Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Most expensive credit cards

Thanks to high unemployment and rising personal bankruptcies, banks in the credit card business suffered their first losses in decades last year. But bankers need not fret. The rich still love their plastic, and banks are ready to soak them for all they're worth with an array of elite cards--keys to exclusive and expensive privileges most working stiffs can only dream about.Appealing to James Bond wannabes, they come with high annual fees and minimum spending requirements north of $250,000.

They can be used to secure a private jet, rent a yacht at a moment's notice or drop in the VIP tent at the Monaco Grand Prix. Even the cards themselves are different, made with titanium or carbon or embedded with diamond chips.It isn't that the rich are spending that much more than the rest of us. The top 1% of wealthy Americans account for just 4% of all card spending, according to Tower Group research.

This group includes 2 million households with more than $1 million. But they stand a much better chance of being profitable for banks and card companies compared with the mass market. Super elite cards go only to borrowers with stellar credit, easing capital requirements and fear of losses.

"It's the only segment banks have the nerve to market to this year," says Dennis Moroney, a Tower Group consultant.Because high-end card holders have to have top credit scores, banks charge them relatively lower annual interest rates on revolving balances, in the range of 12% to 13%, compared with the trend toward higher rates for mass-market cards, which for many has jumped from the mid-teens to over 20%, says Moroney.The most recognized super elite brand:

American Express and its Centurion Card, aka The Black Card. The company won't reveal many details about the invitation-only program, giving rise to websites like luxuryplastic.com that have an almost slavish devotion to Black Card lore.

The annual spending minimum is said to be $250,000. Amex will only say the annual fee is $2,500 and the fee to open the account is $5,000.Rivals have tried with varying degrees of success to compete with the Centurion card. Coutts & Co., a private bank division of Royal Bank of Scotland that only bothers with the crustiest of the upper crust has a few hundred invitation only purple card customers, said to include Queen Elizabeth II.

A Santa Barbara, Calif., company called Stratus has an invitation-only White Card program it is getting ready to introduce in Europe through a major Swiss bank.Citigroup and Bank of America offer high-end cards through their private banking and private client businesses, offering perks for international travel, full-time concierge service, and rewards for purchases. Citi's Ultima card, which is only offered in Asia, advertises perks like exclusive one-day use of a 80-foot luxury Ferretti yacht; 48-hour use of a Maserati 4200 Spyder; and access to a chauffer-driven Bentley limousine throughout the day. The Citibank Chairman's Card currently offers reduced fees and flight time credits for Marquis Jet/Luxury Private Jet Services and complimentary breakfast for two and room upgrades at Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, Fairmont Hotels and others

The Visa Infinite is issued outside the U.S., offering a variety of concierge and travel insurance, assistance perks, shopping and cultural event discounts. South African cardholders currently are being offered a trip through wine country with a noted wine maker. U.K. cardholders are being offered 20% off the penthouse at a boutique Covent Garden hotel.

The Black Visa card, offered though Barclays, is available to just 1% of U.S. residents "to ensure the highest caliber of personal service is provided to every cardmember," according to its website. The fee, $495, is comparably lower than Centurion. Barclays boasts the card is made with carbon and is "guaranteed to get you noticed." Or mugged, maybe.

The trend will likely grow as banks continue to feel pressure from card lending. Average outstanding balances overall are down 12% in December alone, Tower Group says. Delinquencies are rising, up to 6% of loans, while charge-off rates are approaching 10%. An estimated $3.6 trillion worth of credit will sit unused this year. Banks are raising rates and pulling in credit lines, in some cases canceling cards for borrowers who fall behind. For the first time since the 1980s banks lost money last year on credit cards. In 2009 return on assets for the 23 largest card issuers was a negative 0.29%.

