Real Estate Prices

It's called 'gazumping' in the UK. In France that cannot happen, once a price has been agreed that's it and quite right too, if the seller goes back on the deal they pay penalties. Also all property carries a capital gains tax liability above a €10K profit. That's why property has rational prices here in France. It used to be 100% for the first 2 years on a sliding scale over 18 years.

I don't know about now but when we lived in Spain there was no CGT on profits in currencies/markets but CGT was levied on property. Where we used to live in the Aveyron we met an Engliswoman who worked in risk management for a big Belgian bank and there is no CGT there.

If you want to make money, invest in the markets, loads of different instruments for that - options, futures, covered warrants etc. etc. Residential property should never be part of gambling which in reality the stock markets are. In 2008, if foreign banks had sent young eager gophers to check out the bundled toxic mortgages being sold in the USA then the only banks to have gone bust would have been American. The problem worldwide is that the directors of banks still havn't got a clue about the esoteric instruments that they are trading, they say they do but they don't. The mathematicians that create these products once never left the universities but when you can earn more in a year than in a lifetime at Uni the attraction is obvious.

I used to make accurate predictions about the markets and currencies but since 2008 I think everyone is being gamed by the 1%, it's manipulation all the way. I really kick myself that in 2008 I didn't make a move on the 'carry trade' where people literally bought money by borrowing in the Yen @ 0.5% and investing in other currencies where they could get 4-5 %, they had to close their positions before they got hammered. Before the massive correction it was £1=Yen220. When it all played out it was £1=Yen120 and that was over just few months, it really was a no-brainer.

I changed enough Sterling to last us a few years here before the latest slide began, I'm a natural 'dancer on the edge' but when you get old you havn't got the time to pick yourself up if you make the wrong call. It would be nice to buy a new property but I know just how crap most residential construction is and not only in Europe, so it's buy a piece of land and materials.

If we still had the apartment on the South coast I would sell @ £750K, store the furniture etc. we wanted to keep and buy a big camper to live in, probably the same for a lot of Americans. If % rates go back to normal levels (in the UK 5-7%) then property, banks and Sterling will collapse, the US$ won't because it is THE reserve currency. The Swiss are very shrewd, by law they have to keep 40% of their reserves in gold.

If I was a lot younger I would have loved to go to the Ukraine and help with the massive reconstruction that will be needed when the fascists have been thrown out of Ukraine - what a people, nothing but respect for them.
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Zillow is run by ex Microsoft people, and the scale of operation is astounding: an attempt to dominate the real estate market in the USA and Canada
That needs serious money, and if their valuations are lowered, their leveraging would be badly affected.
The same holds for others in that business.

Links with corruption proceeds and those from the narcotics trade / other illegal activities cannot be ruled out for some of the players in that market.

It is as if they do not have to return the capital.

In some senses, the care free attitude seen just before the 1929 crash are seen...easy money, spend it now, tomorrow never comes...

Zillow may have borrowed money to deploy, but others seem to be having no worry about cash flows...
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I've mortgaged since 2007, in the UK.

I bought a new build, instantly lost 30% value in the following crash; spent 10 years paying over, to move into a house (2018), worth 10k less than the 1 bed flat I bought in 2007 at the height of the price boom.

Now here, through covid and all, prices are up about 10-18%, most growth in the last 12-18mnth.

I'm always just a sceptic, and I can't help feel that it is driven by demand, sure, but also by estate agents, of which there are many, propping up their own industry.

Much like driving instructors during the pandemic, have protected their earning in ways that other self employed, or employed folks can only dream of.

With interest and inflation reaching for the sky, (anyone remember the 70s and lived through that?)

I can't help but feel a huge crunch is coming when many over financed people default on one thing or the other, usually mortgages first, and a housing glut then bankrupts the rest of us that have managed to pull through and pay our bills.

Call me a cynic but....
Zillow is run by ex Microsoft people, and the scale of operation is astounding: an attempt to dominate the real estate market in the USA and Canada
That needs serious money, and if their valuations are lowered, their leveraging would be badly affected.
The same holds for others in that business.

Links with corruption proceeds and those from the narcotics trade / other illegal activities cannot be ruled out for some of the players in that market.

It is as if they do not have to return the capital.

In some senses, the care free attitude seen just before the 1929 crash are seen...easy money, spend it now, tomorrow never comes...

Zillow may have borrowed money to deploy, but others seem to be having no worry about cash flows...

