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Posts posted by Wad

  1. We go into this storm with record low levels of snowfall

    We are uniquely well paced to weather this storm

    It started in Russia

    I won't stand idly by while hard working families freeze to death, unlike the do nothing Tories

    This is a global storm which requires a global solution

    Meterologists need to restore snow to 2007 levels

    I have been warning about this storm for ten years but nobody listened to me

    We will get out of this storm by exporting snow to China

    No more Summer and Winter

    "It snow job for a novice" :rolleyes:

  2. Wad, every time i've seen a DB5 in the flesh (twice), i got goosebumps. no other car has that for me. truly beautiful things

    I know what you mean. I was just coincidentally watching one of the music channels on TV and the DB5 came up in the Robbie Williams Millenium video. Gorgeous (the car obviously).

    The DB5 is perhaps the only car that me and my wife would really buy to just look at in the garage.

    Mind you I was just looking at Bentley Continental GT for £33,000 which is surely a current City boy's car that has had to be sold on to the trade. That might do me as a consolation prize.

  3. Wow!

    What a stunning website that Autotrader is.


    I have not driven a car for 25 years but I am looking through fantasy cars that City boys back in 1987 (which is when I started working there) would have been buying with their bonuses. The likes Rollers, Bentlys, Astons, Ferraris, Lambos.

    I tell you I am almost willing to take my driving test again just to drive this stuff its so cheap. I might do a track day with an expert driver in some of the stuff on there.

    Best 45 minutes I have sent in the last weeks browsing through that lot.

    Course, I made the mistake of asking my wife which one she liked and she really is not the sort of woman who is impressed by blokes with flash cars (lucky for me that) BUT ANYWAY SHE PICKED OUT THIS ONE:


    Maybe she is THAT sort of woman after all ... its just a question of price.


  4. If the Govt switches on the printing presses and foreign buyers do not turn up - that will not be a problem. The BoE will just buy them instead. That IS what quantitative easing does!

    The Govt issues bits of paper called Gilts and takes them to the BoE who buy them at face value and the Govt gets another pile of paper called Pound Sterling which it spends to debase the currency.

    Oh yes folks that really is what is being planned. We do not need foreign buyers - all we need is hyperinflation to recapitalise the banks and pay off the debt.

    That IS the bailout plan in a nutshell on both sides of the Atlantic. It wil be dressed up as loan guarantees, public spending works, liquidity schemes, troubled asset purchases etc but printing money in the end is what will happen and has to happen as there is no other way out.

  5. Basically, hold off repossessing until they think it's a better time to sell the house, with the meter ticking all the while.

    I agree. I have looked at buying a number of properties where I know the owner is in financial difficulty and not paying the mortgage and yet the banks are not repossessing.

    In my view the speed of repossessions will only pick up when the final capitulation begins. Banks are like all other sellers. Hoping for an upturn or a Govt bailout but in the end they will panic and grab for the assets to try to save some value.

  6. Can everyone please calm down.

    I have looked at the real time data for the last hour in terms of demand and frequency. It all looks fine to me and I used to work very closely with this industry analysing demand and market data using advanced computer models at individual genset and grid supply point level.

    If a lot of power plants are shut down due to the strike then of course the available plant may not be able to meet load but we are days away from that. Barring a massive strike or fuel stoppage or catastrophic plant failures and extreme weather all combining I see risk as minimal at the moment.

    If we can get past the 6.00 - 9.00 a.m morning shoulder tomorrow morning when old coal plant are 'ramping up' we will be just peachy. In any case there are emergency procedures that NGC can use to manage the system even under extreme stress conditions. At the moment NGC have not issued any NISM (Notice of Insufficient Margin) which is a sure sign they feel comfortable about the situation and even when we get past that point they can drop the frequency if necessary and then at the extreme they can go to MaxGen conditions for a short time which gives the system time to shut down non essental electric usage such as street lights.

    I bet now I have said that the system will go down tomorrow!

  7. "Will struggle to sell for £950k in a few months time"?

    Believe me, a peak priced £1.25M property will struggle to sell for £950k right now. In a few months time (well, 12-24), it'll be struggling to make £500k. :)


    I was being optimistic. In reality, I agree with you. Aelling anything in the £1m area is pretty tough even in London.

    That said I have a friend who just sold his flat for well over £1 million in the very best part of SW1 which was very near his asking price.

  8. I have strong reason to believe that the private school my kids are at is also considering becoming a state academy school.

