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lost in space

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  1. The statistics for the story come from Rightmove, who say prices dropped in Merton by an average of 8% or £30,000. Article quotes from admitted VI Estate Agents who predict drops in Mitcham & Morden, but reckon Wimbledon will flatline. One EA said letting agencies have become extremely busy since Northern Rock debacle, so maybe the figures could be interpreted as people STR ?
  2. I've rented a unit in a SW London Safestore (self-storage) branch for three years or so. There have been two rent increases since November 2006, the latest kicking in next month, (roughly £120 raising to £160 per month since December) effectively being a 33% increase in less than a year. Is this another sign of rampant inflation, or a clear indication that storage space is more in demand, with people selling to rent/moving back in with relatives/preparing to emigrate ?
  3. I've noticed in the last year or so, the obsession with HPI is everywhere. A couple of weeks ago, I was out with some friends, when one of the girls got an emotional phone call from a friend, whose (ex-council) flat purchase had fallen through because the loaner's survey had found the block of flats opposite suffered from chronic subsidence and wasn't prepared to cough up the cash (£180,000). The woman was crying because their mortgage offer ran out in 4 weeks, giving them zilch time to find something else in (SE) London for similar money. The offer was based on joint earnings. However since then, she has become pregnant, and any future offers will be based solely on her partners income. (She is an air-hostess and wasn't planning to immediately go back to work, so Heaven knows, how they were going to pay the mortgage !) When I said it may be a blessing in disguise, others looked at me as if I was simple, tut-tutted, and sympathised with her plight, saying this couple had now missed out forever, as prices only ever go up. I didn't bother arguing with this, as past experience tells me, folk think you are mad for suggesting otherwise. Just an update : I met up yesterday with a couple of mates (who were at the gathering above). One of them has just had his offer accepted on a two-bedroomed 2nd Floor flat in Twickenham. He offered £320,000 and is putting down a 30% deposit, & will be paying £1100 in monthly mortgage fees. He commented on how quickly the deal was going through as the seller was eager to act fast. The other mate congratulated him on getting on the property ladder & they both turned to me (as I have been predicting a crash since 2003) to gauge my response. I just commented on how heavy the monthly payments seemed to be, but I was glad he was happy. He said he was, as he wanted his own place and in anycase property always goes up. (Obviously my past opinions on this subject having proven to be baseless). I think the fact that he has been dating a (much) younger girlfriend from the area may have something to do with his/their decision. The other bloke (late 20s/early 30s) then mentioned he & his missus' monthly mortgage payment (on their 2-bed terraced cottage in Brixton bought last year) is £1600. They could only afford to buy, by getting a 100% interest only mortgage, but as prices only ever go up, they had to get on the ladder quickly. He said he knew he/they had to start saving soon, but hadn't got round to it quite yet. Also said they couldn't afford to have babies now, but want them one day. Everywhere I go now; socially, at work, even on the train to work (one recent conversation I overheard on way to work: one bloke saying he had made an offer on a (soon-to-be-ex?) council property, but the deal was likely to fall through, as the present tenants - 3 generations of the same family - had refused entry to the valuation surveyor !), I hear people going on about HPI. It's like gold fever with bells on.
  4. Found this excellent anecdotal article on page 12 (the comment page) of yesterday's London Evening Standard. Written by Laura Craik, who I believe is the ES Fashion Correspondent .... "I've done a few stupid things in my life, but none so stupid as forgetting to renew my mortgage deal before it reverted to the standard variable of 7.23 per cent. Come March 31, this stupidity will cost us an extra £400 a month. And there we were wondering whether we could afford a holifay. I blame the Woolwich. Well, it's easier than blaming myself. Besides, what sort of mortgage lender doesn't think to remind its customers that their current deal expires ? Answer: a cynical one. "Rate tarts", as the homeowners who remortgage every few years to take advantage of the best mortgage deals are known, have been prevalent since the mid-1990s. But there is one big fat flaw in the clever principle of swapping lenders when your two-year fix comes to an end: and that's the likelihood of forgetting to do it. Never mind the anniversary, only one date deserves a big red circle in your diary. A call to Paul Flannel (not his real name) at the Woolwich revealed that the reason why we hadn't been notified that our deal was ending was because when we had taken out the mortgage 18 months ago, we ticked a box stating we "did not want to receive any promotional materials from the Woolwich, including details of upcoming mortgage deals". Well, stupid us. I don't know if you have had the pleasure of arranging a mortgage recently, but thanks to legislation by the FSA, the lender is legally obliged to read you hours and hours of scripted verbiage at a breakneck pace where, if you are lucky, you may be able to distinguish certain words like "repossession". This, I feel, is less in the interest of fair play and clarity and more because lenders are keen to exonorate themselves of any blame if you cannot meet your repayments. "We have explained the details of our exhorbitant interest rates and arrangement fees, and we realise that you would sell your grandmother to secure payment on your home, but if you end up sleeping rough in Euston, it isn't our fault", seems to be the message. Much is made of the plight of first-time buyers, and rightly so, because the situation in London is a disgrace. But it shouldn't be assumed that, once you have your first set of house keys in your hand, the misery ends. It doesn't. In fact it is only the beginning. For even if you are on the ladder, you are likely to be suffering at the hands of any number of foes: hefty arrangement fees that commonly exceed £600, the ticking time-bomb that is an interest-only mortgage, and, worst of all, ever-increasing interest rates. In London in 2007, buying a house is hard enough. Keeping it it even harder."
