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Everything posted by Ignorantbliss

  1. Morrisons rejects conditional £5.5 billion takeover proposal BBC take on the move - Morrisons rejects bid from US private equity firm With Asda being sold to the Issa brothers this year, you do wonder if both brands will still be around in a few years time. That is perhaps going to be the most lingering effect of the pandemic, the flood of cash allowing all these takeovers and the inevitable collateral damage that ensues through "efficiency savings".
  2. Here in Aberdeenshire the nearest to EA fearmongering I've encountered this year is getting asked "are you part of a chain? this house will sell quickly so we're prioritising chain free buyers". Our EA's tend to be a bit lazy....
  3. Not sure if this has been mentioned before - exterior cladding would appear to be only part of the problem.
  4. New listings for round here still over the £1k mark so the boom continues unabated. Stunning statistic... Equally stunning is the rise in vet bills... Vet bills are going to be a slow burner issue - once the lockdown dogs get to 6yrs+ of age, and the bills start arriving, you do wonder how many will then be sent to the rescue centres.
  5. Or another way to look at it is that the Aberdeen summer is just the winter with daylight!
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57339105 Oh well, back to normal apparently so no need for more furlough! Wonder who funds this think-tank?
  7. Worked in Oil and Gas and the major multinational that I was in decided to bring in recruiters to mostly replace the inhouse team. These recruiters had limited knowledge of drilling and the oil industry in general, bar what it would appear to be what they could read from Yahoo (this was a few years ago!). So they do a review of the workforce and decided that employees with over 15 years experience were not helping the companies profitability as their loyalty apparently stifled innovation and also prevented bringing in young eager talent that could inspire the company with new ideas (plus other marketing bs which suitably impressed the Harvard MBA trained management). So incentives were given to those veteran employees and most of them left, enjoying the fact that they were being offered a good redundancy package at a time when there was a shortage of engineers so no problem at all in going to another company. Roll on a couple of months and the company then re-discovers that O&G is a conservative industry and a lot of the equipment used is antique and proprietary (i.e. over 20 years old) as its proven and safe. But that means you need employees that know how to operate and repair them. Guess what, nobody left to do this as they mostly left so the recruiters then have to rehire back the engineers they got rid of as consultants working for 4 times the previous salary. Combined with the fact the company lost many contracts as they could not guarantee personnel and equipment availability, it cost many millions of $ lost revenue. The sad thing is that nothing changed, the oil boom at the time hid these massive mistakes as they could still reap a handsome profit using the engineers as consultants. O&G is a incredibly inefficient industry. As you can guess, this was in the USA but I suspect the same idiocy happens over here as well.
  8. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/one-local-left-village-stunning-24254136
  9. This other thread on the forum gives a good overview of what is happening here, including price trends. Problem with the price indexes that I know of is that they treat the whole of Aberdeenshire as one homogenous body which does not give a good idea of the real market locally. In reality Aberdeenshire is huge geographically and can be broken up into many different local markets based on the likes of Geography (e.g. Coastal Northern Coast Villages, attractive to tourists and thus holiday home buyers; Deeside, royalty tourism) or primary economic dependency (Fishing, NE coastal strip centered on Peterhead/Fraserburgh), Oil (area surrounding Aberdeen), Farming (NW Aberdeenshire, Southern Aberdeenshire). In the areas where oil has a big influence prices are a lot higher than the farming dependant areas like round the likes of Lumsden. Overall, in general, prices in Aberdeenshire are still higher than many other areas of Scotland. You definitely get better value for money in areas around Dundee/Perth with the huge added advantage that you are a lot closer to Edinburgh and Glasgow and the services/transport links they provide. Moray is also a good area for value - we're seriously thinking of moving over there if work can confirm that we can work from home most of the time going forward (main office is in Aberdeen) - as you can get onto the A9 quickly should you need to go to the central belt plus the climate is a lot better than Aberdeenshire (warmer, less Haar!). Country houses in Aberdeenshire are selling quickly at the moment as long as they are well presented and with decent gardens - the best value I am seeing currently is around Laurencekirk (farming dominated area south of Stonehaven). If you are used to city comforts though, Aberdeen will disappoint as its getting very run down and reflected in all the big shops closing (John Lewis etc; even M&S is rumoured to be downsizing massively). New build estates though are atrocious with minimalist gardens at best so best avoided. I suppose the same can be said everywhere else in the UK.
