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hra

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Posts posted by hra

  1. Anecdotal, but back in December I was saying I had not seen any very obvious attempts at advertising reduced prices (even if in actual fact they were being reduced quietly as my own sale would have been) - but that's changed.

    In the Reading property paper which came out around Easter just when the "spring bloom" was getting underway of course, there were several estate agents whose pages now unsashamedly sport "new price" flags or even overt "price reductions". I tried to work out whether there was a pattern in terms of property type. Certainly a lot are starter homes - or maybe "non-starter" homes - but not all: there are even nice-looking family homes and bungalows on the reduced list. The only theme seems to be that that the very upmarket estate agents and/or particularly desirable villages still seem unaffected. That could of course be down to the way they advertise.

  2. It's not like a newspaper to exaggerate things!

    :D

    They were probably just trying to be ironic or something, considering the tone of their other articles ;) anyway for me it didn't quite come off especially when the article is quoted out of context.

    I suppose it's just sensitivity to the fact that as HPC gets more and more publicity, there will be a temptation to portray it as doom-mongers rather than a reputable source.

  3. Just a thought - but how about writing to Points of View? - not that many people would watch, but it's an idea - also a bit of promo for housepricecrash.co.uk??

    Also - as I missed the programme, has anyone got a copy they could put on thw web - a bit like you did with the 'great house price crash 2005' recently??

    I've just visited the site and it says Points of View is off air, though they have a forum where you can air your views, maybe to little effect other than promo value but who knows.

    Someone has already started a thread there:

    Unreal Story

  4. Complaining may not be enough. This is the number of complaints about a Jerry Springer Program, I feel we will not enter enough:

    Overall the night was the subject of over 65,000 communications with the BBC. Around 96% were complaints, and the vast majority concerned the transmission of Jerry Springer - the Opera from 10pm. Over 84% preceded transmission and the purpose of those was, in general, to persuade the BBC not to transmit the programme.

    I agree with you SC although a genuine complaints procedure with any backbone shouldn't be treated as some kind of voting process with some possibly arbitrary limit set on the number of communications which trigger action! Bit like Big Brother - only the worst x number of programmes get nominated for eviction?

    Obviously it is entirely possible for an astute minority of complainers to be right especially when backed up with such clear arguments, and in a peverse way, it might be worth making the point to Ofcom and elsewhere that a relatively low number of complaints can reflect the effectiveness and danger of propaganda even more than a media frenzy.

  5. Someone else suggested writing to their MP. Not a bad idea IMHO especially if enough people do so and considering it's election time.

    Another possible angle would be to suggest the subject as a discussion topic for your local radio station's phone-in.

  6. A really major benefit would be no more Kirsty Allsop on the tv!

    Want to bet? Surely the BBC would at least screen an in-depth feature-length documentary showing that the housing market wasn't going to crash at all until someone started that awful website and went round spreading malicious rumours, just like "putting smallpox in the water". They probably wouldn't show Kirstie eating her hat, though.

    Then there'd be a new series of Location, Location, Location, showing how homeowners can profit from the housing "blip" (a word I seem to recall Nigel Lawson used about the economy in 1988) to buy an even more expensive home than the one they've already got with a smaller relative difference in price than was the case during the boom years. Scraping the barrel just a tiny bit in terms of media angle but I wouldn't put it past them.

    Then finally after enough lawsuits they'd see the light, pack her off to star as an exhibit in Room 101, and the next series of Location, Location, Location would be all about how to find your way to the nearest bankruptcy advice centre.

  7. Thanks - considering the content, I don't think you have anything to worry about! Of course the whole thing's absurd, but a few months down the line they may very well regret the following. They may even have to eat their hats.

    "... buyers and sellers in the city can be reassured there is no danger of a repeat of past house price crashes"

    for example.

    Did you notice how contradictory the first article was -

    "Our market seems to have strengthened in the last 12 months"

    then

    "We are not predicting prices will come down any further over the next 12 months at all."

    Then the first article says a crash may happen in other areas but not locally: the second cites a UK-wide study as evidence of market strength.

    Mind you, one of the EA authors was a rather aptly-named "Chris Hope"

    I'd love to see Kate Barker's face reading this bit:

    "I just don't know what these profits of doom are basing this on."

    [sic]

    :D:D:D

    They've got a bulletin board as well - could be fun if they don't print your letter (or enough of it).

  8. I hope they print it without editing it around too much. With any luck, it will provoke other correspondence too.

    It would be interesting to see the original article you're commenting on, specifically what the estate agents said to attack Kate Barker's statement. Perhaps she'd have a case against them!

  9. Very clearly-written article IMHO especially the often under-reported taxation implications. It looks as if she has been very prudent and probably fortunate too, in her choice of tenants.

    There's a bit more to it than the mere fact that she is marginally in profit though. What kind of return is she getting on her capital? How much of her own valuable time and energy is she spending on the whole affair? What are the risks e.g. of her tenants suddenly quitting, more maintenance hassles appearing, service charges and other costs increasing, or even (as the article fair-mindedly points out) the capital value decreasing?

