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Everything posted by frankvw

  1. Or love it. You either love or hate it.
  2. Pick a good one. I have been working around that part of London in recent months. The ones they sell to the bankers look pretty solid, if soulless. If you like organisation and privacy though, there is something appealing about those areas at night and some nice restaurants entertainment and cafes dotted around. Some of the outlier areas have some shocking build standards though. Particularly Stratford, Greenwhich, Deptford, to name a few. Blocks that are less than a few years old and it's really common to see rust stains bleeding through the exterior plaster and render (crickey! That must be the structural concrete reinforcement - can you even repair that??), the brick ones all seem to have some kind of leeching from the mortar and the brickwork has a sort of greyish film everywhere. Overflowing gutter and drains. Doesn't look healthy, whatever it is. Alot of those slap-up buildings (starting at £500K) just look terminally ill.
  3. One point that jumped at me from that Neal Hudson feed: "As I suspected: overseas buyers are far more mortgage dependent than you might think 53.5% are mortgaged from the Uni of York research" Great, so it's mostly foreign, borrowed money pilling into the shiny tower blocks, bit like the Costas a decade ago. Really, really interested to see what emerges from Mrs May defeat in the Lords over exposing foreign ownership levels and transactions in the Uk property market. Especially given the recent revelations about ballooning levels of state and private debt in China and the mis-reporting of it. These shiny tower blocks in London, Vancouver and Toronto MUST be ground zero for all that funny money and tax evasion. Wonder if this (or crypto currencies) could be the black swan.
  4. Friend bought a little bolt-hole studio near the sea, two years ago in southern spain, around £30k. It's very basic and on the edge of slightly shabby working-spanish town but decent size and very nice park/sea views in the area itself. Mostly Spanish folk around there and all seem quite friendly, the time I rented it for holidays. Apparently, in 2006 it was sold for 100k euros then went through several years of those 'bank owned' repo rental schemes the Spanish banks have been doing for many years. I reckon the same size/standard flat in Dartford or Luton would be £150k. I often look at that house price collapse graph around 2008 then subsequent rebound within that year and think 'ah... so that's what market forces do when the bank of England isn't printing hundreds of billions per years and panicking governments abuse tax payer revenues'.
  5. yeah.. .problem is I like it when I'm on the go and don't have time to make proper breakfast. Its convenient to just make it up in the back of my van with some coffee, bagels, etc., it's the only instant oats I found that isn't super sweet. Even the quaker instant variety is very sweet. Infact, I like nothing better than slow cooked oats with salt... but then I guess I'm then heavy on salt. Hmmm... bacon sandwich.Now when will there be a healthy alternative to that! The research la that cracks that puzzle will get my vote.
  6. Consumers like sugar. I really like Kelogg's Ancient Grain legends Porridge but you can rarely get it at the supermarkets now. Haven't seen it in months. It wasn't sugar free but noticeably less sweet than any of the other instant porridges, maybe it didn't sell so well because it didn't have a sweet taste. I bought about six months worth of it though when they had the packs at knockdown cost in poundlound.
  7. Absolutely. One thing that struck me on LBC 'housing crisis' phone-ins over the past few years has been the numbers of cabbies phoning in with similar stories. Cabs booked out for an entire day, with waiting included, to ferry groups of Malaysian, Singaporean and HongKong pension fund reps to new build developments. Even though in singapore and malaysia you wouldn't be able to own property outright, their people don't like the idea of selling their citizens as rent slaves to foreign investment funds. It's also suspicious how those tower block developments went into overdrive from places like Greenwhich to Canary Wharf to Luton and Croydon, just after the time Cameron, Osborne and Boris (with Boris mayor) came back from all those far east trade talk tours. I'm sure there's plenty of City and Wallstreet involvement there too. Queue financial crisis over there at some point, if the BoE stops printing money and the Gov propping up investor tax breaks, with asian/mid-east pension firms going under. 'No one could see it coming blah blah blah'. All pretty sickening and has potential to get worse after Brexit, when the last levels of restraint are removed from our Banks and Government over the citizenry .
