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Everything posted by Ignorantbliss

  1. Express hyping the sure financial bet that apparently is property. Just depressing reading really. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/property/1486532/house-prices-uk-prediction-increase-2031-average-home-cost-323k-property-market That article above being based on this one.... https://www.comparethemarket.com/home-insurance/content/future-of-home-ownership/
  2. https://www.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk/da/394890 The Scottish legislation on interlinked fire alarms is going to be a big story up here, I reckon, as we get closer to the Feb 2022 deadline. Very few people know about it, and even fewer know how costly it will be to put in (looking at £150+ for a 3 bedroom house, if you self install). No wonder the Scottish Parliament has been pretty quiet on this (all parties apparently voted for it) as there is guaranteed to be a public backlash as its an expense many are not going to want to pay out (though the intentions behind it are are sound enough). Was discussing this with my solicitor and their personal interpretation of its effects are as following... House sellers will have to have a fully interconnected fire alarm system in place before they can sell All rented properties will need one They expect that almost all home insurance policies will require the system in place by Feb 2022, otherwise house insurance claims for fires would be invalidated (housing stock not complying with local government legislation requirements) Amusingly, the tad expensive, and supposedly trendy, Google Nest Protect system is not compliant. From Scottish Government website - "Please note: the Nest Protect System will not meet the standard. This is because they do not meet the requirements for a heat alarm under the relevant British Standard. British Standard (BS 5839-6:2019) makes it clear that only heat alarms should be installed in kitchens."
  3. Going by my solicitor prices have stopped falling around Aberdeen, and that with a dying oil industry and naff all else in terms of major employment opportunities. Got talking with a local (blue) councillor over the weekend, and to try and keep the local economy afloat, they are musing in the background about the idea of advertising in SE England for people to move up here. The logic is that people from there can sell their house for twice the price of a house round here. Being pioneering entrepreneurs they will apparently then use that spare cash to set up new businesses and create new jobs here. I then asked "What about the locals who cannot afford housing as it is, won't that just price even more people out of the market" (still well over the scottish average). "Doesn't matter, if they can't afford a house now, they're of limited use to the economy anyway". Still trying to compute all the conflicting messages in that, and I thought the westminster lot were callous. Just hope the council goes ahead with the plan as it will be a PR disaster for them, especially with the council elections next year. Can you imagine posters on the London Tube along these lines (head north, land aplenty and opportunities abound)!
  4. One of the main local Facebook sites summarises pretty well the latest leaked report from Aberdeen City Council regarding the purchase of the old indoor market in the city centre... https://www.facebook.com/AberdeenGuardian/photos/a.1421469054634099/4210722382375405/ Here is the story they are referencing. https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/exclusive-new-aberdeen-market-plans-could-use-up-half-of-councils-150m-city-refresh-fund/ You do get the feeling that the councilors are all SimCity addicts with all the grandiose plans they are coming up with (looking at you Beach Esplanade - https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/new-aberdeen-stadium-on-cards-as-part-of-integrated-masterplan/). That £1billion city debt is going to keep on growing. You do start to appreciate the more parochial conservative nature of Aberdeenshire Council when you ponder and think about how the residents of Aberdeen City are going to pay for all the councillors grand plans.
  5. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/08/24/snp-push-rent-controls-yet-another-nicola-sturgeon-disaster/ Another rant in the Telegraph (via the Spectator as its written by Kate Andrews who is a economics correspondent there) about the Green/SNP pact. Hyperbole brimming to the top as well....
  6. https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/former-city-centre-hilton-latest-aberdeen-hotel-earmarked-for-student-flats/ Yet another city centre hotel (third in a month) to be converted into student accommodation, the studentification of the city centre continues apace. Surely there must be a limit on how many students want to study in grey dreich Aberdeen!
  7. Nice area, nice enough house, not a nice price. Seems overpriced to me, looking for a naive London buyer with too much cash as there is no way that extension cost £200k. Quite taken by this house in Old Aberdeen, much bigger period property but similar price - just have to put up with the University students in term time! https://www.aspc.co.uk/search/property/400399/81-High-Street/Aberdeen/ Heard this evening of a second big O&G company deciding that all employees have to return to the office full time (having hinted at doing the direct opposite at the start of the year). If this trend continues, it could help support the price of housing within easy commuting distance of Aberdeen.
  8. We'll see how long the policy will last as last year, to save costs, the company closed the main office and literally demolished it. They've been laying of people since then, but even so, there is not enough space left in the remaining offices for all the employees to come back full time. So mood is that either there are more layoffs to come or they will be forced to allow WFH. Company holds the cards as there are very few jobs out there, so no competitors that disgruntled employees can go to unless they quit the industry completely.