Beyond that, new accounting rules changed the way banks package and sell credit card loans in bundles called securitisations, an activity that has been slow to restart since the depths of the financial crisis. Banks now have to hold more capital against credit card loans and have to retain more loans on their books, a risky business considering delinquency trends. That makes prime borrowers all the more attractive.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Bugatti Veyron Price 16.4 Grand Sport | Most Expensive Car

2010 Bugatti Veyron Price 16.4 Grand Sport | Most Expensive Car. The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is the most recent version of a mid-engined full-sized grand tourer developed by the German car-manufacturer Volkswagen and produced by the Volkswagen-brand Bugatti Automobiles SAS at their headquarters in Ch√Ęteau St. Jean in Molsheim (Alsace, France), and whose production and development is often credited to Ferdinand Karl Piech.

It is named after French racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti company. It was named "Car Of The Decade" by the BBC television program Top Gear.

This is by far the most expensive street legal car available on the market today. It is the fastest accelerating car reaching 0-60 in 2.6 seconds. It claims to be the fastest car with a top speed of 253 mph+. However, the title for the fastest car goes to the SSC Ultimate Aero which exceed 253 mph pushing this car to 2nd place for the fastest car.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

The most expensive Old Master painting


Frans Francken's opulent canvas of heaven and hell, Man Choosing between Virtue and Vice became a triumphant success when sold.

At €7,022,300. The result signifies the highest price ever achieved by an Old Master painting at auction in Austria and a new world record price for this artist.

he winner of the dramatic bidding contest was the London Old Masters Dealer, Johnny Van Haeften. In his museum-quality painting, Frans Francken II (Antwerp 1581-1642) depicts - with consummate skill.

The struggle of the human soul torn between virtue and vice on its journey to heaven or hell.Francken's exceptionally large and many-figured composition gives inspired form to a marriage between ancient mythology and Christian salvation myth.

After decades in a German private collection, the painting is considered to be the re-discovered main work by this scion of a dynasty of Flemish painters whose works already grace some of the world's major museums. The singular auction success at Dorotheum did not come entirely unexpectedly as the painting had generated considerable international interest and bidder anticipation in advance of the event itself.
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bank crisis cost 'among most expensive'

Goodbody Stockbrokers has raised its forecast for Irish economic growth next year, though it still expects the economy to shrink by 1% this year. The stockbroker's latest forecast sees the economy growing by 2.8% in 2011, up from a previous forecast of 2.4%, due mainly to stronger exports.

Goodbody does not expect a recovery in domestic demand until next year, as job losses and lower wages affect consumer spending.The report also says that the cost to the State of the banking crisis will be among the most expensive of any developed economy.

Goodbody says recent banking measures will ensure a more stable banking system, but at an enormous cost of around €33 billion to the taxpayer. It says this figure amounted to 20% of economic output, 'significantly more' than it had previously estimated. The report says the average cost of banking crises in developed economies over the past 40 years was 11% of output.

The report, by economist Dermot O'Leary, says there is no sign yet of an improvement in the housing market. He expects 12,000 new homes to be built this year, falling to below 10,000 next year for the first time in more than 45 years. The report estimates that there are 287,000 vacant homes, a national average of 15%. But it says the figure for Greater Dublin is 10.7%, whereas for the Border counties it is almost 20%.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Loving Apple is Getting Expensive

Apple is a great brand. They were the first to put out a music player (the iPod) that really hit the mainstream. The iPhone was the first smartphone to offer the amazing touchscreen, apps and rotating display that people are starting to expect from their cell phones today. And Macs are arguably the best computers on the market.

But there’s a problem with the fact that Apple is so great. The problem is that they just keep making great stuff and it can become very easy to spend too much money on things that you might not need just because Apple is making them.

Apple’s Newest Products Apple has gone crazy lately with releases and announcements about new products. The iPad is the big new product that everyone is talking about.

Cheaper than a laptop but more expensive than an iPhone, this little tablet offers you the chance to view videos and enjoy gaming anytime right at your fingertips. The iPad was barely released in the United States when Apple made some big announcements about huge changes to the iPhone 4 OS. The new OS for the iPhone offers major changes that iPhone fans are going to want to have. And then there’s the brand new Macbook from Apple that followed immediately on the heels of the OS announcement.

