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Posts posted by Gwailo

  1. I also live along the coast in the out-burbs of Melbourne. Expensive, but you also need one car per person and even taking a crap necessitates driving your car. Unlike where we lived in London, could actually do far more and for many years had no car. In the old days you could always say 'well living in oz is cheap' not any more, people don't even go to the pub any more, well not working people with mortgages, costs around 2x UK prices, and besides the pubs are not worth going in, just supermarket/betting shop type atmosphere with a bar in it.

    Yes - Steve99 is100% correct. We also need 2 cars and almost everything is at a distance, it just takes way more time to go to places than the UK.

    Don't get me started on the local supermarkets.........

  2. I've been trying to buy a home in Munich for several years now. I have a very specific postcode I want to live in and flats rarely come up for sale here. It seems most of the properties are owned by professional landlords who are not selling, so you have to wait until an owner occupier wants to sell...

    The annoying thing is that prices here are comparable to London, despite the fact that London has a lot more prestige.... admittedly this is not the case in the rest of Germany.

    I visited my sister in Singapore and prices in London seemed cheap in comparison....

    It seems clear to me that rediculous housing costs are not limited to London, not by a long shot.

    So... where do you live and what are house prices like where you live.... especially compared to local wages.

    I live in a small seaside town south of Melbourne.

    Local house prices are on average about 6 to 7 times annual income (approx). The average house in this area would be about AUD $500 to $600k.

    Most people here seem to live on a tight budget although the environment and weather makes things a bit easier than say the UK for example.

  3. Life in the US is still very attractive; a decent middle class lifestyle possible on a reasonable level of income.

    The big question is - do you have residency rights? I can see no point in buying a lovely property in the US unless you can legally live there without restriction.

    If I had the cash I'd be looking at Hawaii as the best option........not as cheap as Florida mind.


  4. If you wanted to move to one of the countries which is likely to go bust (Portugal or Spain) from another country which will a little while after also be going bust (this one, though of course that won't be an outright default, just a stealth one by inflation)

    And you live in the UK and earn and hold GBP - a fair amount of it, not enough to buy outright by any means, but enough to make a significant downpayment towards a property that has halved in value:

    And you hold the belief that one of the best possible buying opportunities may be just a year or two (maybe three) away as the destination country goes into freefall, but also believe that by that time, GBP will be practically worthless.... but didn't want to convert everything into gold..

    What would you do? And do you think this is a reasonable hypothesis and opportunity?

    I would recommend that you select a location to buy a property in a location where you can actually live either unrestricted or with simple visa application process.

    This would rule out places like the USA.

    Europe is the obvious location; but don't discount places like Malaysia where property can be very reasonable and you can get a 'retirement' type visa quite easily which allows you to live there pretty much unrestricted.

  5. I am looking to buy a property in suburban Melbourne in 12 months time - so I have a deep personal interest in this subject.

    Are there any 'local' Australians who can comment on the true situation in Melbourne?

    It seems the article is saying 'people think prices will rise - but they also think sellers will have to lower asking prices to sell'...........strange?


  6. You are of course - correct.

    The other things the MTR won't be able to do in London is get the land along the line granted to them by the government so they can off-set the costs to the railway with property development.

    This has been the MTR's very successful 'Rail + Property' model in Hong Kong & now Mainland China - but it certainly won't work in London.

    The MTR is also very good at opening existing & redundant areas of metro stations into 'retail space' which increases rental income significantly - again good news for commuters. These are nice shops too - not the crap you find in Euston Station.

    Having said all that the MTR will face serious challenges operating in London.


  7. It is not really fair to call the MTR Corporation a 'Chinese Company' - it is really a Hong Kong company.

    Many of the directors are actually British and New Zealanders.

    I used to work for the MTR in Hong Kong and they are very good indeed at running a metro system.

    This is actually good news for London - not a sign of the Chinese buying up British assests at all as this is a joint venture with a British company.

  8. Frankly - if you have the money to buy a brand new Ford Focus - you would be better to 'invest' some of the cash in education or some sort of vocational training in order to qualify yourself for migration to either Australia, Canada or anywhere else that takes your fancy.

    The money left, after your course, should be sufficient for a one way air-ticket & a good deposit on a nice house in your chosen new country.

    Thats what I would do in your situation - forget about the car - thing long term.

    Good luck.

  9. Gwailo,

    Why are you leaving HK after so long and where are you heading?

    I ask because Ive thought about moving in a few years but was unsure where might provide the best quality of life/cost ratio. Im am now convinced Asia provides some wonderful possibilities.


    I'm off to Singapore, (initially), although the longer term plan is to 'settle' in Australia.