  8. Ahhh.. this is another 'implied' myth attached to the neo-liberal housing bubble propaganda. Humans are living longer in the past couple of hundred years due to unprecedented increases in disease and hygiene science, as well as enhanced infrastructure building, food security and mechanisation. Actual human longevity has not changed much in 10,000 years. There are recorded instances of folk living over 100 years old in ancient Greece and China. More folk now are avoiding disease, famine, war and general 'wwear-and-tear' but the set biological limit of human existence is still pretty much the same. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/oct/05/human-lifespan-has-hit-its-natural-limit-research-suggests It's a slight but important distinction. i.e., it is still a risky business for women to have children over 40, just as much as it was 1000 years ago. Humans are not heading towards a 200 year lifespan. according to current research, and humans still succumb to 'wear and tear'. 50 year mortgages are not a good idea now nor in the era of the pharaohs. Lifetime generational mortgages... well... people born into a prexisiting state of debt are defacto slaves. Funny how generations of people died during the formation of the Magna Carta, Parliment, how those institutions have very clear lines on slavery, the bible refers to slavery over and over again. Yet neo-liberalism (not capitalism, we don't have that) has people rolling back those hard fought ideas every year that passes.
  9. They absolutely will not. Unless you are elderly, disabled, single mother or refugee status. I work in an area where I meet a lot of folk who drift in and out of that situation and I hear the same thing over and over again. If you are a single, healthy male under 68, you will be sleeping on the streets if you do not have money or family to fall back on. 30 years ago it was different but some folk still think of that era, either directly or through parents opinions, but that is not the case. IT JUST IS NOT. For several contractors I have employed who went through this process, it becomes a rude, shock awakening when they realise, this in times of need. You have to have a permanent address in the UK. You pay a stack of cash each month to the state thinking 'oh well, this isn't the US, if it all goes wrong, I'll just phone up the council. No you won't. You are on your own. Another reason I think a lot of people don't realise how pernicious and dangerous the UK debt and housing situation is. Prepare yourself. If you don't want to believe me, just phone up a local authority and pretend you are homeless or try filling out the various benefit online sites for assistance. You will always be turned away to local churches and foodbanks. You will not be given assistance. The Daily Mail is lying to you. I am a volunteer assistant at a CAB and shelter and the salvation army are two charities I DD contribute. Believe me or not but at least try the things I suggest, then prepare yourself accordingly. Then maybe get involved with the tax payers alliance so folk like Blair, Osborne and Cameron don't get such an easy ride giving your tax money to their cronies whilst cutting all infrastructure and social spending from the tax pot. You don't live in the country you think you do. I've lived in the US and UK. The UK is more 'US' than the US, in my opinion. Van dwelling is difficult in the UK unless you go to North Wales, Scotland or Ireland. English folk, in particular, are hostile to vans. No problem in many parts of Europe or the US. Infact, it doesn't bat an eyelid. I live in Devon, mostly, but spend at least half my time on the edges of London where I rent a storage/work unit with parking for my stealth van. Works well for me but you really need a 'stealth' van or folk will give you dirty looks if you are in any kind of residential area in a van that looks anything at all like a camper or RV. http://vandogtraveller.com/ I always follow this guy's blog. He also sells a DIY ebook and youtube guide to building a van from a cheap base. If you do it well, properly ply-lined and insulated vans with caravan type windows are very, very warm and cosy, even in mid-winter in scotland. And much easier to disguise as a stealth van.
  10. I read an interview with Boyle where he credited George Carlin as one of his inspirations. In the words of the master...
  11. Who is actually paying £600 for a non-contract apple phone? (I'm not young btw, just observing). I actually don't see that many young folk with them. Even if you do see them, the contract ones are about £100. Most younger guys I work with seem to buy generic android phones for about £50. I guess if you mostly accept calls from other people and only use internet/email over public wifi, you could probably get away with maybe £10-£20 per year in pay-as-you go call charges ontop of the phone. Just curious, I know the daily mail and estate agents love this '£600' iphone meme but I never observed a whole lot of it in the real world, anymore than you see the odd pair of £250 trainers or Armani suits on the high street but not everywhere.