    Not only has the property market lumbered to a halt, just like a wheel-less wagon ...

    :D

  10. I've just had a reply:

    Dear [hra's real name]

    Firstly I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for bringing this matter to my personal attention.

    Having read the story in question and made some further enquiries via one of our top financial investigative reporters, I can only apologise profusely and say I broadly concur with your points. As you will have seen from Press coverage elsewhere, I am a somewhat over-extended homeowner myself and offer my sympathies as to any offence caused to others in a similar plight.

    I have asked Mr. Weber to re-draft the article and would appreciate it if you and other members of your evidently very knowledgeable website could write in or email him with as much information as possible for his background research. He will also be visiting the website in person in the near future.

    I, too, value the BBC's excellent reputation for impartiality and quality and see it as my specific duty to preserve this in the face of the growing tide of ever more blatant and sophisticated spin from vested interests and elsewhere.

    Once again, I appreciate your effort in contacting me personally.

    Yours sincerely,

    Sandra de Witt

    pp. Mark Thompson

    It's getting on for midday so I'd better own up:

    APRIL FOOL! :D :D:D :D

    I'm sure I didn't fool many of the discerning regulars on HPC but it would have been quite fun if anyone from the Beeb has been following the thread.

  11. I've just had a reply:

    Dear [hra's real name]

    Firstly I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for bringing this matter to my personal attention.

    Having read the story in question and made some further enquiries via one of our top financial investigative reporters, I can only apologise profusely and say I broadly concur with your points. As you will have seen from Press coverage elsewhere, I am a somewhat over-extended homeowner myself and offer my sympathies as to any offence caused to others in a similar plight.

    I have asked Mr. Weber to re-draft the article and would appreciate it if you and other members of your evidently very knowledgeable website could write in or email him with as much information as possible for his background research. He will also be visiting the website in person in the near future.

    I, too, value the BBC's excellent reputation for impartiality and quality and see it as my specific duty to preserve this in the face of the growing tide of ever more blatant and sophisticated spin from vested interests and elsewhere.

    Once again, I appreciate your effort in contacting me personally.

    Yours sincerely,

    Sandra de Witt

    pp. Mark Thompson

  12. we recently decided to focus on four or five of these surveys ... the data from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister ...

    What a reliable, unbiased source indeed.

    The RICS survey is particularly fraught with technical problems, as it does not use hard data but perceptions and small sample sizes

    Just like any good politician (see above). And of course the the Halifax and Nationwide are beyond reproach too. What do the RICS know about property, anyway.

    By the way: Just a couple of weeks ago I had to reply to a reader's complaint who suggested that we were trying to induce a crash by excessively reporting falling house prices...

    I wonder whether the BBC told the above reader they get loads of complaints from people saying the BBC is trying to ramp the market. Now that would be fair, wouldn't it.

    By the way, I also wonder who the said (and vastly outnumbered reader) was. It couldn't be a Ms. K. Allsopp, could it?

  13. The poor journalist was probably just about to file a well-balanced, professional, investigative report about what the March figures signify for the impending crash, when a lackey of Mark Thompson's came along, gently reminded him of the 2,000 or so recent redundancies at the BBC, shoved a piece of propaganda entitled "Spring Bloom for Property Market" into his hands and snarled "Print this or you can pick up your P45".

  14. As I was driving to pick up my Sunday papers this morning I was somewhat surprised, nay shocked, to see a long queue outside one of the main Estate Agents here in Swansea. I know I have oft reported about the stagnation here in Swansea and the ludicrous asking prices but, I have to admit, I was totally flabbergasted by the queue of approximately 100 - 120 people, not just queuing outside the EA but also around the corner.

    I pulled over and, as I got out of the car, I noticed two of the EAs opening the door grinning like a pair of Cheshire Cats. At which point, as I crossed over the road to find out what on earth was going on, I got knocked over by a man in a tall hat shouting "I'm late, I'm late!" and, as I fell to the ground, I became aware that, at the head of the queue, was a giant fluffy white bunny rabbit whilst the queue itself was mosty made up of people made out of playing cards. How odd!

    My confusion was short-lived though as, looking up from the ground, I noticed a smiling Kylie, in a fetching blue corset, high heels and fishnets, kneeling over me and adoringly asking "Is there anything I can do for you Masked Tulip?".

    Alas, at which point I woke up.

    Have a Happy Easter Sunday everyone  :rolleyes:

    They were all people who wanted to see the estate agents' reaction when they found the HPC flyers pinned up outside their front door.

  15. Dear Phil,

    I suppose you must have been busy yesterday, what with the spring bounce! The market must be really taking off at this time of the year thanks to the seasonally-adjusted weather. I bet people were queueing up just to get in the doors of their estate agents!

    Anyway, forget about the 2-bed terrace we were discussing - thanks to you, I've sold it for £595,000 to a young couple who were just looking for a compact yet affordable 2-bed terrace with 3 ensuites, 2 patios and 4 sheds in an area "convenient for major transport links". (I hope no-one tells them about nethouseprices.com before they exchange contracts, but that's our secret, Phil).