  5. Yes, I agree Tooting is a dump, but there are worse areas in London. Prices in Wimbledon/Tooting were pretty stagnant from late 2003, and then suddenly there was an incredible surge onwards and upwards about a year ago. I've noticed in the last year or so, the obsession with HPI is everywhere. A couple of weeks ago, I was out with some friends, when one of the girls got an emotional phone call from a friend, whose (ex-council) flat purchase had fallen through because the loaner's survey had found the block of flats opposite suffered from chronic subsidence and wasn't prepared to cough up the cash (£180,000). The woman was crying because their mortgage offer ran out in 4 weeks, giving them zilch time to find something else in (SE) London for similar money. The offer was based on joint earnings. However since then, she has become pregnant, and any future offers will be based solely on her partners income. (She is an air-hostess and wasn't planning to immediately go back to work, so Heaven knows, how they were going to pay the mortgage !) When I said it may be a blessing in disguise, others looked at me as if I was simple, tut-tutted, and sympathised with her plight, saying this couple had now missed out forever, as prices only ever go up. I didn't bother arguing with this, as past experience tells me, folk think you are mad for suggesting otherwise.
  6. I used to live virtually opposite this site & it has been lying empty for years. Presumably planning permission has only recently been granted. Not surprised to see modern building planned (totally out of place in a conservation area of Victorian villa-style houses). Merton council has recent history of approving modern eyesores out of place in traditional (Victorian / Edwardian) areas. e.g. Wimbledon Village /Ridgeway. I would challenge the 'prime Wimbledon location' blurb, being, as it it is, just round the corner from South Wimbledon station, just off the main road to Colliers Wood/Morden. Which makes the price even crazier ...
  7. A little birdie tells me there will be a short feature piece on the BBC Ten O Clock News tonight ...
  8. lost in space

    Liar Loans

    Overall - the BBC Money Programme - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3222053.stm - was explosive - but the VI's saw to it that it was buried as quickly as possible. Try and persuade The Money Programme people to let you have the video of that incredible documentary - it really was staggering how the Moneylenders are in bed with the Estate Agents and Property Industry to just lend money NO QUESTIONS ASKED etc. ....- because this just inflates the "prices" ever and ever higher - thereby increasing the Moneyleners profits [if people default just re-possess and sell at the price you've rigged] - and ALSO - ever increasing the PROPERTY PORTFOLIO's of ALL THE VESTED INTERESTS..... It is without doubt the greatest ever pyramid selling scam of all time...... I remember this programme airing a few months after I STR (October 2003 ?), and being horrified about the cavalier lending (and liars) it showed. Much scarier now, considering 3 years have elapsed since ! As an aside, I freelance for a national media company (not Uncle), who sent a staff email around a fortnight ago, warning the criteria for wage advances were being tightened with immediate effect (only exceptional circumstances), and that any outstanding monies would be automatically reclaimed through payroll.