  10. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/06/01/west-virginia-to-give-away-guns-as-covid-19-vaccine-incentive/
  11. Another Evening Express article on the Aberdeen property market... https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/lifestyle/property/aberdeen-bucks-housing-boom-trend-as-resale-values-drop-to-uks-lowest/
  12. Better to spend the money whilst you can, otherwise off to the Thai care home for you (inheritance saving tip no doubt coming to the Telegraph soon in a follow up article) - link1, link2. Having had to deal with care homes a lot in the last few years, the whole system in the UK is in crisis with the government adopting an ostrich mentality to the whole issue. There are no easy solutions for the issue, so no wonder Johnson and company do not want to tackle it - providers invariably want to give a better level of care but financially they cannot. As it stands, for many of the homes I have dealt with, their financial survival depends on overcharging private residents to make up the shortfall from government funding. When you think about it, that is the best solution for any government. They give the illusion of government support but in reality a silent tax on the sick pays for it, but its a tax that cannot provide the revenue required to give the level of care really needed. I can certainly see the logic in sending relatives abroad where you need to get the best possible care (especially where 24hr care is required and dementia is involved) as its financially impossible in the UK unless you are in the top 1% - the overseas option at least allows you to stretch what private money you have a lot longer. God help you though if you fall back onto requiring full government support as then you can generally look forward to the legal minimal amount of care and the worst room in the home - so best hope you can self-finance until your mortal end. Or even better, make sure you try and stay healthy and avoid care homes altogether! What always amazes and heartens me is how many are willing to work on the minimum wage in the sector, doing what is really quite grim work, at a high level of professionalism. It goes to show there is some humanity still out there, irrespective of the best efforts of the politicians. As for the young, those expecting to inherit from their parents for the likes of a house deposit etc better understand well that they can kiss goodbye to most of that inheritance as soon as a care home gets involved. Personally I know of one family where both parents went into care, with total care home expenditure over a number of years totalling c.£358000 - the house was sold to pay for this, leaving the kids virtually nothing. And that is perhaps the lesson, don't rely on others for your financial wellbeing and focus on getting the politicians to create an environment that makes your life better and more affordable.
  13. Pity Aberdeen can't get its act together and try and bring well known names like this to the city if they really intend to boost tourism... https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-57185846 Purely anecdotal but in the last few weeks well presented country properties are selling fast with closing dates appearing more and more (which as previously mentioned has been rare for the last couple of years round here) - like this. So, the removal of the stamp duty relief doesn't seem to be impacting that much on house sales for that type of property at least. All this on the back of a significantly higher unemployment rate - https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeenshire/3154054/north-east-jobs-woe-revealed-in-latest-unemployment-figures/ Strange times.
  14. The inevitable fallout from the dog mania... 'Death row dogs' overwhelm rescue centres https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9584097/Animal-rescue-centre-getting-multiple-calls-week-abandoned-death-row-dogs.html Meanwhile the chancers are still try to sell pups for £5500 - and if that ad is to be believed, at least one is reserved already.
  15. Crazy times, there were 12 in that litter of mongrels so a good 10k profit at least! In contrast our neighbour got their collie cross free of charge two years ago as the breeder wasn't able to sell them. I suspect the local rehoming centres are dreading what is going to happen come the autumn.
  16. I have never understood why the Conservatives especially are so keen to keep Scotland. Let Scotland go and they are virtually guaranteed to be in government in RumpUK forever. Add in all the money they would apparently save by not paying the Scots. So it's a win/win situation. The question then is, what is so important about Scotland that they don't welcome the chance to let them go? It can't be about defence - I'm sure there are many places in England that would love to host the Faslane subs. Is it some psychological disorder in the Conservative leadership which can only be sated by dominating another country that doesn't go along with their mantra? Is the seat on the UN security council that important, would it even be lost if Scotland seceded? One of the great mysteries.
  17. Roll on 8 months and the dog mania shows no sign of abating (here in NE Scotland at least). Prices have dropped ever so slightly, but you are still looking at £2000+ for the favoured mongrel breeds like Cockapoo. Just where on earth is all this demand still coming from?! Main reason for bumping the subject is that the money side of all this is extraordinary. Friend of ours told us this morning how they were doing a repair job when the house owner got talking about their Staffie and what a money earner she was. Turns out its had 2 litters (Apr 2020, Dec 2020) and they are planning another next month. They apparently sold the first litter for £2900 each (six in the litter) and £2400 each for the second litter (five in that one) - all sold within days of posting. Plan to sell for around £2000 each for the next litter. When you consider that the cost of rearing the pup to 8 weeks is a fraction of that, the profit is stunning and in this case must beat the average annual wage in Scotland (once you take into account the slim likelyhood of the income being declared and taxed accordingly). Another sad sign of the buying mania out there, just hope when it all comes crashing down it's not too catastrophic.