    Hong Kong has been good to me - I still love the place, but a new baby has changed my views about this town for the long term - air polution issues being a major factor of course.

    As for places which provide the best quality of life/cost ratio - I think Singapore offers much in this respect, (whilst you are still working), but for retirement - Thailand or Malaysia are still the best!

    Japan isn't to be overlooked either - but a much more challenging environment to live culturally - you would need to learn the language & adapt much more than say a place like Singapore or Malaysia.

    Good luck to all!

  10. Hong Kong is indeed a fantastic place - excellent in terms of career prospects and the ability to 'save' most of your disposable income, (if you want), you can't do that in the UK.

    However, I have always considered Hong Kong as a 'profit centre' - a place to make money but never as a 'cost centre' (i.e. a place to spend your life savings & settle down).

    Hong Kong has always had a bit of a 'temporary' feel about it for me - a place to come for a few years, make a few Quid & then move on - mind you I have been here for 17 years now, finally off next week!

    As for Hong Kong property - you either have to be very brave or have come to the conclusion that this town is the right place to spend the rest of your life! (It is very risky playing the property game in this town).

    As another poster has mentioned - there are far better places in Asia to invest your money in property than than Hong Kong - and a good quality of life to be found in many countries in the region.


  11. Gwailo & dessie123

    do you both have property in HK & when did you buy ;)

    Na - I never purchased property in HK.

    It was always 'risky' back on the early 1990's - Hong Kong property has proven itself to be a road to slavery in 1997/98 for those with negative equity.

    I agree - some people did very well out of the HK property market - but it has always been a bit of a gambler's market.

    Anyway, I will be leaving HK for another South East Asian location very shortly.


  12. How free is the press in HK these days? IN the UK the press will not admit to a drop in house prices very readily. The propaganda is still powerfully conrtrolled by the vested interests and you rarely see much that is anti-house prices as the central government's future depends on a crash being averted.

    The article that says house prices are gong down in HK comes from the Financial Times which is perhaps more free of VIs than most as they have a relatively small property advertising section and a lot of credibility to lose if they cover up the truth. The other papers, such as the Express, Sunday Times etc. would probably not lose much credibility as original and serious financial articles are rarely to be found within their pages.

    Fair question - how free are the press in Hong Kong?

    Well put it this way - the press managed to report the 65% fall in property prices in 1997-98 - and they also managed to acurately report the fall in property prices during SARS, (Spring 2003).

    So I can't see why the press wouldn't report any differently this time around? Certainly there isn't much in the way of 'property prices crashing' in the press at the present time.

    The real test of course, is to pop into your local 'Centaline' or 'Richacorp' estate agency here in Hong Kong to see what asking prices are doing - yes there is some slippage of the asking prices - but I can't see any dramatic fall though.

    Did you know - you can read previous 'property transactions' on-line on most of the major estate agencies websites - the property market, (at least the second hand market) is quite transparent really.


  13. Emmigration is great - I hve been living out of the UK for 'about' 18 years now.

    I have lived in Kenya, Hong Kong & Australia, then back to Hong Kong & just about to move to Singapore next month!

    Eventually - I will 'settle down' in Australia - which is a great place - but best if you have some cash to buy your own home, (which are much cheaper than the UK except Sydney of course), and then you'll live very well indeed.

    I can't recommend emmigration strongly enough - Canada is a fantastic option, but don;t dismiss Australia, NZ or certain countries in Asia (i.e. Singapore etc).


  14. The boomers' spending peak is being overshadowed by the need to pay for medical care for aging parents. The Japanese population peaked in 2005 and is now starting to decline overall.

    My father-in-law is in a private rest home, keeping my sister-in-law and her family fully occupied with payments. When he passes away, death duties will take a good 40% of his assets.

    On the plus side, rents have hardly risen in the last 10 years. I visited Kobe last month and found that small apartments near the station were only about 65,000 yen per month. (Of course, the landlords want about 6 months' of rent in advance, but that is the way they do things in Japan.)

    I have found a very interesting website (in Japanese) that is all about "country living". (What Japanese in his right mind would want to live in the countryside!). Check it out


    It (item # 1150) is a big, decrepit old farm house (199 square meters) on about 1,000 square meters of land. All yours for 16.5 million yen. A bit of a fixer-upper, but it's on the main island and not too far from civilization.

    Depopulation in the rural districts is becoming real problem. Maybe I will find myself a cheap piece of land by the sea in one of the rural provinces and retire. (What Japanese in his right mind would want to live on the coast!) (Can we say, "tsunami"?)

    Yep! My wife is Japanese (although she was born in Hong Kong) but still she is a Japanese citizen.