  12. Same idiot comes onto LBC every month. He's the radio equivalent of an internet troll. Don't know how he keeps a stright face. Keep it up Ben, there's a storm coming your way
  13. Well, you could probably interchange the 'banks' for 'bank of england'. I listen a lot to LBC. They have endless debates about housing crisis, unaffordability, rocketing homlessness. Saying the same things over and over again (but unlike the BBC, usually conclude that house prices are fantasy levels, that's the issue, but no solutions from presenters or callers). I feel like Frankie Boyle at this point. I just want to scream out at the radio "overlay every possible chart you can get about the bank of england policy since 1997 (and various chancellors). Everything they have done has poured petrol on the fire of Brown/Blair's BTL policies and Cameron/Osbornes market interventions. It's the F******* BANK OF ENGLAND!'. I phoned in once and had a discussion with Ian Collins. The presenters and callers just glaze over if you mention economics and the bank of england. Even though their stated, on record, aim for two decades has been to pin down wages and allow asset (house) prices to go beserk, deliberatley, as a consequence of their policies. Worse, Carney has also said on record that BoE policy is to maintain house price growth, whenever markets have started to pull it down AT THE SAME TIME their stated aim is to suppress general wage growth in the country. How can you call this a 'market' How dumb have you got to be to not understand, after two decades, why house prices vs wages have reached the current point? To be fair, at least LBC discuss it. BBC bluffers won't even go there.
  14. We don't have the capitalism that Adam Smith, Ricardo and John Locke wrote about. We have the crony capitalism of 1920's Mafia run Chicago. More the thing Marx and Mussolini wrote about. I've said it before, my bets on either a massive sterling currency run or 1970's/80's style social breakdown. Eventually the yoof will get their heads out of their phones long enough to look up and realise they have become slaves if the currency run doesn't come first.
  15. The interesting caveat I would add is that, for the first time, there are more non-mortgaged households than mortgaged households in the UK according to the last ONS statistics (Of the 14.3m who own their house, 7.4m owned outright, compared to 6.9m who bought with a mortgage, 2016. It is generally thought to have risen further since then). Also, of the mortgaged figure, around 65% have outstanding mortgages around a quarter or less of the outstanding debt. That could make the margins far more volatile and explain record low transactions but the fact is, even in a massive HPC, it would affect a relatively small percentage of the UK population. Apart from the 'feel good factor' vital to the general election campaigns and political party policy. It's interesting to predict what affect an HPC might have on the wider economy. It may not necessarily affect most home owners or owner occupiers but BoE and treasury policy pretty much requires high house prices for a long time to keep the mortgage banks balance sheets in a solvent position. Sudden, sharp falls even now, a decade after the bailouts, could still bring down several high street banks. Drag it out for another decade with a stagnating economy? Maybe not. That would be a BoE/Treasury preferred route. Its all about the Bank Balance sheets.
