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Drunken Tiger

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About Drunken Tiger

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  1. Read Millenium People by J.G. Ballard, 2003, for middle class revolt (with a surreal twist, of course). In fact, read EVERTHING by the Seer of Shepperton, who was always ahead of his time. Genius.
  2. Inflation is a worry, especially for STRs, but let's think it through... In worrying about "Them" inflating their way out of debt, we need to be very clear what kind of inflation we're talking about (see Dr Bubb's many posts about this). Inflation in the shops due to rising cost of imports following a sterling crash (thanks to a gilts strike or investor panic at loose monetary or fiscal policies, for example) is NOT the same as wage inflation. For the government to "inflate away the debt" they'll need to get wages up, and how the heck are they going to do that with a background of spending cuts? That doesn't seem at all likely in the medium term. Put simply, neither the government, nor the private sector, can afford any wage rises at all, let alone inflation busting hikes! So yes, we may get some inflation in the next few years (and we'll see how QE unwinds), but it'll most likely be cost of living rises which is certainly not going to lead to more HPI! Quite the opposite, in fact. We're talking stagflation, which is as likely, maybe even MORE likely, to depress house prices. Gordon is painted into a corner by both the international and the domestic economic situation. He's thrown the kitchen sink at the housing market, and the banks, and even then he's only just managed to keep the whole thing afloat. Unfortunately, many people in this country still believe in permanent HPI - it's a cultural thing. They still think "the government will never let prices fall". The problem with that view is that this time the government is really out of ammunition. HPC, like The Terminator, will soon be "Back".
  3. As an avid pub man I'm in no doubt that pubs are closing for the simple fact that the British aren't using them. I personally make a point of going to the pub at least 3/4 times a week (there are 21 where I live in Richmond, SW London and I have "audited" them all) and I ask myself many questions, including: "Where are the middle classes?" At a (very middle class) funeral recently I asked a (very middle class) 60-year old retitred dentist relative of mine about the beautiful pub in Dulwich Village (I lived round the corner for a while). He said: "What? Pay £3.50 for a pint when you can get a bottle of wine in Waitrose for the same money?" I was horrified and thought: "twit!" But that's the attitude..A few years back in Milan a (very middle class) ex-pat friend of mine suddenly revealed that "None of my friends go to pubs any more". As if that was something to boast about. But you might equally ask yourself: "Where are the working classes?" or "Where are the kids?" They are also absent but for different reasons...Social customs have changed and supermarket culture has taken over; people are lazy, maybe it's the football, maybe it's the immigrants, maybe it's the cheap lager, kids surfing the net etc.... I took a bus to Paris a few months back and as we winded our way through the delights of Peckham and Lewisham I couldn't BELIEVE how many boarded-up pubs I saw. Smoking ban? What smoking ban..? Whilst I dare say it will have driven some nicotine-stained, bronchial croakers away, are there really so many people who can't last for an hour without a fag? I was living in Italy when the smoking ban came in there and it was respected from one day to the next. The bars there are as full today as they ever were (and the beer is much more expensive than here). For a pub to survive it needs a hard core of locals who go there 4/5 times a few and have a few pints every time. If people stop going to their locals because they have to go without a cig for an hour it means they never valued it in the first place. So, OK, we obviously don't need as many pubs as we did in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or even 90s - there are other things to do these days: hallelujah! People have changed. But the classic British pub is a thing of beauty: the optics, the lighting, the decor, the fact that you can arrive in a strange village and pop into the local, Sunday lunch, reading the paper in a quiet corner, sense of community etc. £3.00 for a pint is NOT a lot when you think what you get for your money - try ordering a pint in Paris and see what it costs you. Some pubs probably need to close because they are past their sell-by date and times have changed - I can see 2 or 3 round here that are always empty and I think the writing is on the wall. But a village without its local is a sad place indeed - lots of people in cars driving around to supermarkets and sitting at home watching X-Factor - boooooring! Yuk. Just another example of Britain becoming "America-lite". I suspect what we have here is a classic case of British hypocrisy - people being nostalgic and moaning about the loss of something they never actually use. And as for those posting on this thread - you DO use you local boozer don't you? Ah really? When was the last time...? Pub-goers of the world unite - use your local, or kiss it goodbye...The future is in OUR hands. DT
  4. Reading this thread, it seems that the "disease" of HPI is still alive, even in some bears. Bears have got to see renting as a BUSINESS decision, rather than be panicked by the V.I.s into seeing it as a low-status choice. Therein lies the way to H.P.I. ruin, accepting all the claptrap - deposits, evictions, landlords, horror stories etc. Renters have to be very professional in selecting the right landlord, property, agent, area etc., then you won't have a problem. A contract is a contract. Mad, property-obsessed British culture has developed this idea that people who rent are losers: BULLSH*T! One of my clients is a wealthy Russian with probably in excess of £30m in the bank, and he is renting - just signed a year's extention on the house in Surrey. Yes, he's got a lot of money but he's looking at the market as a businessman - he couldn't care less whether he owns or rents as long as the deal is right. And at the moment he's NOT convinced by the UK property market. I have a lot of sympathy for people with kids and schools etc but you're lambs to the slaughter - the V.I.s are playing on your fears, hence the bull trap. Don't fall for it. Break the cycle of manipulation. Personally, having Strd a long time ago (maybe TOO long, but so what?), I'm delighted to be renting. The cost of my rental is almost half what a mortgage would cost to service (interest only). As an owner occupier I was in Willesden Green, N. London, now I'm overloooking Rchmond Green living in bliss. I will never buy again in this country unless it's cheaper than renting, end of, line in the sand. Makes life simple.