    I have recently heard rumours the teachers have been secretly visiting local state primary schools to compare the stages they have reached in reading, maths etc at each group level with the stage the primaries have reached at the same age. Makes no sense to do that unless they plan to become part of the state sector.

    I also have noticed a series of recent announcements that they are doing more and more activities in which all children from all local schools are invited to join in.

    School roles are falling fast in the private sector and many schools will be forced into the state sector. If it happened in September to my kids' school, I would keep my kids there for 2 years and then flip them to another private school.

    I can tell you now, private school teacher who is any good will NOT stick around in the state sector unless they are desperate and standards will collapse once they have gone.

    When she was 14, my wife suffered the consequences of her secondary school being transformed from Grammar to a Comprehensive and she says standards collapsed as the best teachers retired or sought out private schools to teach in. She stayed until she was 18 but was lucky to have enough of the old teaching staff around and the old Grammar ethos in the 5th and 6th form to pass her exams well.

    Sorry, but unless state schools are extremely selective (e.g as they are in London) they cannot compete with the private sector. I know. I was educated in both state and private sectors myself and there is a world of difference at all age group levels from infant upwards.

  9. The impact of this will be felt well beyond London.

    I can tell you right now that all those well heeled baby boomers out in Country areas who thought they were going to sell their £1 million country home to a mug City punter up from London and then downsize and retire to France are going to be sorely disappointed.

    Basically, this phenomenon of people moving out of London in search of good schools and to buy country properties is very much at the heart of the successful business model of the large up market EAs. It was a good business and to be honest quite sustainable until prices went beserk.

    Basically the whole flow out of London to buy expensive country properties in places like the Oxfordshire/Cotswolds has ceased. Anyone who was looking at selling a £1.25 million home in London in Dec 2007 has now lost nearly £300k and they will struggle to sell for £950k in a few months time.

    Looks like an awful lot of London people are going to have to put their dream of owning a country property on hold for a decade and a lot of retirees in country properties are going to have to put their downsized retirement on hold as a result.

  10. I saw a deal a lot like this few years ago and it was totally genuine.

    What happened was that someone wanted to sell a house in Woodstock (Oxfordshire) and they found a buyer who wanted to buy it but the buyer could not sell their house in London. It was during that dip in 2005 when the market cooled before it took off again and a lot of property was sticking on the market.

    Anyway, the buyer and seller still wanted to proceed even though the buyer could not sell their London house. To get round this problem, the parties entered into a sales contract with the normal 10% purchase deposit but agreed not to complete for a further 24 months to give the buyer time to sell their London house. In addition the buyer and seller also signed a rental contract with a market rent that happened to be enough to cover the sellers quite small mortgage. Meanwhile the buyer rented out their London home and used the money to cover the rent of the Woodstock house.

    In effect, the deal I describe above is very similar to the deal being discussed by the OP except the seller did not offer to refund the rent as a deposit at the end. So long as an actual sale contract and rental contract is signed simultaneously and the refund agreement is written into both it looks entirely watertight and legal to me.

  11. I can see Mr Dimons' point but I think there may be a misunderstanding.

    The proposal to have a 'clearing house' may be aimed at 'netting of interbank borrowing and lending' in much the same way as was recently done for CDS. The total gross volume of outstanding CDS was dramatically reduced leaving only the net long short positionsand the same culd be done for interbank loans.

    I do think that Mr Dimos' concerns can be addressed to ensure that bansk stil remain responsibel for the credit risk they take on but I still think a central clearing house that nets off borrowing and lending in the interbank market between banks would be a good way of reducing gross default risk in the system. Only a central clearing house with knowledge of all Libor borrowing and lending between major banks could perform this function.

    I think the idea needs fleshing out before it can be entirely dismissed as it has merit in reducing credit default risk on interbank lending.

  12. I must admit I have been questioning whether I am being just being too bearish over the last month.

    Every time the FTSE or Dow rallies occur me and my wife sit there looking at our cash pile earning no interest in NS&I and Gilts and ask ourselves - is this the bottom? Should we be diving in to the FTSE and housing market? I even went to the bank to talk to their mortgage advisor yesterday just to sniff the air and see what they would offer.

    However, every time I start to get optimistic and start to question my bearish stance - along comes another massive shock. I notice on another thread on HPC there is now discussion of an Asian Crisis. I agree there will be an Asian Crisis - we need the final capitulation of Asian and Emerging markets to make everything look cheap.

    In the Developed World we see UK being held up by striking oil refinery workers, the US reporting 3.8% GDP drop and Japanese firms reporting massive losses. As the US business correspondent on Sky said at lunchtime, although the US GDP figure is not as bad as predicted the employment figures in the US are really UNPRECEDENTED.