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/05/climate-crisis-scientists-spot-warning-signs-of-gulf-stream-collapse?
  10. Other half just got told today that WFH is to end by November. Just six months ago the company (oil company) was all for giving employees the ability to work from home most of the time. Number of them asked management today why the sudden change in direction, just got told its orders from HQ in America and its not negotiable. Wonder how many other companies are going to play hardball on this.
  11. Having lived in Texas for three years and endured the healthcare system there, you definitely do not want to emulate it over here. That system was immensely stressful to use, even with Cigna company insurance, and I heard some shocking stories from US work colleagues regarding the cost of treatment ($4500 ambulance fee for example for transferring between two hospitals 1 mile apart! - justification, the consultant had to accompany the patient....). I can fully appreciate now why the locals there told me that you were an illness away from bankruptcy. As most medical insurance there is linked to employment, losing your job through illness can literally and quickly end up being a life threatening situation, especially with the threadbare social care system. The whole system just seemed outright corrupt the one time I used it for a minor stomach complaint. At the time I was subjected to masses of tests over a 4 day period and ended up at the end with a $4900 bill (the medical insurance in the multinational company I worked for then had a 20% excess), this all being treated as a outpatient. What stressed you most was the complete unknown about how much it was going to cost, the reams of paperwork that you have to sign before treatment telling you little and the consultants etc telling you even less - utterly opaque. Coming back to the UK, local GP looked at what they had done and commented that most of the tests were absolutely pointless unless I had an immensely rare condition. On reflection, I've come to the conclusion that all that unnecessary testing was down to a combination of factors a) Healthcare over there is ruled by lawyers, the highly litigious nature of things meaning that the consultants cover their ass by doing every test under the sun, just in case they are sued for negligence. b) As its all private, there is a massive incentive to do as many tests as possible as there are kickbacks throughout the system for the consultants/doctors etc - be it direct commission or the likes of invites to golf tournaments down at Corpus Christi. Those two factors combine to reinforce each other, hence the spiralling medical costs. Profit in primary healthcare is a disaster, at least BUPA here is a not for profit company so theoretically there is less incentive for this type of unnecessary testing.
  12. https://scotlis.ros.gov.uk/property-summary/ABN30862 Think this is it, £460k in 2017.
  13. Aberdeen City Council to invest in building a brand new shopping centre... https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/exclusive-bhs-and-indoor-market-sites-taken-over-by-aberdeen-city-council-as-purchase-sealed/ Meanwhile, literally within a few minutes walk of this site there are three existing shopping centres (Trinity/Bon-Accord/Academy) which look to be running at only 50% capacity (especially after the closure of Debenhams). Good to see such diligent and useful use of public money.
  14. Meanwhile Aberdeen City council continues to buy up derelict shops in the city centre to allow the construction of a new council owned shopping centre... https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/exclusive-bhs-and-indoor-market-sites-taken-over-by-aberdeen-city-council-as-purchase-sealed/ The council building a new shopping centre all looks very high risk to this pleb. Literally within a few minutes walk of this site there are three existing shopping centres (Trinity/Bon-Accord/Academy) which look to be running at only 50% capacity (especially after the closure of Debenhams). So where is the economic justification for this plan? As would expect from the local rag (the P&J), there is no questioning of the economic logic about this decision - so living up to their acronym, Pathetic Journalism...
  15. Quick, time to invest in Aberdeen property before all the bargains disappear! https://www.propertyinvestortoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2021/7/banishing-the-blues--is-it-time-for-the-aberdeen-property-market-to-shine
  16. Says it all about how useless our opposition politicians are when it requires an Insurance Company to challenge and highlight to the public another dubious government housing policy. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58029653
  17. No, what you are seeing there is a SUDS pond that is usually dry (well, every time we've visited). The nearest permanent waterway is a small stream about 200m to the NE (and about 10m lower down in terms of altitude); they're actually applying to build on the floodplain of that stream in another part of that village just now, but that is a different story. That second house actually has more privacy than the other one as there is a farm road at the back of it and protected farmland after that so no chance of there ever being a building looking into your back garden. Is that worth an extra £20k though, nah...