  5. Life is a beautiful mystery: there are no stages, and there never were. This idea of stages is some kind of artificial construct imposed on children and carried on into adulthood - otherwise it'd all get too complicated for most people, wouldn't it?. There is no escalator, or property ladder, to heaven. To this extent, planning what you are likely to be doing at 60 (from the vantagepoint of a 20 something) is optimistic at best, delusional at worst. Ask Michael Jackson. Some planning is obviously needed (who wants to spend their old age in penury?), but not completely at the expense of sponatneity, and living life in the here and now (and I'm not talking hedonism or lying around doing nothing). Of course, this is the last message "they" want you to hear in a consumer society. naturally, "they" don't really exist either: it's all in the mind, a cultural imperative. In this context, renting forever might make perfect sense (with some simple common sense provisions for old age). Sacrificng your 20s and/or 30s for the ephimeral idea of a property ladder doesn't. Since STRing in 2005, I have been following my dreams. Overland train journey to Tokyo, 3 months in China, a masters degree and perfecting another foreign langauge. All done on a sensible budget. A poky 1-bed flat in London NW2 sold and now renting a lovely place in Richmond. Just renewed for another year. deepened my career as a trainer, retrained as a translator. Plenty of time for reading and cooking, my favourite pastimes. I'm pushing 50. So what? I've got all the time in the world (maybe).
  6. Most of us on HPC 'got it' a long time ago, but the majority of people never will. Unfortunately most people are not interested in learning anything at all, they want things to stay as they are, or others to decide for them. So there is no point worrying about it - the same mistakes are almost certain to be made again some time in the not too distant future. That's the way of the world: and we all know Brits are obsessed with the property market. It's a cultural thing. The real opportunity here is not to educate the masses, it's to reach our own individual understanding of how things are, to reach a decision, and to stick to it, and to show inner strength and self belief. Maybe we buy a house, maybe we don't - who cares? There are more important things to worry about. I am coming round to the idea that the most useful contribution we can make is to develop ourselves, and perhaps pass on what we learn to anyone who'll listen, as we pass through life. Knowledge ripplying out from the centre, rather than this top-down stuff (propoganda not knowledge) that socialists and the media love so much. An indivisualistic approach is the only one that makes sense to me these days, and that is where true freedom lies. Too intellectual for HPC? I don't think so...
  7. But luckily there are people like you (a substantial minority) who see through it all. So things aren't so bad.
  8. We knew the dead cat bounce was coming, and I wouldn't be surprised if it goes on for a few months. A number of STRs who think they "got lucky", will now be panicked back into the market (especially families). They are frightened to lose all their gains at the casino. The other type is those young FTBs (like the ones you always see in the pic below BBC website HPI articles, with the woman always pointing at an EA window, puke!) with a bit of Granny's inheritance, straining at the leash to get on the "ladder" (thinking it's Jacob's Ladder when really it's a Stairway to Hell). I have some sympathy with families, desperate for a roof over their heads in this land of spivs and vultures that we call "Great" Britain. But as an STR (2005) I'm going to see this through right to the bitter end. Sure, it'd be nice to do a good deal one day. But really on any rational measure UK prices are still way too high. And it's not just about us, it's about the future of the country - do we continue being a nation of small-minded property-obesessives, shoppers, celebrity nutters, or could we build something new? Will normal service be resumed just as soon as the crash is over? Or can we stand up to them? Renting is, after all, very liberating, and if it's good enough for the Germans, and the Swiss, why not us? I've made my choice. There is no going back...
