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Everything posted by Cogs

  1. Why do you keep insisting (over and over and over again, ad nauseum) that the issue is whether "everyone" will sell and then claiming "everyone" won't. This isn't how markets work, its action at the margins that determines price. People who don't have a choice or are heavily motivated to sell. It should go without saying that it is these individuals who are relevant here, everyone else we can safely ignore and never mention again, they aren't active players and probably won't become so either. You and your extended family can sit tight forever, it doesn't really matter. But what is also true is you can be as careful with money as you like, you won't get a special price on yours for being a good boy when you fancy moving because of it, you'll get the price your MEWed-up neighbour and the drunk at the end of the end road set for you. Two people out of, say, a fifty dictate the price in your road at that point in time if you want to sell. Understand? Your 47 other neighbours are completely irrelevant.
  2. No love for Edgbaston? I agree wrt to the rest though. Know 3 people who've sold in the last year in the areas listed above, all have faced repeated collapsing chains. Going back a few months there was an article by a Harborne EA (Wolfes I think) in the Observer who said nothing was shifting and it was coming onto the rental market to at least give people something to service their bridging loans with. This would tend to suggest some people are still clinging on for what their property is "worth". Only a matter of time although I don't mind the fact its depressing rent prices for the time being. £10 a month increase in the last 4 years isn't too bad.
  3. Ah, the cleansing fire hypothesis. True economically I think, not so true on a personal level. Hard working people will lose their jobs, the useless oik and the rude shop assistant will continue their reign of terror. Probably even get pay rises. ...you don't expect a recession to suddenly cause the world to become fair as a result do you? When the going gets tough the ba5tards become ever more ba5tardly.
  4. Very true. I've always found it interesting that many a shiny-suited young 'erbert doesn't realise what the service is he is actually rendering... Is it their business acumen? Nope. Is is their "professionalism"? LOL, nope. Is it their property expertise? Nope. Is it their extensive and difficult to get qualifications as with genuine professions? Nope, what qualifications? EAs have jobs because normal people don't like getting their hands dirty so they pay someone else to do it. People are greedy and they will lie, scheme and cheat to service that greed. However, they don't want to starkly have to face that side of themselves and they definitely don't want to show that side of themselves to others. EAs are modern day sin-eaters.
  5. Love the comments. x1 "Simplistic Supply and demand-er" "The population of London is growing by about 200,000 people per year with nowhere near enough new homes to house them. Therefore prices will keep rising or at least hold." x1 "iPodder" "I suspect that many who wish for cheap housing becasue they do not have the available money probably do have the cash to buy CD's, DVD's, drink and cigarettes." There should be some sort of HPC Stereotypes Bingo card you can fill in for spotting these. My personal read of the situation round these here parts is that the hatches have been batoned down since late Spring. People have already had their nasty surprises about stuff not shifting. What they haven't done is internalised the reality about what their property "is worth". Just a matter of time though really.
  6. This has certainly been discussed here before. I think (from memory) was the concensus was they didn't fall but continued to rise slightly in line with more general trends. What isn't clear is that there is any strong relation between the rental market and the housing market. Rents are ultimately to do with pay. If someone gets their house repossessed they aren't going to have more money to spend on rent than they did on mortgage repayments, and probably less motivation (the gold ring of ownership, long term capital appreciation, protecting credit ratings etc.) to pay anything near the same amount. People are obviously more flexible about what they choose as well, a rental property doesn't have to be someone's "dream house" if they expect to be there for six months. I don't foresee rents skyrocketing upward myself and I don't really think there will be that many repossessions (relatively speaking) either. You aren't talking about crash there, you are talking about a recession or maybe even a depression which is a different issue.
  7. I read her as basically saying its becoming "pro" again. And frankly I found the last two paragraphs tooth-grindingly offensive in their skew as its not as if Ms. Millard is not heartily aware of the social arguments against BTL even if she chooses to disagree. Yet analysts have predicted that the private rental sector, which accounts for 11% of all housing stock, needs to expand to 15% in the next decade, to cope with demand...Something invented as an investment vehicle could become a player of vital social importance. Utter nonsense.
  8. Quite right, I'm in exactly the same situation. Renting is only "cheaper" if you do save the difference. What have I got to show for renting? In my situation more in liquid, immediately move-around-to-avoid-trouble-able savings and investments than I would have in housing equity if I was paying a repayment mortgage. I don't see why "dead money" folk still find this hard to understand.