  18. Not sure about Aberdeen city but according to my solicitor, houses in Aberdeenshire are generally going above asking price by around 1%, thanks to a lot of outside buyers coming into the area. That is a big change compared to the last few years. Whether that is true will become apparent soon enough via data from the Scottish Land Register - https://www.ros.gov.uk/services/search-property-information It's a strange market, this house for example went on sale last Tuesday - https://www.aspc.co.uk/search/property/400649/27-Green-Meadows/Inverurie/, and was sold less than a week later (the advert says under offer but we know the neighbour and its definitely sold). In contrast, this is the same house design but in a different part of the estate and has been up for sale since last year. https://www.aspc.co.uk/search/property/391286/13-Bennachie-Gardens/Inverurie/ The difference? The first was selling £10k under home report valuation, the other at home report valuation so market is as ever price sensitive. What is more interesting is that at the end of last year, the surveyor valued the second house at £310k. However, the same surveying company valued the first house at £300k. So a £10k drop for the same house design in less than a year.
  19. What a utterly bizarre story in the P&J this morning regarding the marriage of the Scottish Finance Secretary (Kate Forbes)... https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/3350830/scottish-finance-secretary-kate-forbes-ties-the-knot-in-dingwall/ It all starts as you would expect celebrating the marriage. Then halfway through the article is it shifts completely into basically a rant about how she decided not to extend the stamp duty holiday in Scotland, and how dare she not try and rush through her house purchase to avoid the extra tax (an ethical politician, what a change). Someone in the P&J management has been lent on to push propaganda out for house tax changes! In contrast, other papers like the Daily Record just concentrate on the story of the marriage itself - https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/snp-minister-kate-forbes-celebrates-24646123
  20. A point I forgot to mention yesterday in favour of Aberdeen is that in terms of healthcare it punches above its weight. Not only do the hospitals support Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, they also support the northern isles (Shetland etc). Thus they have more resources than what you would expect for the population size in the immediate geographical area.
  21. Was surprised to hear today that Baker Hughes are closing one of their main manufacturing/support bases in Aberdeen. Symbolically this is significant being one of the main oil field support companies and it shows just how few projects are ongoing or are planned in the next few years. Now to wait and see if the other major oilfield support companies (Schlumberger etc) react in a similar way.
  22. The studentification of the city centre continues... https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/another-abandoned-aberdeen-hotel-to-be-turned-into-student-flats/ The uplift in oil price not good enough for Baker Hughes, closing one of their main Aberdeen bases... https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/100-facing-redundancy-with-baker-hughes-poised-to-close-aberdeen-base/ This is in addition to the layoffs at the Montrose base announced earlier in the month... https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/business/business-news/2358916/exclusive-more-than-80-jobs-to-be-axed-at-baker-hughes-in-montrose/ Where Baker goes, the other multinationals tend to follow so will be interesting to see how the likes of Schlumberger and Halliburton respond.
  23. You'll know the ASPC thread on here, so no point in repeating the details in there. Plus, having lived here already you know about the vagaries of the weather and the long days of winter darkness (new neighbour moved up from Dover in May, was shocked when I told them that it's dark at 3pm in December. They are in for a shock this winter...). If I were thinking of moving back up, I would personally avoid living in the Aberdeen City Council area. The council there is really bad led and has been borrowing and spaffing money in the last few years at an amazing rate with little to show for it - in the last report the debt is now £1.189 billion pounds. At the same time Aberdeen is definitely a lot poorer than it was even just 5 years ago, the closing of John Lewis is just another reflection of the poor state of the Aberdeen economy. The oil boom years are gone for ever and alas the council never made any attempt to diversify the city economy when the times were good. So how are they going to finance that debt? Already there are plans for massive cutbacks in services and that can only get worse with time, especially if interest rates go up. That leaves the council tax as the main revenue earner as the Scottish Govt is not going to rush to help out a Tory/Labour administration council. Conversely Aberdeenshire council tends to be a better run organisation and being a mainly rural council, has a much more diversified income stream (agriculture etc). Got to say though, if you are being allowed to WFH, you potentially have the whole of Scotland as an option and that opens up much better options (to me at least). My personal preference is Perth and Kinross. Housing is comparable if not cheaper in price to Aberdeen, climate is better and you are close to all the main motorways/rail lines so timewise are also close to all the amenities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Given a WFH choice from my company I would be moving there in a instant. Inverness is also a gorgeous area to live if you are outdoor focused, massive boom in population there the last few years.
  24. https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/19450726.neil-mackays-big-read-inside-story-organised-crime-gangs-took-scotlands-illegal-trade-puppies/ Grim read but not surprising considering the vast profits in puppies just now. The puppy mania continues, reflected in this article.. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/perth-kinross/2396632/sspca-pet-prices/ It's behind a paywall but apparently the SSPCA are still getting dozens/three digit applications for strays. The ultimate reflection of discretionary expenditure continues to boom.
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