    Sometimes, I think about moving to Japan - Kyoto would be nice - lovely countryside in the surrounding hills - I could probably get a job teaching English too!

    My only concern - just how difficult would it be to really retire (or semi-retire) in Japan - honestly?

    Lovely country though - nice people and great food!

    What are your views?

  15. Thanks!

    Jim Puplava is definately a recommended from me too. There are loads of others who are making sense of all this cobblers too. Congressman Ron Paul knows his stuff too.



    And the gold bug community are wetting themselves now that this currency fraud is finally starting to unravel.

    My pleasure - you are only telling them the truth.

    Very few people really understand macro ecomonics - money supply issues etc and hardly anyone understands that the TRUE reason why property prices in 'most' western nattions have risen so high is simply due to the increase in money supply.

    The average person just thinks property prices 'go up' because of supply & demand - which is partly correct of course - but not the real reason.

    With the cheap money supply about to dry up (Japan) there will be some significant increases in interest rates to prevent confidence in currencies from evaporating - then the REAL pain will start for those who borrowed too much.

    The best thing you can do is: save and stay out of debt!


  16. Inflation is an increase in the total stock of money and credit.

    Inflation is NOT rising prices.

    Deflation is a decrease in the total stock of money and credit.

    Deflation is NOT falling prices.

    Governments redefine the term inflation as a means to deflect blame / suspicion / attention from the real cause of rising prices.

    Questions to ask yourself,

    Why would the government go to the extremes of using force (threat of violence / imprisonment etc.) to make its citizens accept worthless paper / digits in exchange for their real produce / services?

    There is a reason why things are put into place, and a net benefit. Who benefits from currency debasement, clearly not the public in general.

    In what world are falling prices a bad thing? Falling prices means cheaper stuff. How can this be dangerous.

    Its oldest trick in the book. And the excuses for it are as lame as ever. But to read the clear brainwashed nonesense of many guys on here talking about core rates, and RPIX and bank of england inflation targetting is just gobsmackingly frightening.

    Actually - he is correct!

    Go and view: www.financialsense.com

    Might raise a few eyebrows!

  17. I have been reading this thread with interest from 'afar' (Hong Kong actually).

    It seems to me that the whole situation in the UK is one of 'the older generation taxing the younger one' - this is leading to some serious social problems & a lot of resentment.

    I personally think it is true that a lot, (but not all), of boomers are now living on the earnings of the young & are living 'some where in the sun' as a result of this house price boom also at the expense of the younger generation. They are even claiming a State Pension which the young generation will probably never see themselves - again the system allows for this situation - it is not the fault of any particular generation.

    I don't even think the boomers know what they are doing for the most part, (i.e. robbing their own children & grandchildren), but they have taken advantage of the situation they have found themselves in with the ability to 'tap-into' the value of property they purchased many years ago & use this to buy BTL.

    As everyone on this site knows - this has caused a bidding war in property prices to such an extent now that FTB are as rare as hen's teeth & are forced to rent from the new age landlords - who are calling this their 'pension provision'.

    The real source of this problem goes back to the start of low interest rates - when Japan's central bank went to a zero rate policy - this caused the carry trade when banks could borrow from Japan for almost zero and re-invest this capital else. Obviously the economics are far more complex than this - but I'm no economist!

    Either way - it is a mess & if you are now aged under 35 you are pretty much done for in the UK.

    The situation is what it is - your best bet now if you are under 35 is to:-

    - Save as much as you can resonably afford to.

    - Stay away from debt - which is just another form of slavery.

    - Consider working abroad or emmigration for a few years (to save even more money).

    - Wait for interest rates to rise - which will wash away all this nonsense in a few years time.

    The main thing is - stay out of debt!

    Good luck!

  18. It seems there are quite a few of us 'refugees' from the UK living & working in Hong Kong!

    Hong Kong isn't perfect - as already mentoned, but financially it makes a lot of sense.

    Other locations worth considering are (in no particular order): Singapore, Malaysia, China & Taiwan - particular if you are a professional teacher.

    UK - na.......I'll leave it alone and keep all those happy memories of the late 1980s.

    It is truely a sad state of affairs though when the only way to get ahead in the UK is to emmigrate.


  19. Your best bet - would be emmigrate! (Seriously).

    In your circumstances, I would be looking to leave the UK for a few years - locate yourself in a low tax regime country, (there are lots if you seriously looked), gain as much valuable experience as you possibly can, save as much cash as possible & enjoy yourself at the same time.

    If your partner is a qualified teacher - you literally have a World of choice!

    I think you would be better off leaving the UK to ahem........'settle down' for a few years.

    Good luck!

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