  18. For amusement, here is the Evening Express take on the report. I'm looking for a 4 bed with decent garden in Aberdeenshire at the moment and what is striking is the lack of any decent houses coming up for sale, certainly compared to recent years. What does appear is invariably selling quickly, even seen closing dates used which is unusual for here in recent years. In contrast, flats and new rabbit hutches with postcard gardens, well plenty of those available. https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/cautious-optimism-as-aberdeen-property-prices-are-on-the-up/ Cautious optimism as Aberdeen property prices are on the up New figures reveal “unusually good” levels of activity in the Aberdeen housing market, leading to property prices beginning to climb. According to local experts, activity in the first quarter of the year is usually a good indicator of how the market is set to perform in the coming nine months and this year’s figures bring encouraging news. The first quarter numbers show that nearly 25% more properties were bought and sold between January and March this year compared to the same period in 2020. Prices too are looking positive, with the annual house price in Aberdeen and surrounding suburbs rising 5.4% year on year. This is no doubt welcome news after the shaky year the north-east property market has faced since the coronavirus pandemic took hold last March. Evidence that the north-east market was beginning to recover could be seen in the final quarter of 2020, when property sales began to pick up. This has continued into 2021, with 1,282 dwellings sold in Q1. John MacRae, chairman of the board of directors of ASPC, has called these signs “invigorating” and adds that March this year saw the highest volume of traffic ever recorded on aspc.co.uk, Aberdeen’s most well-known property site. However he cautions against any rash action, and reiterated that we are not out of the woods just yet. After all, the annualised house price change over five years in Aberdeen is -3.4%. He said: “The report released by the Centre for Real Estate Research at the University of Aberdeen Business School, for the first quarter of the year brings encouraging news. “This year, we have a strong positive indicator on prices, the first in several years. “The first quarter figures are always of interest because, by the end of March, we generally have a good indication how the market is likely to be during the year. “The last quarter of 2020 had seen unusually good activity in our local housing market, leading to positive movements across two out of three categories. This was very welcome, given the year that we had endured. I recall endeavouring to dampen expectations for 2021. I was concerned not to raise hopes. “It is invigorating, therefore, to see that results for the first quarter of this year continue to show improvement in our local housing market, albeit not yet of a comprehensive nature. “Nevertheless, the first quarter results reinforce the anecdotal evidence of practitioners that we may be experiencing a recovery in our market. “An additional sign of how our local market is doing is the increase in our website traffic. March this year has seen the highest ever traffic on aspc.co.uk. “Compared to prices five years ago, our market remains down by 3.4%. Compared to the last quarter of 2020, it is down 0.4%. Compared to the same time last year our market has risen 5.4%. These figures require some context to help explain what I think is happening. “Last year was ‘unusual.’ After a mildly encouraging start the local market was stopped in its tracks by lockdown, only to recover, strongly, later in the year. Understanding just how busy the market was, last autumn, allows the first quarter’s result of -0.4% to be seen in context, as essentially stable. “Additionally, five years ago, the first quarter’s report for 2016, indicated the annual house price change was -4.9%. The current change is +5.4% Given the mediocre performance of our local market since 2014, this is a very hopeful sign. “Finally, the annualised change (over five years) stands at -3.4%. “What all this means, I think, is this: Despite a severe knockback to activity, last year, we saw evidence of increasing confidence, and increased activity, after lockdown was lifted. “The activity was not of “boom time” proportions but was welcome. The first quarter of this year appears to be continuing at similar levels of activity and is also having an upward effect on price. “Do bear in mind that we are in a recovery situation, prices are still, in the main, below the levels of 2014, but there are grounds for optimism that the recovery will continue.” These figures have been compiled by Aberdeen Solicitors’ Property Centre Limited (ASPC), in cooperation with Aberdeen University Business School’s Centre for Real Estate Research, relating to the housing market in Aberdeen.