  9. Good grief no. This is why we've had these huge rises in spending, it was a manifesto commitment from 1997 election that Labour would raise GDP health spending up to the European mean. They are still, predictably, short of their target...we've ony just pulled ahead of the OECD mean. OECD Health Data 2006 US 15.5% Switzerland 11.6% Germany 10.9% France 10.5% Belgium 10.1% UK 8.3% Hungary 8.3% Spain 8.1% Japan 8% In terms of public spending (85%) our peers are the Scandinavian countries, Luxembourg and Czech = 90%. The OECD average is 73% but you have to bear in mind that the drag is coming from former USSR nations who are broke and the near-East. That it will be cheaper going forward is the main thing, what with the boomers and suchlike. This is where that 0.3% buys a hell of a lot compared to the Japanese or Hungarian situation. It controls the rate of increase in costs if you see what I mean, the capital spending has either been done or PFI'd (less good but it exists which is 9/10ths of the battle). It won't be easy of course, but we are (relatively) well placed, and relative is what really matters in macroeconomics as far as I can tell. Sorry to bang on about it but I think a dispassionate view of the situation points to the NHS, if not being the envy of the world anymore, as certainly being a useful institution. What has to be understood is that other countries spend just as much money overall (usually more) and quite a lot of that is public money (e.g., US public health spending > UK public health spending). People confuse, I think, the way in which its delivered and the nature of it with the actual costs and service level. Bit like the BBC. I pay about the same for the Beeb as I do for a cheapo Sky sub, if it was a subscription for the Beeb I'd buy it, I just resent being made to. I suspect if the NHS was just a provider and you could choose to pocket your taxes or buy in, most people would eventually work out they were better off subscribing to it. The private sector wouldn't have a response (unless you are fit, healthy and can demonstrate you will never need medical services...). Its not that its without flaw, its more that the alternatives are pretty dire, particularly if you look in the medium term (~30 years or so).
  10. If only everything you grumble about wasn't predicted in Capital as a result of capitalism you might have a point I hardly think the NHS is "over generous". It is, relatively speaking, fairly cheap as a % of GDP. Of course you can play definition games however you like, but cold hard facts like the distribution of wealth and ownership of land and the means of production tell a different story. The EU has nothing on US Congress and Senate when it comes to the leverage exerted by corporations; I guess Americans are "socialists" as well. Which means everyone is.
  11. The US Constitution has many admirable qualities when it comes to protecting citizens from the state. You are right there are different attitudes toward surveillance. On the other hand, I'd put two things to you: 1. The average American is fed a bizarre and simplified myth about their nation's history as founded by prescient geniuses blessed by god. This is no improvement on our own sorry self-knowledge and arguably a little dangerous as it leads to this view of manifest destiny and a sort of a secular divine right of kings feeling. Of course there is a lack of education on both sides of the fence here, for example I'm getting very tired of seeing terms like "socialist" and "communist" and even "Stalinist" bandied about by people who clearly have no idea what those words mean. The problem our politics really has is that the centre ground is crowded, but I guess if we keep saying NuLab are "communists" and the Tories are "Nazis" we can pretend otherwise. Why anyone would want to I don't know though. 2. Whilst they might make a lot of noise about, say, CCTV or phone tapping, millions of Americans meekly hand over cups full of wee to their employers so that their leisuretime activities can be scrutinised without anyone doing or saying anything. What good is it to live in the land of the free when things like tort reform never arrive (rendering free speech legal but highly dangerous to a private individual) and corporations treat their employees like surfs? WHere the constitution fails is that it fails to protect Americans from eachother and by extension other entities such as corporations. I think the sensitivities of different nations to different issues are differences of kind, not magnitude and rooted in their own cultures. Now all this said I should say I'm quite the Yankophile and have spent lots of time there and look forward to doing so again in future. What I admire most is their positive outlook and "can do" mentality, which is ironically the polar opposite of this self-hating. self-defeating constantly whinging and moaning British mentality demonstrated in this thread that I'm growing very sick of. Its funny people say the "sheeple" have no idea what is going to hit them etc etc when those same posters give an utter masterclass in completely overlooking their numerous blessings.
  12. Are you kidding? We aren't a socialist country, perhaps you are confused or something? This "socialist" state has very low taxes if you can afford to evade them anyway. Federal taxes might be, depends where you live otherwise and what you do for a living. Actually they do. The difference is that Medicaid isn't even theoretically funded (see Bernanke's testimony on the subject, he basically shrugged and laughed) and Medicare + tax breaks for companies paying health insurance costs as much as the NHS as a % of GDP already. US health spending is nearly 16% of GDP, ours is 8% for reference. They have millions of Muslims actually, whether they are ready to blow up cities I don't know and neither do you. Thats why millions of illegal immigrants have literally walked in is it? Trying to claim a country with land borders is more geographically isolated than an island is rather odd.
  13. The HPC Friday self-hate session once again eh. I'd rather be here. Tried and tested institutions, a majority of the population have seen dire economic circustances before, plenty of natural resources (where does that one come from, we aren't Japan), good connections around the globe etc etc. Meanwhile in the US millions of ordinary people in the suburbs can't even so much as buy a carton of milk without owning a car and putting petrol in the tank and their baby boomer healthcare and pensions are currently funded by IOUs from other branches of government. Say what you like about the NHS, at least it exists in reality rather than in a computer. In extremis we can sell the blummin' land the hospitals stand on and sell the MRI machines at a car boot sale if nothing else. Whether it is better to be a great leviathan or an agile minnow when trouble hits is debatable, I think a case can be made in both directions. I find the constant cult of "the greener grass" quite amusing really, I guess we've moved on from thinking France and Germany are the promised lands huh? It was Ireland a few years back which should tell you something. I think really people should travel a bit more and see for themselves, we aren't so badly off and we'll do OK relatively speaking.