    We just do not know if we are in the 1930s or 1980s here yet.

    If FTSE bounces convincingly bounces off 4000, Dow bOunces off 8,000 and S&P off 800 for the third time then maybe we have reached bottom - if it plunges through we are in a for another big drop down another 25% in my view.

  13. Well today I needed a new floor covering so I thought I'll support my local economy and call the carpet shop at the top of the road and get a quote, now on the manufacturers website it states this covering is recommended retail price is £16-18 per square metre.

    He quotes me £23 sq metre, I question this and the arrogance took my breath away, "i could sell it you for £16 pm but then i'd make it back on the fitting" :o He then argued what kind of service do you want, if you want me and my tradesmen to come to your house then that's the price, like he's doing me a favour. The reason local shops and business' are going down the pan is because they are uncompetitive.

    Needless to say I phoned carpetright and they quoted £14.95, I'd have paid £18 to support a local business but he had to take the piss didn't he :(

    Interesting story. My parents had a simlar experience with a new bathroom over the last year.

    They bought the fititngs from an out of town megastore outlet. However, they could not get a plumber to fit them as they were not interested unless my parents bought the fittings off them as well.

    I checked the prices being quoted by the plumbers and they were doubling the price of the fititngs and that was BEFORE the cost of their labour.

    Now of course my parents have suddenlty been able to find a plumber because they are all desperate for work.

  14. Too late, Brown is lurching from one policy initiative to another, given the planning system in the country not a single brick will be layed by the time he's kicked out next year.

    There's no substance behind this, it's just another attempt to grab a cheap headline.

    I read an article the other day saying that backbench Labour MPs were growing tired of new initiatives and wanted to see fewer of them but a lot more positive action that actually worked.

    I am beginning to see why. TBH I have lost track of the measures that are being announced to releive the credt/housing market crisis.

    This has been the Achilles heel of the entire New Labour project - announcement after announcement accompanied by a media blitz works well in opposition and when the economy is doing well. Problem is when things start to go wrong initiatives have no effect unless accompanied by effective management implementation. That is what is currenlty and has always been misisng - the boring detail of having to implement week after week until the job is done.

  15. can I put cooking oil in my van and say its biofuel?

    Yes .... as long as you pay the Petroleum Revenue Tax on it.

    Dont quote me on this but I thnk if you produce more than 2500 lotres per year you have to register with HMRC.


    2.4 What are my obligations?

    If you produce 2,500 litres or more biofuels a year, or use them as motor fuel on which duty has not been paid, you will need to contact us so that we can make arrangements for you to account for the excise duty due on any products set aside, or delivered for use, as a motor fuel.

    And remember 2500 litres is only 500 gallons so its not nearly enough for your own annual use unless its for very occassional use.

  16. Certainly a lot of very good comments on that MSE thread from both tenants and LLs.

    Interesting divergence in the comments from professional LLs and those who have one or two BTL or perhaps got into letting because they cannot sell their own house.

    Certainly many LLs are suffering a lot of pain with rents falling - but then again mortgage rates are falling so maybe the LLs and tenants wil be happy quite soon.

    I particularly agreed with the comment on renting from old pensioner LLs who depended on the rent for income and had none spare for repairs. I had such a LL a while back and it was to the great credit of the agent that they read the LL the riot act and forced them to do the repairs.

    I always check my LLs very very carefully to make sure they are creditworthy and that they have enough money to do repairs. Indeed, I insist on written conformation that a set of listed repairs are done before I move in and if they refuse I bin them wel before negotiation stage.

    On negotiating rents. I am looking at a rental on a really nice house at the moment. The rent is 20% over the market though and I am just sitting and waiting for the agent to tell the LL to drop it. When it has dropped to the market level I will ring the agent the same day and snap it up. Luckily, the agent is also my current agent so it will be an easy job as they know me very well and will give me great reference. I tend to allow the market to do the negotiating for me. A property advertised at a level over the fair market rent just does not rent. A property at the market price rents quickly if it is good so I tend to spend my time looking 2 - 3 time per day at the rental market on the internet via property websites and move very quick when I see what I want at the right price.

  17. Bottom line here is that Darling has instructed the BoE to buy high quality assets. The purchase of high quality assets is not the problem here that needs solving - everyone is happy to own those and there is a ready market for them. It is the junk that is the problem and the BoE is not going to buy that and neither is anyone else.

