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Everything posted by desreb

  1. Hi all, I’m moving to Sydney in 4 months, and said that I’d buy myself a new bike when I moved. I like cycling, am technically a MAMIL, but am not particularly into bikes any more than being something I can get a bit of exercise on and pop to the shops without having to worry about parking. Having said that, most of my fellow riders spend £1000s a year on kit, and so I’m thinking of treating myself to something half decent that makes the experience more enjoyable. So, the question is - do I buy in the UK, or AU? I was going to buy in AU, but if the saving on buying in the UK and shipping is sizeable, then it could be worth adding it to our container. On the flip side is the question of warranty and vendor support over there. Has anyone does this, and how much did it save you? Many thanks, Damo
  2. Hi, We're currently looking for areas and rentals around Newport/Bilgola, and I was wondering what the local issues and future developments might be. Discussion forums are always the best place for this kind of info, so I was wondering if anyone is aware of any for residents in this area? I'm aware of Northern Beaches Mums on Facebook, and also Northern Beaches Poms - but I don't necessarily have to restrict to Mums or Poms D
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. We’re moving to Sydney next week, and starting to panic about house rentals. Basically, we’ve set our heart on Newport/Bilgola, and Bilgola Plateau primary. We’ve targeted the area since we visited a while ago and loved it, and since I work from home, the distance from the city isn’t too concerning. We intend to rent for a year to find our feet and familiarise ourselves, and then buy. However - there are just no rentals turning up there. I guess it’s to be expected - settled community, too far out of the city for much of a transient population, not much new build for investment properties to rent out... But it leaves us in a situation where we visited the area and school last year, met the head teacher, had a tour, thought it was great - but may not actually get into the catchment area before the start of the school year as there are barely one or two new properties on the rental market every week. We do have our heart set there, and I wonder if anyone can offer any tips for getting into the catchment area? I know in London people do things like rent a flat for a year, get their kid in, then move out. I guess we could do a similar thing. We do intend to buy in that area and be part of that community, but unfortunately the moral justification isn’t enough in itself, and we have limited time. Any tips would be welcome. Also, for proof of address, is it simply a case of presenting a utility bill for the property, or do you have to provide something more substantial? Many thanks, D
  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. 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
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?
  12. 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
  13. We’re moving to Oz permanently, but will likely keep UK mobiles for whenever we go back to UK, and for those tailing-off services like text codes for HMRC, some services we used to use, etc. Does anyone have any recommendations? I see many only need you to send a text or call once every 6 months to keep active. ASDA seems to keep your number for a year (but lock it after 6 months and drop your credit after 9). Three seems to allow “Go Roam” which gives free SMS receiving when in Oz, but will block your account after two months continuously abroad, which would count them out. Many thanks, D
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. desreb

    Australia’s Property Crash

    Like many of us here :-)
  17. desreb

    Australia’s Property Crash

    There was recently (last week) a 7.30 series of stories about the market. Interestingly, the conclusion at the end of episode 3 was that Australia may need to accept the cultural change to a nation of renters, rather than suggesting that the market needs to crash down to the previous trends. Interesting perspective from an ABC show.
  18. desreb

