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Fretful Mother

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  1. Yes. Insanely low interest rates have taken flats away from the market, but not just because of cheap money. Friends of mine have a few BTLs which they bought outright "for their pension". Having done well out of property in the past, their present flats are worth approximately what they bought them for. They have spent almost as much money on the flats than they've received in rent due to contributions to the roof replacement etc. To be fair, they respond quickly to their tenants' needs, and they really are lovely, caring, thoughful people. But if they could have earned 4% interest without the hassle of doing anything for it, they would have. If interest rates were at a boring, normal 4-5%, they'd sell up, and there'd be at least two more flats on the market. Apologies for such a "well durr" anecdote, but there is plenty of accommodation out there. It's simply being misused.
  2. Estate agents don't seem to think fire safety or certification worth a mention. Service charge on this 18th floor flat last year (2021) was £2326.01 per half-year . That's £388 per month. And with an EPC of E, £280K seems like a lot of money, even to "Cash Buyers". https://www.foxtons.co.uk/properties-for-sale/sw11/chpk0476301 The EA points out that cladding has been replaced on this flat, but it's still "cash buyers only": https://www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/110417480#/?channel=RES_BUY And there does seem to be a lot of flats going to auction. Who will buy them? And I wonder, if landlords buy them, how can they sleep at night, placing tenants in danger?
  3. Back when we were renting in the north of the south west of England (Gloucestershire), I fell into the habit of looking up how many houses/flats/anything were for sale in a 3 mile radius on Zoopla, and what % of those were "reduced". Here are some Feb stats: 7th Feb 2017, 445 properties listed (29% marked as reduced) 10th Feb 2018, 438 properties listed (28% reduced) 6th Feb 2019, 504 properties listed (42% reduced) 10th Feb 2020, 470 properties listed (31% reduced) 12th Feb 2021, 598 properties listed (35% reduced) 5th Feb 2022, 284 properties listed (24% reduced) Highest number I found for sale was on 8th Oct 2020 with 763 properties listed (35% reduced) Lowest number for sale is today - 5th Feb 2022 with 284 properties listed (24% reduced) Very quiet in Glos. Bonkers pricing.
  4. You are welcome. My first degree was in alalytical chemistry, and I worked for a water co. I like to chip in occasionally. Just seems fair because I enjoy some of the conversations here. Some, not all.
  5. Oh you fret more than me! 1. Google something like "check my water quality" and your water supplier. 2. Dowload the water quality data for your area/postcode. Check for E. coli. Was any found? No? No shit. The water is excellent.
  6. I'd love to see this on Right Move describing a house: "Although ugly, it is not that ugly by today's standards". Ever considered a career in writing copy for Estate Agents? 🙂
  7. My old neighbour is a retired chartered surveyor. He also used to be some grand Doo-Dah or whatever it's called in the Masons. How cosy.
  8. In summary: Near zero rates at NS&I (but your money's guaranteed to be eroded, rather than stolen) Near zero rates in "normal" banks (but your money's guaranteed to be eroded to a point, beyond which it will be stolen)
  9. Thank you for the clearest description I've seen yet of the theory. I have to confess to being unaware of Constructor Theory until you referred to it on this forum a few days ago. Thank you for not descending into numerical symbols. This theory deserves to be described in elegant words of few syllables. I like the idea that this theory might herald a new paradigm. Everything is related and computable, and information or knowledge, as an unquantifiable something that transcends physical systems, has a part to play as an abstract constructor. One could add stories, gossip and epic poetry to your list of memes and "religions, courts, banks, central banks, money, news media, governments, constitutions, political systems and schools" as social constructors. This hints at a potential revaluation of value, some recognition of the role qualitative data and, one day, some way to incorporate such data sensibly into computations? Isn't it hard not to think of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the idea that Earth is a very, very complicated computer? Maybe humans, pebbles and oceans are aggregations of mini constructors making tiny impacts on little substrates, in search of the ultimate question!
  10. Struggling to follow these arguments, but I can appreciate that the acceptance of "other drivers" does help to support the notion of the myth of equal exchange. Both sides of a transaction believe they are getting a good deal, which might entail paying "too much" for the sack of cement that you need immediately. But beyond the building site, and into the fantasy land of macroeconomics, there are no norms. Instead there is a complex ecology of powers which is inextricably linked to Capitalism. A reevaluation of value, including the recognition of bias in the quantification of stuff, the role of knowledge and affect as drivers (yes, how might Constructor Theory help here?), would be a challenging and interesting way forward. But this would require different thinking, and would upset a lot of people.
  11. I voted. But I am struggling with the idea that anything to do with football is important.
  12. £0 on May's Premium Bonds. What's a person with savings to do!
  13. This is on-topic, but mainly because I'm a fretful mother worrying about the OP's children... I understand that you are only considering roles which are paid work as an employee. It is a fascinating yet phenomenally disempowering portrayal of a wicked state of affairs. To be honest, there's company and community to be found in those bottom layers. The top layers look lonely and precarious. Take care when you show the graphic to your children. If I were a young person I'd take one glance at this (very good representation) of the charade of what constitutes civilisation, think "no thanks" and become either depressed or chemically inconvenienced. The disparity between the highest and lowest paid is distressing rather than inspiring. If I were young and happened to have talent, luck, and the ability to devote all my energies and attention to something worthwhile, I would like to devote that energy into working out how to rectify this unsustainable political and ecological system. The solution is clearly beyond the ability of us old gits' imaginations and yes, the neuro-atypical are of tremendous help in these matters. One of my children is convinced that revolution is the only answer. Another wishes to actively opt-out and live a parsimonious life on the basis of if you don't need it you don't have to earn it. Another is an artist who challenges the way I perceive the world. Of course we need brilliant doctors and lawyers and scientists. But only enough of them. We need a firmament of brilliant thinkers, artists, musicians and revolutionaries too! A graphic of jobs that this society actually needs would be cool! The house prices can adjust commensurably. Just thinking about how things could be...
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