  19. https://publications.knightfrank.com/the-aberdeen-report-2021/the-aberdeen-report-2021/ Knight Frank, The Aberdeen Report 2021 Interesting overview of the current commercial market in Aberdeen. This is the Evening Express take on the above. https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/business/aberdeen-property-offices-market/ Knight Frank expert says Aberdeen property market ‘all about demolition and empty property business rates’ The latest Aberdeen Report by international property giant Knight Frank paints a gloomy picture of commercial markets in the Granite City. Eric Shearer, partner and head of the firm’s Aberdeen office, admitted there wasn’t much to be optimistic about just now. “It’s all about demolition and empty property business rates,” Mr Shearer said. The “pretty grim” Aberdeen Report contains more lowlights than highlights, but there are some promising signs for the industrial market, he said. At least 15 office blocks were earmarked for demolition last year in Aberdeen, compared with only nine in 2019. Wrecking balls have swung at a raft of sites where property owners have chosen to turn office buildings – in some cases perfectly good ones – to rubble, rather than keep paying high business rates, with only limited relief available after the first three months. Calling for change, Knight Frank’s report says: “We sincerely hope that someone in the position of power makes sense of the current business rates system, adapting it for the times we live in. “It simply is not fair as it exists and leads to behaviour that is wasting perfectly good buildings and is without doubt environmentally unsustainable.” Mr Shearer warned the impact of Covid-19 may have caused lasting damage for the city centre office market. Firms were previously enthusiastic to relocate into new buildings on or near to Union Street, but a likely preference for using cars rather than public transport during and beyond the pandemic could swing the pendulum back to employers favouring locations with on-site parking, he said. Office requirements will change, with more people wanting to work flexibly in future – meaning “easy in, easy out” deals and not long-term tenancies are likely to become the market norm, he added. Council convert Despite his concerns about what this and also an ailing bricks and mortar retail sector will mean for the city centre over time, Mr Shearer said he had recently become a “convert” in terms of his support for the local authority and its efforts to improve Aberdeen. “I’m going to have to eat my words,” he said, adding his scepticism of the past had given way to admiration for Aberdeen City Council moving ahead with major projects like Teca, the art gallery and a revamp of Union Terrace Gardens. Knight Frank says the office market will see a continued “flight to quality” to modern, energy-efficient, open-plan accommodation, with a growing number of firms embracing “blended” working arrangements. Significant activity in the city’s industrial market is expected in the second half of the year, once Covid-19 restrictions have eased and confidence returns to the workplace. Increased competition, particularly from new-build properties, is forecast to put pressure on headline rents in the second-hand office market. Land values will likely remain flat for the next two years, despite “demand on all fronts”, Knight Frank says. Digital Aberdeen In wider property markets, the company expects the private rental, build-to-rent and affordable housing sectors to grow rapidly on the back of “massive” investment. And among the brighter predictions in the report, Knight Frank says cities like Aberdeen that have made digital infrastructure a priority will “carry favour” in the location choice of companies looking for a home. Introducing the report, Mr Shearer and his Aberdeen team say 2020 was “meant to herald a period of relative calm”, allowing firms to move forward with short and longer-term occupational strategies. But the global spread of Covid-19 and containment measures imposed “quickly reversed optimism, altered business focus and hindered transactional ability”, they add.
  20. Looks like a bit of the housing mania has hit round here. This house came on the market on the 27th April, closing date set for the 7th May. For sure, nicely presented country properties are selling well.
  21. You know, compared to the detached rabbit hutches being built round here this is a improvement. Plus its that rarest of things, a new build house with a garden that is larger than a rotary dryer.
  22. Here in Aberdeenshire, anecdotally the end of the SD holiday has made no difference. Market here is a bit unique as prices have dropped significantly since 2015 (still higher than a lot of Scotland mind). If I believe my solicitor prices have now stabilized (though flats in Aberdeen are in trouble). We're looking to get a larger house and the big issue is lack of good quality supply, what little that comes up is shifting quickly (well, within 6 weeks or so, which is quick for here compared to the months last year). Plenty of crappy new build rabbit hutches available though. Interesting to note that in our immediate area, what house moves we have seen in the last two months have been down to a bit of a influx from down south. House near us that just got rented went to a family from Dover, and another house near us was bought by a couple from London - solicitor also mentioned that they are getting "significant" demand for video tours of houses from people unwilling to come up for the first viewing.
  23. Surprised to see that the total for sale on ASPC has dropped to 5410. I have a search setup for new listings for 4 beds+ in Aberdeenshire and there is definitely a sluggish supply of new houses coming on the market. New builds are not selling but properties with a respectable sized garden are going quickly.
  24. https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/article/almost-50-homes-approved-for-aberdeenshire-village?fbclid=IwAR0hPq4cHeLj_7Qu9wiGziJKoqNaldNLZXntarqubQjyUbeiWGWuXDroCRw Wonderful example of how councils are all too close to the builders. Note the comment “It is only a question of the detail whether the flood risk to some of the properties that have been proposed, is in fact much greater than one in 200 years". In other words, we know some of the houses are going to get flooded, we just don't know how often but ultimately we don't care so lets approve the plans anyway! Makes a complete mockery of the planning process. The estate is gloriously badly designed - plans - this being the last stage of a 99 house development. The most bemusing aspect is that about 75 of the houses can only be accessed via a single, single track road. Had the builders added one more house to the plan, they would then have been forced to add a second access road. Builder cynicism at its best. God help anyone deciding to live there. Just wish the media would report more on these really dodgy planning decisions, but as Stewart Milne is involved, fat chance of the local rag (P&J) making any fuss.
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