  16. You could end the housing shortage (well, there isn't a "housing" shortage but a price/market manipulation issue) instantly if Park Homes and Statics were granted say 50 year residential status, allowing for voter registration, permanent mail addressing, etc. If you really wanted to get radical, authorities could pretty instantly ship in those modular, stackable one room cargo homes that hook up to mains, water, and provide them at nominal rents like £100pm. Allow sites to provide a central, permanent address site for campervans and caravans with services hookups, heavily discounted for electric vehicles and green energy friendly services within city centers. Maybe thrown in some strict bylaws, to appease the NIMBYs. But really, NIMBYs need to be told to F### off. If you voted for mass immigration, money printing and buy-to-let tax breaks for two decades, you can't live in the same place anymore. Sorry. Then if you really wanted to get Corbyn radical, compulsory purchase of Golf courses, greenbelt, land banked areas. Ten year ban on second home purchase and foreign purchase. Heavily tax buy-to-let and reinvest the money into social housing projects or genuinely affordable help-to-buy (i.e. well built properties at 3x local income average).Then stop the communist, anti-capitalist policies of the Bank of England. Problem is, selling houses, mortgage debt and high rents IS pretty much the UK economy outside the banking frauds and city money laundering. Also, allowing US style trailer homes or chinese style prefabs will be admitting the problem openly. Its like that hackneyed phrase "we are the 6th biggest economy in the world" you hear the politicos pump out. Absolute GDP, maybe, but not on a per capita basis. There, we are in the 40's worldwide with very low and declining productivity (accelerating downwards in recent years with low mass, low-skill migration). We also now have the 4th lowest home ownership rates in Europe and again, down into the 40's on a worldwide basis. Britain is not a nation of homeowners if you can be bothered to dig into eurostat or OECD figures. Rather a nation of rent and mortgage slaves in a Nation of extreme wealth divides. China, India and Nigeria all have higher total GDP rates than Norway. Does anyone think the average person in those places lives better than Norway? (One of the wealthiest places on earth by per capita measure). No government wants to admit this anymore than they want to not deliver house price doubling every five years to voters, or until the bitter end of that demographic (voter pyramid) die off in large enough numbers to hit the ballot box. In my opinion, if social cohesion collapses before the demographics, there will be major riots on the streets of the UK pretty soon and the tories will be out of power for a generation at least, no matter how bad a labour government performs. If people feel they have nothing to lose and no stake in their own lives, anarchy emerges. Unfortunately.
  17. Yes, you are probably referring to the google software engineer that came out about living in the car park in a winnebago. After that, several others from places like Amazon etc., came forward to say that they had been doing it for years. This is guys earning $200k+ who find rents in San Fransico challenging. I remember years ago watching a CNN or PBS documentary about California homelessness There was one ex-silicon valley MD who was worth several millions at his peak then ended up living in a bus with four kids and never wasn't able to get 'back on his horse'. I think its probably on youtube as they post most of their stuff there after a while, search 'California Homelessness'. If you have never been to L.A., check out some youtube also on Skid row. its a vast, open street homeless area, over 50 blocks wide around downtown area, basically its tent cities on a brazilian favella scale. It's pretty scary to drive through during the day and terrifying at night. It's also about 10 mins away from Bel-Air and Beverley Hills. Tragic thing is that I consider London more (crony?) 'capitalist' than Los Angeles county.
  18. I read this thread with some interest, having previously lived in los Angeles for a decade. Out of interest, I did a property search on Zillow (rightmove type site over there) and its astounding. Way, way worse than London. No chance whatsoever for an average smaller 3 bedroom home under $1.5-$2M in fairly working class areas, 2 bed condos starting at $1M. Absolutely no chance for an average worker to buy anything, I would imagine. Especially as California is a fairly high tax state. When I was there, prices were maybe a quarter to a third of those prices in the early 2000's and thats taking into account that there was a massive house price crash around 2006 that wiped off around 50-70% off prices in some areas. However, some parts of the city still seem to be at the same crash levels as a decade ago but those are areas that are either way out on the edges of the county or in gangsta areas. London seems tame in comparison, tbh. No idea whats going on there as many people in L.A. are just eeking a living and not earning Hollywood salaries by any measure. There was also a big exodous of defence and tech industries over the past decade. I know San Fransico, which always had a price premuim over L.A., is even worse i.e, fairly working class neighborhoods at Chelsea/Kensington levels. There are apparently huge inflows of hot Asian money and Google/Amazon exec bonuses sloshing around but I can't see how that alone would propel things to those levels. Add to that you are on several active fault lines in LA/SoCal, annual forest fires, gridlocked traffic and heavy air pollution. Madness but prices are STILL showing robust rises.