There’s nothing wrong with Apple trying to put out the latest and hottest new technology. There’s nothing wrong with the company releasing item after item in order to dominate a market that is finally starting to experience some real competition. But it can be way too easy to get wrapped up in the hype surrounding these frequent new releases. Today you want an expensive iPad. Tomorrow you’re thinking maybe you need to upgrade to the new Macbook. And then this summer you might want to get a brand new iPhone so that you can take advantage of all of the features of the new OS. None of these things are cheap and they add up quickly.

Products Become Outdated before their Price Declines

The biggest problem for consumers with these constant rapid releases is that you never have a chance to purchase Apple products at a low cost. With many other types of technology, the price point goes down after the initial hype. For example, when DVD players first came out they were prohibitively expensive but now they’re available at a low cost for everyone. Likewise, 3D televisions are likely to be released at a high price but to drop quickly as competition enters the market. In contrast, Apple products change so much from one version to the other that you don’t want to pay for the outdated product.

A great example is the iPhone 2 OS. It’s a great phone. However, it can’t be upgraded to the full OS 4 version when that’s released. This means that you can go ahead and pay a lower price for someone’s used iPhone 2 OS but you won’t have the things that you want. By the time that OS 4 starts to drop in price, OS 5 will be released. This makes it difficult to ever get a bargain on older Apple products that makes it worth getting the older product.

Apps are Adding Up

Another big issue that we have to pay attention to as frugal consumers is the cost of apps and downloads. It’s really easy to access Apple apps. They’re increasingly popular these days for not only the iPhone but also for the new iPad. Although there are many free apps, there are also a lot of apps that you pay money for. The price can seem low but when you spend a little bit here and a little bit there and you’re constantly downloading new apps, that cost adds up. Plus not all apps are cheap. In fact, some are quite expensive. If you were to purchase the 5 most expensive iPad apps right now, you’d spend over £1100 ($1750).
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The World's Most Expensive Inexpensive Bible

Our friend, Maurice Earp, bookslinger at Blackwell Rare Books in the U.K., enjoys sending reports of bizarrely priced books found on Advanced Book Exchange (ABE).

I love receiving them yet I never know whether to laugh, cry, or call the book police. This is a job for Tombstone's favorite sheriff, Wyatt Earp, with whom Maurice shares nothing but surname and sharp aim.

Today's episode of Have You Lost Your Mind? concerns the the large-print edition of the Life Application Study Bible NLT, published by Tyndale House in 2009.

On ABE-UK, there are seven copies being offered by the same dealer, Beagle Books, of Milpitas, CA, USA. Act now, and a copy can be yours for only £66,989.21 ($103,292.55). Plus £3.25 ($5) for shipping.

At that price you figure they'd let the shipping cost slide but no. Holy Bible, Batman! It's a $30-$50 book in good to very good condition.

But, as always, a premium must be paid for fine/as new copies, hence the dramatic price for the Beagle copies. This beagle must have smelled a potential bonanza and bought a bunch of new copies.

When this edition of the bible was originally published - one year ago. Shrewd move. Or, perhaps, screwed move. Five years ago I had a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible pass through my hands. It was priced at $60,000. Here, you get the whole bible for a bit less than twice that amount. It's a deal of biblical proportions! Another dealer on ABE-UK, Michael Hollan, of St. Petersberg, Florida, USA, is offering another copy of this edition for the exact same price. It, too, is a new copy.

The other three copies being offered are, alas, in merely good to very good condition and are priced accordingly - $30-$50.

I suspect a data upload error to be the culprit. The days of rare book dealer as buccaneer are long gone. (The establishment of trade organizations like ABA, ABAA and ILAB put a halt to diabolical practices like irrational, stratospheric prices to harpoon the unwary and thus made the world safer for collectors).

Here's hoping someone at Beagle Books, Michael Hollan Books, or ABE-UK wakes up and fixes this. Insane prices do not inspire confidence in buyers. Not so by the way, new copies can be bought directly from Tyndale House for $69.99. There is a God.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

The top 10 most expensive places to rent

Somebody needs to tell the rental market that Britain is only just on the road to recovery and that growth is supposed to be slow and sustained. Because in some parts of the country, That’s according to flatsharing website spareroom.co.uk, which says that room rental costs, and their movement in the last 12 months, vary drastically depending on where you live.