    Trust in Police

    When I was at the AirBnB in the process of moving UK>AU last week, I ended up chatting to a Met police officer for about 20 minutes. (He was actually coming to investigate a burglary at our AirBnB, which was reassuring ). Anyway, we had a good chat about the state of policing and underfunding in the UK, and I mentioned I was going to Australia. His reaction was interesting: "Heh, watch out you don't get shot by them!". I found it interesting because based on popular culture and recent news, you might have that preconception about the US, say, but not Australia. It also flagged one of the few things I still take some pride in - the British bobbie. Aside from this guy I was talking to, I've taking training from police officers in Birmingham, and have a friend who's a London Met sergeant. They each had a overwhelming sense of service to the public, a pathological fear of corruption, and angst and frustration around their inability to do much because of the budget cuts. (He said they can't now attend non-violent burglaries in London due to staff shortages). Compare to Australia. I've only had a few interactions with Aussie police - one let me off a speeding fine in WA, another stopped me for a red light pass in Inner West Sydney (I was waiting over the line). There was news on them goading motorbikers into going over white lines through reckless driving of unmarked cars in the national parks. And I once chatted to an AFP police officer who admitted to me that he can drink-drive home, and flash his badge to avoid a test if he's stopped - something that would get you dismissed in the UK. There's also a stat I saw a while back that only one NSW or AU police officer was ever investigated or charged for shooting a suspect in 25 years(?), which was way below the sheer probability of some of those shootings being unwarranted. Unsure where I saw that. So.. I was wondering... what are people's regard of Australian police? Are things not as good as they should be? Are they getting better or worse? D
  19. desreb

    Trust in Police

    Well, that’s not a good sign!!
  20. Welcome to 'Straylia Bilgola seems to have a more local feel and better provisions/understanding of SEND kids, which is why we favour it - but we also want the Newport buzz & cafes, and admittedly that would split us between two communities. Newport Public's pretty good, for sure - looks like we may end up there.
  21. desreb

    Where to live in Sydney for beach and commute

    I'm interested in your choice in Bilgola; we're looking at it at the moment. Why did you choose there? D
  22. Hi all, We’re moving back to Sydney around Christmas, and are wondering whether there are times which we should avoid for moving. For example, in looking for a rental property, do rentals tend not to come up much in December, or January, or over the Christmas break? Or is it a good time to look for rentals? Many thanks, Damo
  23. desreb

    Finding rental over Christmas

    Well, we went for our first look yesterday. 4 inspections in Newport, none available in Bilgola. Interestingly, the LJH agent - not sure if the same one as below - again told us that it’s their busiest time of year, and they hardly get any time on holiday. So - although we found one ok option yesterday, we’re considering keeping looking for someone more appropriate. D
  24. desreb

    Australia’s Property Crash

    I’m biased towards the bearish side on the market. We visited Newport last year, and were told at prices had come off 10% at that point. At the time there wasn’t really a consensus that it was anything other than a temporary blip, but in a year sentiment has gone from that, to whether it’s a major correction or even a crash. I get the impression prices are off further than anyone likes to admit. You have all these measures to prevent people admitting actual sale prices - auctions passing through, houses selling under private treaty before auction, prices being quoted in a range, official stats having a lag due to moving average values. I read Propertychat forums a lot, and they point out that the Corelogic figures are a 12 month moving average trend, so if they say prices are 10% below peak, that means they were that perhaps six months ago, and it sounds like things have steepened downwards since then. I for one intend to sit things out for another year. That will allow time for the moving average stats to be fully digested, for investors and new buyers to have come to terms with things and start to have made their moves, for the federal election and any initial market response to a Labour win, and also mean less distance to fall from whatever prices are by then, to the long term average in relation to wages growth - if we assume that’s a fairly hard floor unless things really go pear shaped. D
  25. Hi all, We’ve been in country for a few days now, and spent today on viewings. There’s nothing at all in Bilgola, it’s just a very static community, and the intake area (Aussie version of catchment area) is very small. However - we read in the NSW schools guide that the schools have discretion. They must accept pupils from the marked area but they can optionally accept pupils from the area outside. Hence we could potentially live in Newport and go to school in Bilgola, if the school accepted it. We spoke to the school, and they said that they pretty much don’t have capacity for anyone outside their mandated area. However - they said that some people do rent AirBnBs for the enrolment day, and then move out after! This to me seems quite surprising - not just that the school recommends a way to circumvent their process, but also that you could get an artefact to demonstrate residence from an AirBnB. Normally this would be a tenancy agreement or utility bill, none of which you’d get from an AirBnB. Does anyone have any info on how this works? It’s something I guess we could do, but it seems like it wouldn’t work. D