facto pay cut, but there you are]
  18. Ah, but UK ministers and senior officials know just how dangerous the tube is at the moment.
  19. How much do you think it should cost? I'd expect a government to have pool cars made available by need to senior officials / ministers. 80 cars - seems about right (£100k per car per year - not crazy money (you need to pay the drivers (plus to get value from the car you'd need more drivers than cars), driver training (presumably some are trained at 'tactical driving'), maintenance, fuel, pay for the car (these will all be on the large side, presumably some will be armoured, etc). I suppose you could bring the cost below £6m, but not by much. It is an opaque service, though - it would be better if there were documents with miles driven for each department and by user. Then you could see if there were outliers who were taking advantage of the situation.
  20. BBC had a report on it on Friday - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34806376
  21. £13bln, of which £3.5 bln was immediately sold to the Spanish. They only bought it because they needed to have a head-start with their new UK sub - so the dirtiest loans in the book will now be back as a UK risk, only on the commercial side. Anyway, what is the bet that Cerberus kept the better loans and sold off the most dodgy 1/4?
  22. Thanks for that info - I hadn't seen those sort of numbers (I'm in a different industry). I have to say I find the attitude of the government odd. The (one) theory on recessions is that you should put investment (support) in to keep high-cost-of-entry business open - you don't have to worry so much about low cost-of-entry because those will just start up on their own when the recovery comes (while high cost of entry will take time). But we seem to have spent the last 10 years (and before) killing off the high-cost-of-entry businesses, while supporting the low-cost-of-entry ones. So, we allow ourselves to kill-off steel making. Now I don't know if that is a good thing or not (sorry steel makers), but I do know that it is a one-way street - one day the worldwide steel making industry will recover but the UK isn't going to be a part of it. But we do allow ourselves to support estate agents, nail bars, cupcake shops, dog walkers - some through industry support, others through benefits. Now, if any of these companies died during a recession then they'll just magically reappear when the recovery comes. Of course, it is okay to support them, but it is not as necessary in a strategic way. Funny.
  23. That is a crass argument. There is an element of truth in it, but it is really messed up. Lets state that argument in another way: Non pension benefits in the UK are £100B (say). All this goes into the economy, but there are side effects - eg, people might not work as hard as they could, which reduces the wealth the UK can offer the world in exchange for their good, and reduces growth which would (might) help today's workers when they retire. So lets reduce the benefits bill by half - any benefit you get after the crossover is 1/2 what it is now. That would hurt. Those individuals would spend less, etc, affecting shops etc. But let's instead spend that £50B we've saved, on building UK infrastructure, helping innovation in the UK, supporting UK higher education. So the money will still get into the UK economy, just not through expenditure by the poorest in society, but rather through expenditure by those workers on those products (well, education might be reduced loan payments by graduates, but same effect). Kind of the same effect (the money gets spent in the economy) - BUT - in this alternative expenditure model the UK also gets £50B investment in infrastructure, future growth, jobs, etc. Now, I might say that I'm happy with the provision of benefits to the poorest in society - but looking at these examples a hardly-working family with 5 children could be pulling more after tax than I make flogging my ass off. And I'm trying to employ people, make growth for the UK, blah, blah, blah. Perhaps I'd like to have 5 children but I can barely afford the two I've got, etc, etc. Maybe we should reduce the benefits bill, maybe we shouldn't - but don't string up the argument that it is good for the economy because it isn't. Anway, rant over, what I'd really like to know is how common are these figures. In Wiltshire, say, out of all 'family units' how many are on 10K salary + 50K benefits vs 50k salary 10k benefits. I'd like to think that the 10k salary + benefits to give 50K equivalent are very rare, but I just can't tell. Oh, they say something like 'only 2500 currently get more than 25k in benefits' or something, but what is the distribution - how many would be on 20k, 15k, 10k, 5k, etc.
  24. That is too much of a spurious argument - if the new houses were built then they wouldn't just be contributing to current services - the council would need to spend extra money on all the extra services for the new residents. I'd only say is there a need for additional housing in that area (not demand - that is a different thing)? So if there are lots of new employers in the local area (say, 5 miles radius - that would be an easy bike ride) then fine, otherwise the houses are only making Overton a dormitory village for Basingstoke and Winchester, with associated increased traffic and demand for local services without any real positives. If any locals are complaining about the lack of affordable housing for their children working in local industry (which I guess would be farming) then they could spend their time protesting about stupid government incentives to 'invest' in housing. But I bet those nimbys are actually complaining about the houses lowering the value of their houses, which is perhaps understandable, but is of course one symptom of the UK disease. One of the real disasters of housing policy over the last gazillion years has been the amazing ability of town planning to make life inside towns so much more unpleasant than life anywhere else (that the planners have less influence over). Hence everyone living outside the towns (if they can get away with it) and commuting in.
  25. Really dodgy sounding company. Set up in 2009. Dissolved in 2012. Re-established in 2012. No accounts filed. Late accounts. Single director. Why would anyone invest in a company with that profile - let alone where the opportunity isn't secure. How come it is always ex-bankers that set themselves up in this way. They're all full of confidence but scratch the surface and they're so often idiots.
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