  19. I think the gameplan is to expand equity withdrawal schemes for older homeowners as they reach economic inactivity and would have become reliant on the traditional retirement savings or pension annuities. Crucially, since governments and central banks have all but destroyed the traditional model of income and savings over a lifetime with manipulation of bond values (taken the "capital" out of "capitalism"), this route no longer holds as it had for millenia. The "dementia" tax was the first think-tank salvo to get the idea into public consciousness but you can see a whole raft of neurolinguistics chipping away at this future social policy (ever wondered why all these government adverts "what is your future pension worth?" have been running across the media for the past year?). The UK banking system is still insolvent. It is only the fanatsy QE valuations of the UK property market that keeps the banking system balance sheets "viable". If property valuations fall significantly inline with incomes and industry finance, the political voter bribe unravels, together with a whole raft of the UK banking system. As long as retirees think they are sitting on 500% wealth returns on their home, no political party will want to tackle that at the ballot box, until forced. That is until QE, term funding, tax-payer props into the property market, etc., can no longer be sustained due to a currency run or internal social chaos (like the croydon/tottenham style riots that are coming again soon...). So, if you can slowly unwind these leveraged and subprime valuations over a generation or two, the situation can be avoided. Just takes conditioning of the population that retirees must borrow against their homes to fund retirement and healthcare and that everyone else face a slow, grinding diminution of living standards with no home ownership and minimal pension and healthcare provision. If the economic or social collapse is held off, they could pull it off. Just needs lots of propaganda. Like the one you hear "oh yes, in Europe they all rent and love it". Even though, according to eurostat and OECD figures, the UK has now the fourth lowest home ownership rates in Europe and is way down into the 40's for worldwide homeownership. With the smallest homes and least secure rental tenancies in Europe. And even considering German home ownership (the one that is always highlighted) is only around 2% lower than the UK but, more importantly, rises to around 85% when people reach retirement. In general, German folk buy property late in life for cash and during the working life, they have secure tenancies and much lower rents (or mortgage repayments). Those are the stats but ask any guy down the pub and they will trot out "yeah but your Germans all rent blah blah blah..... The yield curve and regional crime stats are the two barometers I follow closely at the moment. It's only the bond markets or social unrest that will divert the multi-party policy to maintain banking system balance sheets via property inflation.
  20. Well, the long running 3x median income was arrived at by statisticians and old-style banking, based on around 300 years of data. i.e., whenever the market got to out of whack, things turned south since 3x appeared to be a 'magic' number across the data. Same way as historical long term interest rates came out around 5-6%. Golden Ratio type stuff, the type of statistical form of natural 'market' pricing when observed historically and in the long-term. Of course, the past couple of decades caused historical blips with unprecedented Bank of England state intervention, neo-liberal political corruption and borrowing from the future with globalisation, sovereign wealth funds, made-up financial instruments backed with nothing, no money down, by unregulated, offshore investment banks, subprime, IO BTL investers, Help-to-buy state loans, etc., etc., I'll guess we'll see if the repeal of the great depression laws on both sides of the atlantic, combined with unlimited borrowing from the future, will indeed buck the historical mathematical trends (that even Adam Smith wrote about w.r.t. the feudal era and industrial revolution). I personally see it as a modern grab for neo-feudalism but will end up with either economic collapse or mass social unrest and rioting at some point (though that could be a long way off, people in general will accept alot more crap before frustration turns to anger).
  21. Hi, I'm mostly a lurker and don't post often but reading this thread was apt today, I'll give a little anecdote below. UK housing is just nuts for sure and will slowly strangle the economy but the political and globalist hold over the economy - and more importantly the demographic lead impotentcy of folk to do anything may give the housing market in its current state a lot of legs still yet. It will require some major external shock like a run on the pound or major credit downgrade scandal of some sort. I've given my story before, I'm hardly an HPI fan. I was in major negative equity in the US a decade ago but before, I did predict the 2008 blowup. That was a full blown crash in the making but market forces have been so perverted since by BoE and political policy that the plates have kept spinning. It will go eventually but without that shock, we're in that Keynes adadge "The markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent". As long as BoE keep inflating asset bubbles and housing and the governments make that policy number one priority, its only the forced shock that will change things. I'm out of the housing thing nowadays tbh so not too bothered but I do believe housing (and land and commercial property) inflation does eventually inflate costs for everyone and everything. I always think of that quote of US president Thomas Jefferson: "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." The bank of England our enemy number one. I would never vote Labour but now I think I will. It's a win-win situation. If they succeed, they may rebalance the economy. IF they fail, it will reset the economy in a more brutal way but at least it gives a level playing field to the young (I am not young btw). Anyway, my ancedotal is that recently, in the area I park up when in around London, I have seen for several months now the same thing. Regularly. Elderly, well to do looking Chinese ladies clutching estate agent property printouts written in Chinese, walking around the area taking pictures. Lots of different groups. Never speaking English. In a very pricy area. Not to jump to conclusions but maybe the foreign investors are ramping up. There can be a lot more legs yet in the market. If you live in that area, you could get silly money thrown your way for your house. Most folk will vote for that and the are the majority. With no external shock, I can see even a decade more of HPI. Sorry, its not a happy message but there it is.
