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About desreb

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  1. desreb

    Living in Newport / Bilgola

    Many people would kill to commute to a real office these days :-). Joking aside, the move to Avalon has been lucky timing with Covid. Companies accept WFH where possible, and people are keen to move out to whether they can work remotely and have more space to enjoy. Every house here is being snapped up right now, selling far above reserve. I’ve been to the office precisely once this year, and the rest of the time I’ve been in the home office. Things will go back to normal to some extent, but WFH is generally more accepted. Once you do need to go into the office, the B-Line is great for zoning out or focusing on work while travelling as you are almost guaranteed a seat and it’s a solid 70 minutes journey. But problems are the time to get to the B-line terminus, especially if the on-demand Keoride is a long wait, and the fact that if you’re running late you have zero other options - even a taxi will be little faster.
  2. desreb

    Living in Newport / Bilgola

    Yes, they have a "first aid plus" centre at Mona Vale, with the ability to handle basic resus, cardiac, broken bones, etc. but for anything more complicated requiring ICU, etc it's French's Forest. I've not had to use it myself, but chatter on FB suggests that the ambulance has been fast and care swift when you get there - generally suggesting the complaints are on principal rather than in practice, on the urgent care side. Someone did raise the good point of "what about when it rains heavily", as the Narrabean lakes flood, close the direct road there, and then you have to go the long way around - maybe 40mins at best There were separate concerns about care and resourcing in general there for certain types of longer term care, including a Herald story, which I've not looked at recently. The latter will affect anywhere you live in N Beaches north of, say, Dee Why. The former issue is something that seems valid, but that I've not seen transpire yet.
  3. desreb

    Living in Newport / Bilgola

    It was - we were on the north slope and the view of West head to the ocean plus all of Pittwater north of Clareville was amazing. We’ve just bought in Avalon Beach with views of Careel Bay, and that’s our “forever home”. After 8 moves in 7 years, including three to/from/to Oz, we finally settled, just in time for Christmas. End of an era. Start of another. D
  4. desreb

    Living in Newport / Bilgola

    Thanks! We moved here two weeks ago and are now living in Bilgola Plateau. You're right about the transport - I mainly work from home, with some (expensible) travel to airport and city, so I accepted that on the basis that I won't have to go in so often. I did see that the Newport Resident's association had blocked the B-Line, and I was confused as to why, as I had seen Newport as a good option a couple of years ago on the basis that there were plans to extend it here. It took some digging, but it seemed that in Mona Vale, after extending the B-Line, they started re-zoning residential areas from 2 to 4 story, so as to be able to build higher apartments to accommodate the larger demand for residential property as a result of the improved feasibility of commuting to the city. I suspect that might be a slightly biased viewpoint by those against, but you can see that those who live in the area want to, well, keep it for themselves!, and evidently they won that one. They would also have changed the beach carpark into a commuters car park, and you can definitely see the lack of appeal of that happening. So, for the moment, they have the B-Line to Newport, which is indeed more comfortable than a normal bus for such a long commute, and almost possible to work on the top with a small laptop, headphones, and some determination. The B-Line gets you to/from Mona Vale, and then you get a Keoride (like state-run Uber) to your house for a flat $3.10, which is basically awesome! Unless you arrive after they stop running.... or there's a 20min wait as opposed to the more usual 5 minute... or it's raining... or they don't renew the 6-month trial of the service... you get the picture.
  5. desreb

    Electricity in NSW / Oz

    Could someone remind me how the electricity market works in Australia? I remember when I was last here a few years ago that in NSW there was typically the same rate quoted by many providers, and the only differentiator was a few percent off for dual fuel or direct debit. Now, I’m seeing claims of 20-30% off for some providers, off some unseen rate, while others say “just low rates” and quote their own. Also, how about smart meters. I think ours is dual-rate, but it seems hard to find dual rate tariffs quoted on these sites. I did see the ServiceNSW ratefinder, but it needs a bill to analyse for our usage, which we don’t have as we’re moving into a new house. Thanks! Damo
  6. Well, we found a rental on Bilgola Plateau that’s well within the intake area, so it’s all good. However, I think I can see how you would fake it easily enough. I just applied to move my drivers licence, and there was no request for proof of residence, so I’ll have a licence at my new address soon. I would still expect them to want to see a utility bill, but maybe they don’t.
  7. Yes. MSE did a review where they said only a few people in the world can actually do the statistical analysis to determine what the average returns would be, due to the complexity of the maths. But I invested all my house sale proceeds in premium bonds while in the UK, and received just over the promised 1.4% because of an early 'good month' where I won a little more than average. I created a quick spreadsheet to track monthly winnings and compare them to the promised return, and was something like 0.2% ahead when I closed them. Given I was a higher rate taxpayer, the returns on the full amount with HMRC backing was better than any taxed saving account, and second only to an ISA with a promotional rate (which had total amount limits).
  8. I can only hope the grandparents contribute that much. It does make sense compared to their current investment. I assume we still need to declare the investments.
  9. The other question is still whether kids can hold them, and whether they would be taxed on them if within the usual kids’ account thresholds.
  10. I guess the difference is one has a net rate of return, while Lotto’s have a net rate of loss. It is still determined by chance, albeit with quite thin margins of probability. Has there ever been a finding or test case for this?
  11. desreb