  9. As someone who sold in July 2003, and has been renting since, it's painful to hear stories from friends of how much ££££ over the odds they've offered to buy a property recently. Especially as I've been going on about a probable (drastic) correction for some time. They quite clearly, with the passing of time and no mainstream evidence to prove me right, they think I'm bonkers. Another is waiting to complete the sale of his 2 bed maisonette on the rough side of Kingston which went £5K over the asking price of £325K in early October. In April, it was on the market for £265 and he didnt get a single offer. He took it off the market and went to another estate agent in September & within a week had an offer of £300K which (to my horror & disbelief) he turned down. Anyway, he got an offer within a month for £330K. The EA told the buyers they had to complete by mid-December. They turned up at my mate's door to ask about this. He had no knowledge of this & agreed that January would be acceptable for completion. When he told me this, I nearly dropped by drink (again), as I feel alot can happen in the 2/3 months before completion. I saw him last Friday, and he was talking about a company he was doing business with, let's call them 'outside road'. He has clearly been listening to their anecdotes, as he is quite bullish about the property market & this, along with being in the company of Kingston EAs (who got a miraculous price for his flat) is quite understandable, I guess, in the circumstances. We talked generally about the house market & the crazy mortgage deals (IMO) now available, and I was amazed by the ferocity of opposition from him, his girlfriend & another friend, to my opinion that IO mortgages, for example, were madness. They pointed out to me that, at least IO mortgage holders owned their own property (which I obviously disputed, and this wound them up even more) and that renting was 'dead' money (LOL from my quarter). Anyway, to cut a long post short, from this experience, and talking to people, friends and colleagues at work, who have just bought (or sold and are buying again), they do not want to listen to anyone with bearish views and it just leads to angry scenes. (la De Laa, I'm Not Listening !) Lastly, Ive subscribed to allsop's (property auctioneers) online residential catalogue for the last couple of years, and in the last month (literally) they've started offering new build block of flats in the London area (Harrow, Paddington, Tooting amongst others), which presumably the developers cant sell. Go figure.
  10. Forgot to mention, another mate of fine offered £40K above the asking price to secure a two bed terrace house/cottage in W12 (Hammersmith/Shepherds Bush) 4 months ago, taking the final price to over £400K, maybe £420K (Sorry, dont know the actual price, as I get dizzy when people tell me these stories and have trouble remaining standing). On day of completion, the seller told them they were getting a bargain, as she could've got more in the couple of months since the original offer. For the last 3 years I've been going on about a likely crash, and this guy openly laughs at me when we meet up, making a point of asking me when I think it's going to happen. In short, he thinks I'm an eccentric, living in dreamland.
  11. An acquaintance of mine (we support the same football team) is a partner at a legal company in the city, tells me when he bought his 4-storey house round the corner from Upper St in Islington (North London), he offered £125,000 above the asking price & only got it when the first buyer (top bidder) withdrew. This in the last 6 months - year. This same guy spent £600,000 on a two bed (penthouse, presumably) apartment at the Highbury development (Arsenal's old football ground) as a BTL ! When I questioned him on where he thought he'd get his tenants, he said probably visiting undergrads (students !) from Harvard. A true beam-me-up-scotty moment for myself (How the other half live !)
  12. If the EA found the LL their tenant, they can sue. All EAs put a clause in their terms of engagement contract covering their assets if such a situation arises.
  13. I sold a onebed for £204K in 2003. With savings and interest on the £130K profit I made in selling, I am £30-35K up since I sold. My flat recently came on the market for £245K (There was a good £15-20K worth of work which needed doing on it when I sold) and was sold under offer, but I don't know at what price. C'est la vie !
  14. No, I'm not an EA, I am an STR (3 years ago) who lives in the Wimbledon area, and have been waiting for a HP drop ever since (in SW19/Kingston/Surbiton area). Like most people on here, I have bearish leanings, but most of my friends think I'm mad to expect a HPC, and I'm beginning to agree with them, when I hear stories like this one. I completely agree with you re. Norbiton/Kingston. Anyway, the property in question, is 30A Norbiton Avenue, a 30 second walk southside of Norbiton station. It has a 'Sold stc' sign outside and the EA is Lords. I've checked with their website & it isn't on ... Maybe it will be one of their featured properties of the month for October (they have this feature highlighting success stories). Since you live in the area, maybe you can check their window out, yourself, as I can't believe they wouldn't want to showpiece their success (if indeed the agreed sale price is £325K). A quick online search of properties in the area, show similar properties on at £240-275K - HOWEVER, there is a new block of flats going up around the corner from Norbiton station on the main road into K'ston with starting prices at £269000 for a one bed & £340000 for a twobed (Lords, again).
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