  14. So, now our money has been used to bail them out, does anyone know how much equity the state now holds in Northern Rock? I know this a little heretical to many of you, but why didn't the BoE just nationalise it rather than pump in funds? At least that way we'd own the assets (such as they are) and Merv could himself have shut it down. Look at Royal Mail, the government is pretty merciless once you are on their side of the fence, they have no qualms at all about running you into the ground.
  15. If you tolerate this then your capital gains will be next? Just a shot in the dark...
  16. Speaking of Orwell: In reality very little was known about the proles. It was not necessary to know much. So long as they continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern. They were born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming period of beauty and sexual desire, they married at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, they died, for the most part, at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous. No attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party. It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working-hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus in on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice. Could there have been a more prescient description of "Sheeple syndrome"? Then again, might it be said houseprices are a fine example of a "petty specific grievance"?
  17. I wish people could make up their minds. Are new labour either: a. A bunch of socialists hammering the middle class b. Heirs to Thatcher hammering the working class It seems amusing so many people can spill so much bile over the present government with diametrically opposed views about what they are actually doing. Then again, the Tories are at it as well. One minute they are talking about fiscal responsibility, the next they are endorsing and underwriting Labour's spending plans. How is the voter supposed to make any sense of it?
  18. Remove smokers and the generous subsidies they provide and you'd need to work out where you are getting the 9 billion a year net shortfall from. Smokers more than pay for themselves. Its non-smokers who don't take responsibility for their actions sponging off generous tobacco tax recepits to fund their healthcare. The dependency of the NHS on tobacco taxation is a profoundly unattractive truth. You don't for example see GPs campaigning to have their pay cut or having hospitals closed so they can wash their hands of it. And that is why politicians are never going to go near the issue, it isn't "responsibility" its that they'd be put in the position of having to turn down all that extra money (typical smoker = 5 quid a day into the NHS extra) and trying to find it somewhere else.
  19. This is why you should never browse Ebay whilst drunk. And I should know.
  20. Hehe. Anyone less responsible than me with an interest in internet prankery might find this the perfect time to manufacture a prophesy from any of the recognised sources. How about Nostradamus? The Grim Northern King will send armies to a battle that never occurs, Whilst in the distance an ill wind from across the seas will blight the flow of the rivers down to the capital. Many dwellings will sink into the sands and, lo, I doth foresee this in real terms, not just nominal and even after adjustment for seasonal variations and a flawed inflation metrics. Feels a tad inauthentic in places though I fear so it will need some work before I "leak" it to the Daily Mail. Getting back on topic (sorry Mr Kharma, sir) I'm a little unclear of what the "shock doctrine" actually is, insofar as: First, suggesting politicians are anything other than opportunistic does not seem like a new idea (although "good day to bury bad news" is probably where the line can be marked, usually) Second, consider the "pay off matrix" that exists for politicians. The nature of the job (which isn't entirely their fault) is that the public have unrealistic demands. This leads to the equivalent of what is found in US healthcare where the legal climate is such you go in with a splinter in your finger and wind up with a dozen X-rays, scans, bloodtests and psychiatric counselling just in case they get sued for something. It is very hard for politicians to defend doing too little on the basis of "chilling effects" or threats to "freedoms" that a the majority of the population don't really understand they have. That said, this is why we need altogether better politicians than we currently have with big enough swinging appendages (real or metaphorical) to make the arguments.
  21. It was amazing that in the early 18th century the future financial fortunes of an energy company located in an as yet non-existing nation in the 21st century were so well known. I'm surprised more people weren't shorting it.
  22. Sounds about right to me. I don't think the problem is people overestimate average earnings, its more they assume earnings are normally distributed, which they most certainly are not. There is a very, very strong positive skew to the curve. Its like ski jump. [See here, few years old but you get the idea, the average is twice the mode] Not taking this skew into account has long been my argument against ridiculous claims regarding housing affordability citing average or even median earnings [this figure explains why if it isn't clear to you].
  23. If you are talking about the Intel Centrino "Everest" ad rebadged for PC World I complained as well. The idea that people might think a laptop with a wireless card in it can be used as emergency comms equipment in a remote location is pretty dangerous. Some may hoot with laughter at this but mountain rescue and the coastguard regularly see such idiocy in the wild.
  24. I'll take a punt on this. GB won't wait too long, I expect the election for Spring of '08. What you are also overlooking is that all the polling data shows Brown would do better if the economy did go belly up, not worse. You might blame him, I might blame him, but panicking Joe Voter will look for strength not a snotty public schoolboy. It isn't just but if life isn't fair then politics is doubly so.
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