  9. The key thing in all this is that the Tories will have to differentiate themselves from Labour to win the next election. That's inevitably going to mean standing on a "sound money" platform - if not, they'll simply be saying the same thing as the Govt., and will be dismissed as "policy light". They're going to keep their powder dry until the run up to the election, when they'll start with a run of policy announcements which , I hope, will focus on the relaunch of the UK economy. No point doing much before as: (i) Labour would just pinch any good ones and (ii) It's still too far away for the electorate to remember anything come polling day In contrast to many on this forum I don't believe the UK is finished, far from it. But we need a full relaunch, a full and frank assessment of our problems and some policies to sort this out and move forward, both socially and economically. David C. ISN'T 100% convincing in this regard, and he's certainly making it up as he goes along. But that's the nature of the job, as leader of the opposition. And the Labour Govt. is offering absolutely nothing in the way of hope: just endless borrowing. Pretty depressing stuff. I find it hard to believe I voted Labour in '86, '92 and '97? (But Maggie in '83, abstained '01 and '05). I suppose we'll soon get a dead cat bounce in property as the bribery money filters through from the government. But by the end of this year, that'll be spent, and we'll be back to square one (many billions of pounds lighter). And inflation will be ticking up, and the time bomb of interest rate rises will be edging closer... It's going to be very messy. I think that that will be finally when the penny drops and people in the UK face reality - that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, or a property ladder...
  10. I read that article yesterday in the Evening (Double) Standard and it said WEST Hampstead, by the way, which is quite different from the real thing (although W. Hampstead is an OK area). So the 35% drop was most likely from a very over-priced peak-boom-level 2007 £600k. I know W.H. like the back of my and it's always been a bit over-hyped, trading as it does on the catchet of the name it shares with its illustrious neighbour: the high street is quite scruffy if you look closely. But OK, transport is excellent - 10 mins to the West End. So how real is that 35%? Well OK, splitting hairs apart, £390k is definitely moving in the right direction from 2007. But more like 15% than 35%. Way to go yet...
  11. What all this taps into is an almost sick obsession with housing in the UK. It's a cultural, rather than economic thing. And it's possibly the most boring aspect of Britsih life. We all know - the endless newspaper headlines, the TV porn, the pub coversations, the sh*tty, tacky EA boards that are an industry in themselves, the horrid metaphors ("ladder", "pent up", "green shoots"...yawn), even the websites (but no, I can't give up HPC!). We need to break this culture, we need to take a stand. We need to say "Hey! Renting has a lot of advantages, I'll do this forever! I don't care if Brown tries to reflate the bubble - I'm not buying that slavebox.." Just renewed my rental contract for a year, and never been happier. Is it a coincidence? My savings can sit in the bank, and pay for things I really value. You're a long time dead... We also need to move to longer-term rentals, so that families with children can enjoy security of tenure. everyone understands it's not easy with kids if you change house every six months. But it's possible - I grew up from the age of 6 to 13 in rental accomodation, in a faraway country and was very happy indeed. Why is that not possible here? I'm very happy renting at the moment, and will never buy again in the UK unless prices return to reasonable prices. So, B*gger Brown, the buliders and the banks. We all need to move beyond this hideous and destructive culture.
  12. Unpleasant thread, and yes, racist, to all intents and purposes.
  13. I suspect the main problem with house prices in the UK is that it's a cultural problem - it's a national obsession. In no other country I have lived in (and they are quite a few), do people talk about house prices constantly as we do in the UK - whether they be on the way up or the way down. As a fully paid-up HPC bear, I STR'd in 2005, having bought in a sh*tty part of NW London at the peak of the last boom in 1988. We had a lot of touch-and-go moments back then when everyone else went bust. But luckily I was able to rent out rooms (4 bed flat, bought with brother) and go off to Italy for 10 years. Best decision of my life. But it was hairy: I had to deal with bailiffs and court orders at the low point. Then the Blair boom came along and sent prices to the moon... Now, mortgage and debt free, I'm renting a lovely flat looking straight out on Richmond Green - 2 minutes walk from the river, 2 minutes from the station. Quality of life excellent - freelance worker but enough bits and pieces coming in to make it work. Rent is still at least 40% below what interest-only financing costs would be on a mortgage to buy this place, even at today's prices (and when I renewed the lease for another year last week the EA's sales rep. came running round to tell me that buyers were back, even though I was just signing a rental deal: I just thought "How pathetic"). Oh, not to mention the £2k annual service charge which the landlord has to pay... My point is this: STRs and would-be FTBs on this board should set a price at which they would consider (re-)entering the market - 40/50/60% below peak or whatever. Then stick to this and just ignore the hype and bullsh*t in the press about spring bounces and "ladders" and "pent up" demand and all the other rubbish from the V.I.s. If the price doesn't actually fall then really, renting isn't such a bad option: there's a lot of flexility, and the hype about renting being for "losers" is twaddle: a peculiarly British disease. (Although I'm convinced that prices will fall much further). If enough people were prepared to RENT INDEFINITELY or move countries or whatever, then this game of cat and mouse could be broken, and Britain could be rid of this scourge of property obsession. A little blip like Halifax rises for one month would be buried (where it should be) at the back of the business section or, better still, not reported at all. And people could start living their lives and stop being manipulated by the house-price industry.
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