Zillow is horribly run (always has been) and they've stopped buying homes. They will dominate in nothing other than largest losses in their industry from their home flipping "business".
Here in the Pacific Northwest (USA) on the Olympic Peninsula, we are starting to get climate refugees from California and Oregon. The threat of wildfires and drought in CA and OR has gotten people nervous. Mostly retired folk but also people just trying to find someplace safe and reasonably priced. (so far!) Prices for houses are rising, but nowhere near California levels.
From the above replies one glaring fact stands out - in the UK and the USA Joe Punter has very little if any protection against sharks that have zero integrity. I have many reasons why I would like to see the EU disbanded and a new European Community created by and for the European peoples. However virtually all EU countries have (a) rent controls and protocols in buying property. Whereas in the UK and the USA it is a free-for-all and you'd better be smart, cunning and without principals or you will get screwed and if you fight against the system - it is only the lawyers who gain.

In the case of the UK in 97 many people voted for the Labour party expecting a peaceful social revolution. They were totally betrayed by Tony the Liar and Gordon Gekko. Just by introducing what virtually all EU countries had had for decades or longer - rent controls and CGT on profits from property. With these two measures the price of property and rents would still be rational and the cost of living totally different today making the services and products far cheaper and the UK a more prosperous and happy country to live in. It's no surprise that Scandinavia and the Netherlands have a much higher life satisfaction score than the UK and the rest of Europe and that with climates far less agreeable than France,southern Europe. They pay far higher taxes but also have far higher quality services and of life - there's nothing for nothing - in this life.

rdf - thanks for that video, say it all.

Decker brings up a fact that will become more and more important when finally Joe Punter wakes up to the reality of where to live. It's always been obvious to me that where you live is or should be the most important fact to consider. Very soon people are going to (a) move to higher ground - who wants to suffer floods on 'flood plains' or buy a house by a river built at ground level or (b) buy into flimsy timber built houses (USA,Canada/OZ) in the middle of forests. Will all those poor sods who saw their homes go up in flames be so silly to buy rebuilds of the same type? Well will they?

There is no country that I know of that will clue young people up on just what constitutes the best construction methods or materials. The first thing you notice flying into the UK is the regimented rows of housing. If you build a house where the living accommodation faces due south then with full length windows you get free solar energy in the winter months and with full length insulation shutters on the inside you re-instate the U value of the walls from dusk. With proper shading of the windows in summer you bounce the heat away. Nowhere I have seen in Europe actually stipulates this as part of the Building Codes. No kitchen should have food stored there. Food should be stored in proper larders/garde manger with temperature control wet and dry. Millions of tons of food is wasted each year in the UK. Where do any Regs. in the EU/UK stipulate that all new homes should have air change systems, vital for good health - none.

Soon, very soon the safest places to live are going to acquire a premium price. By safest I mean climatically and socially. Where I live now in a small town there was for the first time in 14 years a burglary and everyone was shocked. Where I used to live on the south coast of England, Hove, if you went out at night you always had to be on your guard, since we left over 20 years ago it's got far worse. In 2 years before we left there were 4 murders in around 400 sq. m. We first moved to N W Spain Galicia and it took me a whole year to realise that I had nothing to fear or guard against when I saw a few young men coming toward me through the Galician mists.

I don't know of a single country where in the last year of school all the pupils get 'wised up' on the conmen that are going to feed on them throughout their lives because society does nothing to truly educate them on all matters financial why, because it's not in the interests of the various elites - the colour shirts they wear are completely irrelevant - they are all the same.

Mortgages are a classic example. For a couple of years I worked in financial services in the UK - what an eye opener that was. No one is going to tell someone taking out a mortgage that if they discard all the consumer products they don't really need and use this money to pay off the mortgage quicker they will save a fortune. Using the calculator on your PC work out how much a mortgage costs, paid off in 10 years and one paid off in 30 years. I worked mainly in investments and pensions - if only people knew how they were getting ripped off. If a Dutchman and a Brit pay into a private pension scheme the Dutchman will end up with a pension pot 3 x times the Brit and it's all because of charges and commissions paid.

A senior consultant who had retired to Spain because he had made enough money, got bored and came back. If he sold a 'single premium pension' that is a one-off sum, his commission was 3% but if he sold a 'regular premium' pension plan his commission on the first year's premiums was 97%. He conned a lot of people and the company had to settle. There is only one type of pension plan in the UK that has real value a SIPP - self invested pension plan, the rest are crap.

Never ever take out a policy that combines death insurance - in reality there is no such thing as 'life' insurance with investments. In the UK there are these infamous 'whole of life' policies- avoid. When to take out 'death' insurance - there is an optimum age which is different for males and females. This policy will be very useful as you journey through life. Get older and a bank or lender will want to know they are covered for their loan in the event of death - you can assign that death cover for the length of the loan. Wait until you are older and it will cost a lot more.

I could write loads on finance but to sum up - the best person to look after your interests is you but the shysters are never going to tell you that or make sure that you learn how to do just that.