    Australia’s Property Crash

    They do talk about “markets within markets” in Syd/Mel as a warning that in effect only the undesirable/investor-centric areas are dropping heavily, and the N Beaches / E Suburbs are unscathed, but I do wonder... There was an ABC website feature the other day on “what I wish I knew as a first time buyer”, and the author noted that the bank happily offered him a mortgage with repayments that were twice what he could afford to pay, despite having performed an affordability assessment. This was recently, during the APRA tightening and royal commission into the banks’ lending practices. At the same time, a rental forum I follow is grumbling that APRA are killing the market and economy by restricting Interest-only proportions and enforcing strict affordability criteria. Corelogic, whose stats led to the headlines of huge drops last month, also blamed primarily “lack of credit” for the drop, rather than “cautious buyers not wanting to lose money”, as if people should keep borrowing $800,000 for an average house. Hang on... isn’t this Prudent behaviour? That is literally their middle name! Why let people borrow what they can’t afford? I’m seeing posts about the stability of the Aussie housing market overall pointing out that most homeowners are owner-occupiers and couldn’t really care how rich their house makes them, as they just live in it and call it home. On the flip slide, I’m also seeing posts about this irresponsible lending, the tip of the iceberg, 1.4% drops this month and a current rate of decline of 20% a year (in Sydney, extrapolating this month’s data, rightly or wrongly). Whichever you subscribe to, most seem to be playing wait and see for a year, including us. If prices do drop another 10%, that’s $100,000 loss on an average $1m home. So, we’re currently paying $52,000 a year rent on a $2.2m home, and we get repairs, rates, maintenance, etc included. If we wait a year and the above 10% drop happens, we’ll have $50,000 more in assets than we would have had, and be able to afford a slightly larger house when we do buy. D
  12. I’m considering putting some UK funds into premium bonds. Since these return 1.4% for larger amounts and are backed by HMRC, they’re not a terrible place to store cash given the tiny lotto buzz of potentially winning £1m into the bargain. They’re also a great way for grandparents to contribute savings to the grandkids; well, shares or property are better, but currently they’re putting them in a current account, which is worse, and what UK grandparent doesn’t understand premium bonds?? However, if I’m Australian tax resident, who probably don’t recognise foreign tax agency concessions such as this, would any winnings be taxed? Looking at ATO, they say that prize winnings such as lottos are not taxed. This would seem to include Premium Bonds? D
  13. desreb

    Best UK mobile for keeping while in Oz

    Yeah; we had the shippers complain they had tried to contact us several times. True that it’s rarely needed, but it’s always something important where you find they’ve been leaving you voicemails and it’s your fault you didn’t listen to them. Ordered 2 free SIMs on Voda easy as.
  14. desreb

    Best UK mobile for keeping while in Oz

    Thanks! I checked them out - luckily I have an unregistered free SIM card with them already. However, I contacted them on Twitter and they say they don't do call forwarding. That's pretty useful in case someone who's unaware we're in Australia or who can't call our Australian number (often UK Gov services, etc) want to get hold of us. Carrying a second phone with the SIM to check occasionally is a hassle, so what I did was register a SkypeIn number in the UK, and then divert the UK mobiles to that, and it would ring Skype on my AU phone or laptop. Virgin (wife's current contract) also don't do call forwarding, so for the moment I'll get a free Vodafone SIM sent to the grandparents for when they come out in Feb, and move her contract to Voda once I get the SIM. D
  15. desreb

    Australia’s Property Crash

    Like many of us here :-)