    I wanted to ask you about one of my other BTL properties. It's a 2-bed flat in a modern block in a fairly major road in Bristol which I bought for £269,000 on a self-cert mortgage - I had to tell a few fibs e.g. that I was a top lawyer married to a prominent politician (oops, I nearly said 'war criminal') but never mind. The problem is, according to nethouseprices, the neighbouring properties have all been selling for £240,000 - £250,000, and it probably won't fetch more than £900pcm in rent, if that.

    Now the property doesn't have a garden, so we can't do the garden shed thing this time. But it does have an allocated parking space. Any more stunning ideas how you can work your magic and come up with the makeover of my dreams?

  16. Dear hra,

    Thank you for your lovely letter and for taking my advice on board. I will be more than happy to send you a signed copy of my book - 'The White Star Line & Other Great Investments Of the 20th Century' - if you send me two crisp tenners in a sealed envelope.

    If you are having trouble with your mortgage I suggest that you convert one of the garden sheds into a dungeon and equip it with the usual - a small metal cage, a wooden cross, a spanking stool and a punishment rack. Remember, subdued lighting is a must and I would opt for red rather than magnolia on the walls.

    At this point you have two options.

    1. If you are married or in a relationship I suggest that you advertise the services of your partner as either a submissive slave to rent or as a Dominatrix. Both can command high hourly rates and this is something that I expect more of my clients to be undertaking in the not too distant future.

    2. If you have no female partner then I am afraid it is a gimp suit for you my boy but, once again, if your dungeon shed is ideally located you can expect to maximise your return on your investment in chains, whips, ball gags, etc. (I find B&Q sheds with at least one window are best for this as it allows you to tap into the buoyant voyeur market also.). Remember, when considering converting your home into a SOHO BDSM dungeon always think 'location, location, location' before investing!

    If you are in the enviable position of being a couple then I strongly suggest that you consider renting out your services jointly. This will not only maximise your income streams but will allow each of you to see a perhaps hithertoo yet unforeseen side to one another.

    I have to go now as my Mistress wishes me to kiss her feet.

    As gorgeous as ever,

    Phil.

    :D:D:D:D:D:D

    Dear Phil and everyone else who wrote in,

    Thanks so much for your sympathetic and caring advice. Am I going to be on "Location location location"? Please?

    I've just been over to Chavs DIY and have almost got the roof on one of the sheds (the one-window one backing onto the railway line) and am busy painting it red as we speak. (Pity about the paint on the keyboard).

    As it is a BTL property (sorry I forgot to mention that) I'll be advertising my tenants' services rather than those of myself or my partner, in return for an increase in rent in consideration for providing them for such a lucrative and presumably tax-free business opportunity - one which can't be outsourced either.

    But I have just a few followup questions:

    1. Do I need planning, or any other kind of permission or kickback, from the Council?

    2. If so, will it speed things up if I claim to be a representative of a new residential subsidiary of a big developer like Wimpey or Barratts?

    3. Should I get a webcam as well?

    4. If we put a copy of your book inside one of the sheds (not the one painted red inside), will it qualify as an "entertainment centre" and if so, how much will it increase in value?

    5. What should I do with all my garden tools?

    Counting off the minutes until the next episode of LLL,

    hra

  17. "Dear Phil,

    I am one of your biggest fans, I have been following your property programmes for years and I thought your webchat about garden sheds was fantastic, full of practical ideas and creative inspiration as one would expect from someone with a well-earned reputation as one of the country's leading property experts.

    Can you give me a few words of advice? I bought a 2-bed newbuild terrace for £395,000 in July 2004 with a 110% interest-only mortgage. I borrowed another £50,000 from my parents to put in a 3rd ensuite bathroom off the kitchen, add an extra patio and decking to the front garden and throw out the free furniture and kitchen fittings I got as a special deal and replace them with Ikea.

    After seeing your webchat, I have just taken out another £30,000 loan on my credit card to buy 4 sheds from B&Q and convert them to a meditation room, an entertainment centre, a spa, and a home office.

    However, the problem is my garden's only big enough for 4 sheds and I can't extend because the property is sandwiched inbetween a factory and the railway line.

    What else can I do to upgrade my property and protect myself against the housing crash my estate agents say is coming (after reading some leaflet which appeared through their door)?

  18. Funny that, I returned from work last night as it was getting properly dark, about 7pm and as I was driving down the street I thought "whats that??!!"

    As I drew closer I could see, it was an old washing line tied betweed two trees, on a common piece of ground at the side of the road, across it was thrown an old bedsheet, held down at the sides with bricks, and it was covered in grass cuttings.

    Perfect homemade tent, reminded me of playing at my grans house as a child  :)

    It was probably an "entertainment den" or home office or meditation room or 3rd bathroom or bar or something built by someone who watched Phil Spencer's webchat on shed conversions yesterday, only the snag was they had run out of sheds. You'll probably find the neighbouring property is on the market for £150K more than it was last week.

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