  22. Are you from Devon and Cornwall County Council? Housing and Land issues are quite complicated in the UK. That is a good thing as the bureaucracy and legal definitions become impossible to micro manage and present even more problems than authorities ever want or can be able to deal with, financially or legally. There are a healthy backlog of legal precedents weighing against them. I fully comply with the law of the land. That said, there are a lot of grey areas that even a judge cannot rule over without serious repercussions to existing land laws, maybe even democracy. So they steer clear. Your first port of call is research "off-grid" living, if you are exploring alternative ways to live a life outside the mainstream system. You must extensively research though because you can easily be caught out, if aren't switched on. Particularly read the books and blogs written by legally switched on folk living on barges and boats in the UK. Herding humans is like herding cats, thankfully. Living in a van (at least part time for me) is the ultimate off-grid lifestyle. Especially nowadays. The pace of solar, wind and storage batteries has been breath taking over the past decade and is about to accelerate even further. 5 years ago, a caravan/boat/motor home, lithium-ion leisure battery weighed about 10KG for a 230aH battery that cost £20K compared to its lead-acid version priced at £100. Now you can pickup 300aH batteries for under £2K that are a quarter of the weight of lead-acid batteries and charge 10 times faster, even when attached to wind/solar power chargers and not the alternator or garage/campsite electric hookup. They will be cheaper than the lead-acid ones within 5 years. Even small, foldup solar panels can pack out reasonable amounts of charge now, small discreet turbines even more. And electric hookups are appearing everywhere when you need it. Properly kitted fans are almost entirely self sufficient and way more healthy to live inside than some of the horror stories you see around the UK of slumlords cramming 30 romanian workers into a 3 bed semi or housing a pensioner in a damp, old bedsit, ripping the council off for £1000pm rent. Big discussions around the off-grid community at the moment is the coming "3rd Industrial revolution" - artificial intelligence and robot automation - and government proposals for future "guaranteed living-wage", which is already in experimentation in Switzerland and Finland. Since the two are related, if the companies that succeed amazon and google do eventually wipe away the living and work patterns of the current forms of society. But thats a separate thread. I personally believe off-grid living and self-sufficiency will be essential in the coming decades and the current form of "buy-big-house-in-suburbs-commute-to-office-block-or-factory" will be viewed as a relic of central bank imposed lifestyles.
  23. The privacy glass will block out a heck of a lot of interior light. Say, at night, a TV or laptop would not be seen obviously from the outside, not until you turn on main lights but then the curtains will block out full lights pretty much completely. Paid around 200 for the whole van. You have to specify " limo" black though, that is the super dark one, much darker than the usual "dark" privacy glass you usually see on vans. From the inside, its like looking through shades, very clear. It also blocks UV light so keeps van interiors cool. I have parked in Spanish sun with just fans and windows cracked and it around 21 degrees inside, 38 degrees outside. Its the UV light that heats the vehicle. Try it out, if you know someone with properly dark tinted UV blocking windows. They also provide security. They don't shatter so easily, a bad dude would have to hack away for a while as it becomes like security glass.
  24. 1850 p.a. About 40% of that is band A council tax. Its residential tourist classification, not a Park or site as such, although there are Park category homes over the hill, near the hotel grounds, that have a winter shutdown. Our form of lease differs and is more rare but available increasingly in Devon and Cornwall in the past few years, given the chronic housing problem for locals (I was born down here so "local", in the words of Royston Vasey). We are in the main estate grounds alongside fixed foundation buildings and pay management fees direct to the freeholder for ground management.
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