    The Telegraph article today on the issue has this interesting set of quotes form the City. To say the least they sound sceptical:


    John Wraith at RBC Capital Markets said by buying only high-quality assets, the scheme would miss the point. "High-quality assets are the ones that have not really had a problem," he said.

    However, Philip Shaw of Investec Securities, said the scheme would improve liquidity and should "make borrowing cheaper."

    The investment grade UK corporate bond market is worth about £325bn, Mr Shaw added.

    Michael Saunders at Citigroup said it was still not clear what price the Bank would pay for the assets.

    Even if the Bank only plans to pay the "market price", the existence of the scheme will raise the value of the assets, he said.

  18. From what I understand about the BBC story - the Italians were brought in to do construction work.

    As I understand it, the unions have complained and quite quickly we can see workers at nearby Longannet power plant and other facilities have gone on strike. Union members have also come to the refinery in support.

    This sounds a lot like the old days of 'flying pickest' and 'secondary action' although in a strict legal sense I am sure that as these are 'unofficial strikes' that it cannot be deemed to be illegal.

    Looks like the weakness of the current Govt is being exploited to the full by unionisd labour.

    I would have sympathy if the actual workers that operate the refinery had been dismissed and replaced by foreign workers but that is not what happened. These are construction workers coming in on contract. Indeed, the firm doing the work is an Italian firm so it may well make a lot of sense to employ Italian staff as well.

  19. I can sort of see a reason why one might give some kind of support because the F1 racing teams based around Oxfordshire form a high tech cluster that reuires very specific skills in carbon fibre technologies and engine technology. It is one of the few real high tech clusters I can think of in the UK.

    However, I thnk the support should be about maintaining a skill base not supporting any particular company.

    The money would be better spent supporting the firms tat supply the carbon fibre and the engines - not the users of the carbon fibre and the engines.

  20. Yet again I find the figures being presented as if the market is somehow stabalising because the 3 month average fall is slightly smaller than the previous 3 month average fall.

    In fact when I looked at the Year on Year figure (i.e Jan 20099 on Jan 2008) I can see that this negative figure is still accelerating because it is getting ncreasingly more negative as each month goes by. You can get the raw data here and do your own calculation: http://www.nationwide.co.uk/hpi/historical.htm

    I also copied and pasted the last 13 months of Year on Year figures below. Only when these Year on Year falls start gettng smaller will we know hat the housing market has bottomed. When they go positive will we know the next bull market has started and Govt measures to restart the housing market really worked. I do wish the media would stop quoting 3 month averages. The Year on Year is the only way to smooth out seasonality and volatility.

    YoY to Jan 08 4.18%

    YoY to Feb 08 2.66%

    YoY to Mar 08 1.14%

    YoY to Apr 08 -0.98%

    YoY to May 08 -4.41%

    YoY to Jun 08 -6.33%

    YoY to Jul 08 -8.11%

    YoY to Aug 08 -10.46%

    YoY to Sep 08 -12.41%

    YoY to Oct 08 -14.60%

    YoY to Nov 08 -13.94%

    YoY to Dec 08 -15.94%

    YoY to Jan 09 -16.61%

  21. On the on line version of the Investors Chronicle website is an article on house building. The synopsis is that because builders paid so much for land in the boom years and with current price drops in the market it actually costs them more to build a house than they can sell it for.

    Hence they say all the housebuilders are just mothballing building sites and the amount of houses built will literally dwindle to around zero.

    The most worrying quote in the article is from a government quango spokesman saying that they will do they can to help the housebuilders so they are looking at paying for the infrastructure costs up front. Looks like the next load to get a taxpayer bailout is going to be the home builders. FDont you just love or govt.

    I would post a link but it is a password restricted site so you would not see the article anyway.

    It does not cost them more to build a house than they can sell it for. The actual construction cost is a fraction of the final sale price and that is falling fast labour and material costs are drop in the recession.

    However, what they do not want to do is cut the 'transfer price' of the land from their land bank into the building division because if they did that they would have to recognise the loss of value on their land bank and that would destroy their balance sheet.

    This is not about the actual cash cost of building a house it is all about the 'value of the land bank' which is where 95% of building firm profits come from and supports their entire business model.

    Short description of the building firm problem is they are losing money on the land bank and do not want to recognise the loss as it would trigger banking covenants.

  22. I just accidentally switched over to Location, Location, Location and the first words I heard were:

    "just minutes form the buzz of Stoke Newington".

    I turned to the TV and saw a 2 bed house for £375K.

    I then heard Phil say "uber cool Stoke Newington" and a 2 bed flat for £375K.

    Am I living in a parrallel universe?

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