REPORT FROM LONDON

firsthomebuyer

We spent a week in London before leaving for our cruise and it remains one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. As we all know the papers are full of doom and gloom but you wouldn’t know it visiting here. The streets are packed with people, the shops are doing a great trade and for the week we were there the weather was perfect.

What does amaze us is the price of everything. We are staying in Mayfair with real estate agencies advertising properties to rent for £25,000 a week. This is not a misprint. And if you are thinking of looking at one you need to pay them £42 for a reference check!

It’s a trap when you go out to eat because the prices appear the same as at home in Australia. A good bottle of wine may be 70, and a main course 45 but understand that these prices are in pounds not dollars which doubles the price on top of which you are required to pay VAT of 20% and service of at least 12.5%.

It’s interesting to think about the housing market here. Because of the world wide drop in interest rates foreign investors have been buying up property all throughout London. The result has been a surge in prices with most first home buyers locked out of the market. Does that remind you of Australia?

We flew over with Ethiad whose aircraft have great Wi-Fi. I was in flight when the budget was being handed down which meant I was able to follow it even though I was 35,000 feet above the ground. It makes the time go much quicker when you can work on your laptop as you fly.

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