The crazy prices of housing across the world are the direct result of the Ponzi scheme almost collapsing in 2008-10. There was no need to go to almost zero % rates, the only ones to really suffer would have been the 1% + - to see them looking for cardboard boxes to sleep in would have got zero sympathy from me but that's just my opinion, others may differ.

Caveat Emptor - buyer beware!
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One thing we all forgot was the amount of money floating around in cryptocurrency, and its usage to buy and sell things.
Particularly for things for which nobody wants to leave proof.

Bitcoin alone seems to have trillions of dollars invested, and yet nobody knows the real people behind it.
In real estate also, some very peculiar price movements are happening.
In London the arms dealers, hard drug traffickers, those who had looted their countries actually turn up with bags full of cash to buy prime property there and the estate agents don't even blink, whole streets full of empty homes. I see some guy from Texas bought on the dark web just under 40,000 email accounts with c/card details, been looting people's money since 2015.

The fortunes of many of the 1% depend on keeping property prices rising - at any cost.

Taxation is for the 'little people', tax havens are for the super rich - the 'Panama Papers' should have surprised no one. There are 4 tax havens in the EU the most notorious is Luxembourg, then there's the Netherlands (where U2 stash there money) Lichtenstein, Ireland (Google). Then there's the Channel Islands, all the Crown Colonies in the Caribbean, US Virgin Islands. The best however is a huge cruise/tax haven liner with 165 apartments rich people live. It costs the apartment owners around US$900,000 per year.

The history of Bitcoin is well known. The invention of the block chain and creation of a fixed number of digital coins is the reason for it's take up. Had I known about it in 2009, I would have taken a punt/bet on it, let's face it US$2K is not going to buy much - why not. Initially a Bit coin cost zero

I hope everyone knows that governments don't even bother to waste time and money actually printing the stuff now, they just think of a number and enter it onto an electronic register - some potatoes or rice, some onions and garlic, some fresh veg, some stock to make a sauce, some chicken or beef that's real or some over printed 10 million Weimar Republic marks, which had real value then or now - a piece of paper is - just a piece of paper. In the Weimar Republic only the farmers and the very rich ate well - food for thought (pun intended).
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Only if they were on weird drugs and didn't read anything. New Labour was plainly just a slightly more centrist party than the incumbents.
Not true. From the 70s' onward Labour were useless and then we had Thatcher who using very simple programming to get an awful lot of the population junked on making money from house price inflation. Tony was a good salesman/conman and G/Gekko made a good silent bagman at his side. Anything had to be better (LOL) than what had gone before for nearly 30 years. The fact that it wasn't was all too late, the conmen were safely ensconced in Westminster - they were in control.

No, it all went wrong in the UK (hasn't really been united ever, that was brainwashing at school and the media) with the imported consumerism from the USA. Once Joe Blogs at the insistence of his wife (virtually all advertising is geared towards females) swapped his bike to go to work for a moped which then became a car, which then became two cars the momentum was too strong.

I think consumerism took off on mainland Europe in the 70s'. It wasn't so long ago that when you saw any TV from Beijing they were all very healthily on bikes. In the mid 70s' I could have bought a house for cash. I saw a house, even mortgage free as a millstone because I wanted to travel and work in different countries and see life abroad and in my own country at a distance. For the poor sod on a mortgage you can hardly say what Mr. Natural would to a bad boss. Virtually everyone I've met who has travelled and worked abroad can easily relate to one another, It's like acquiring a 'community world view' and a very sensible level headed view. If you stay in your own country then mostly you have a 'point of view' due to the local brainwashing that all countries have but when you travel it reverses so you have a'viewing point'.

Perhaps the only peoples not caught up in the mania of owning (or being owned by mortgage companies) and it is a mania like the Dutch with Tulips and the English with the South Sea Bubble are those living in real environments like jungles and mountains but they havn't got much time left, especially if they are standing in the way of corporate plans.

Markets are self regulating even state capitalist ones like China/Russia/North Korea which means that when a particular insanity reaches a peak, it collapses. It either recovers with lots of fiscal bloodletting or it dies. It is only through the self interest of financial markets that organisations like the IMF come into being. 2008-10 the contagion of world collapse was stopped by inflicting the huge losses on those who never caused the problem - the ordinary people and they are still paying. It is impossible now for countries to re-instate, even gradually, 'normal rates of %' this will crash all the housing markets across the world and with them go all the mortgage companies/banks. So, in the UK prices are still rising, so too in France and Spain and other countries.

The whole thing really is hilarious (the Zen masters are wetting themselves) - the electronically created debt is now so huge in so many countries that perhaps the only thing to do is just wipe the memory banks clean and start again. Fast forward a few years - Breaking News - there's a huge market developing in a completely new strain of tulips, there's never been anything like it before. Forget the old rules they don't apply anymore - if you don't get in now you'll be too late.
What is a 'safe haven' currency and country - one that can easily defend itself, one that can feed itself and one that can produce it's own power. There is only one country that fits that bill entirely and that is the USA.
Add the Russian Federation to that list; it exceeds those conditions, big time: food, fuels, minerals, Industry, physical space (11 time zones within), TONS of Nature (think Siberia), unpolluted land and rivers, the works.

All other Countries fail in one aspect or the other, maybe Canada could come close?

No Politics involved or implied, just Economy 101

And it is my opinion that Putin is at least as brilliant as Nixon was, and probably more evil too.
You bet.
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Canada 38 million
Australia 25.7 million
New Zealand 5 million
Actually, even Spain and parts of South America are attractive destinations, if you have the itch and the means.
Australia - drought and fire, unsustainable housing boom
New Zealand - active seismic activity, unsustainable housing boom with huge social problems in the cities - great for those that love the big open country.
Spain - endemic corruption, has been so for centuries ask anyone who has lived there. desertification is a fact of life that the Spanish cannot face. When the aquifiers have all been used up or contaminated by incoming sea water where will all the Spanish go. Same goes for the whole of southern Europe/North Africa.
Parts of South America - be specific. Endemic corruption everywhere.
Canada like a lot of the USA - catastrophic weather now the norm, year round.
How do you like the hot weather in India?
Rising sea levels across the world, problems in coastal western France,Queensland Oz, what's going to happen to the Baltic coast of Germany,North Sea - Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, norther France, England. Bangladesh will disappear, 90% of the land is barely above water now, same goes for lots of southern India. The coasts of Texas,Loiusiana, virtually the whole of Florida.

Behind all these problems lies one cause for them and it's not hiding, it's in plain sight but like the naked emperor - ssshh.
ALL Countries have problems, including USA of course, the practical solution being which of them you can stand, which you can not, but mainly: what do you want to do? What is your purpose?

If just a rhetoric question, munch it a long as you want; now if you are searching for a practical answer, say you are looking for a safe and nice place to retire, you´ll have to be more specific.

A basic one: what will your living means be?
Do you count on a pension?

IF so, in general US dollars buy a lot more abroad than inside USA, except in hard currency places such as most of Europe, Japan or I guess Canada where cost of life is more or less in the same level ... or worse.

But there are many Countries where good old USD is King, and to boot are nice to live in.
ALL Countries have problems, including USA of course, the practical solution being which of them you can stand, which you can not, but mainly: what do you want to do? What is your purpose?

Yes. It is about what you want to do with your life.

I have a buddy that's talked about retiring to Arkansas his whole life. He's 62, long retired, and still lives in an expensive, high tax single family home in Will County. His sole criteria: property taxes. He says you can buy a house in Arkansas and only pay $600/yr in property taxes. I always pointed out that you get what you pay for. In Arkansas your house burns to the ground and nobody so much as whizzes on the flames. That's what you get for $600/yr. And if you need a doctor the closest "doctor" that actually graduated high school is 175 miles away.

I exaggerate, but to be polite Arkansas is extremely backward and ignorant and is like another country compared to where I live. And my buddy hasn't made any plans to move yet because of his kids and grandkids. His daughter is a big shot lawyer that pulls in the big buck$ and she lives with him. That's why he's still here, and that's why he will never move. He may not know it but he would never be happy (or safe) in a place like Arkansas.

So it's apples and oranges. I'll never move because my community provides resources I need to deal with my health issues. My community is also friendly, supportive, and helpful. We have excellent police, fire, and paramedic services. I would be long dead without 90 second response time from skilled paramedics at my fingertips. Plus my neighbors are all smart and friendly educated professionals.
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There are places in Cleveland OH which are just getting emptied out -- crime and lack of job opportunities.

My ideas was to create a "Tax Free Zone" in East Cleveland and settle the Ukrainian refugees there. We have a big population of Ukrainians, Slovenians, already here.

Elsewise, the suburbs of Cleveland are roaring in terms of prices.
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Empty property is often owned by speculators. They rig the property to pay the lowest taxes possible (and make it uninhabitable too). They try to buy as much property as possible in certain areas and then when the economy turns around they rehab, develop, or sell large swaths of it for industrial or public use at a profit. This is what happened /is happening in St. Louis, where just one deep pocketed investor (I forget his name or his corporations) buys up all the derelict land in a given area. He never secures the property but leaves it to be subject to certain decay. A lot of the property is subject to arson or brick rustling. This brings the rest of the area down until one person owns every piece of property for a mile in any direction.

A lot of communities in St. Louis were destroyed by this. A whole new residential development went up, isolated from the older neighborhoods with cul-de-sacs and traffic barriers. A lot of architectually significant buildings were lost, not to mention a whole community. If there's too much rot, then other rust belt cities will be vulnerable to these same destructive tactics.