Those flatsharing in Sunderland will have been thrilled to have seen average monthly house and flatsharing rents drop by a massive 13.5% in the last year, for example. While private renters in Stroke are not so lucky, having faced rent hikes of 11.3% in the last year. The runners and riders.

Second only to Stoke in the rising rents league is Telford in Shropshire, where room rents increased by 10.8% in the last 12 months. Below are the 10 towns and cities to have seen the largest rises, noting the current monthly rent compared to last year’s figure.What’s interesting about this list is that half of the top 10 towns are in the North of England, where average monthly room rents increased by 1.5% over the past 12 months. And there are no towns or cities from the south of England - average monthly room rents in the region rose by just 0.6% in the past year.

So rents are rising fastest in the North right?

Well, what is even more interesting is that when you look at the 10 towns and cities to have seen the biggest falls in monthly room rents, that table is also dominated by the North. If anything the North is seeing more volatility in rents, while rental income is more stable in many parts of the South.Time to let?

If you have a spare room in your house the figures above may well tempt you to consider taking in a lodger. Indeed the money you bring in can go a long way towards paying your mortgage.
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cubs Tickets Most Expensive in MLB

Numbers released Wednesday by Team Market Report show the Cubs beat out the Boston Red Sox for the priciest ticket in baseball, at $52.56. That's nearly twice the average Major League Baseball ticket price of $26.74. The report shows Cubs ticket prices have jumped more than 10 percent since last season, the second highest increase in the league.

It says a day a Wrigley for a family of four this season will cost about $330. That includes food and concessions. White Sox tickets, meanwhile, cost about $39 a piece. A family outing runs about $250, according to the report. The Cubs' home opener is scheduled for Monday afternoon, against Milwaukee.
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Friday, April 9, 2010

World`s most expensive Computer Mouse: Have a look

Can you guess the name of the World’s Most Expensive Computer Mouse? If you are thinking some technical name, then you are no where near. Interestingly, it is World’s Most Expensive Computer Mouse only.

It comprises of 18-karat white gold studded with 59 brilliant cut diamonds. If you go at the looks, you will not find anything extravagant.

The base is just like an ordinary mouse, which has few rare gems embedded in it. However, the presence of diamond matters and therefore it costs $26,730.

This innovative mouse is built by a Swiss manufacturer- Pat Says Now. This mouse is being advertised as a perfect gift for.

A 60th wedding anniversary (as diamond is the traditional gift for this event) and great choice for a 50th wedding anniversary (as Gold is the traditional gift for this event).

The World’s Most Expensive Computer Mouse comes in two designs- “Diamond Flower” designs and the “Scattered Diamond” design. Now, it is up to you, whether you want to buy the World’s Most Expensive Computer Mouse or a nice car within that range.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bishan maisonette could be most expensive HDB flat in Singapore

DID you ever think that an HDB flat could fetch $1 million? Well, it looks like prices are inching closer to that mark.At least for a choice unit in Bishan. A Singaporean couple, who own a rare Bishan executive maisonette with a roof terrace, have asked for a staggering $950,000 for the 1,860 sq ft flat, according to a Lianhe Zaobao article yesterday.

The HDB valuation for the unit is about $730,000. That means the sellers are asking for cash over valuation (COV) of $220,000. It was also reported that a buyer has offered $900,000 for the flat. That will make it the highest ever transacted price for an HDB flat, if the deal goes through. Prices of HDB flats reached a record high in 2008 when a 1,614 sq ft executive unit in Queenstown was sold for $890,000.

The interested buyer for the Bishan flat - a 45-year-old Singaporean businessman - is willing to pay COV of about $170,000 for the 18-year-old flat. The flat is in Block 286, Bishan Street 24, and boasts an unobstructed view of the estate.

There are only about 50 rooftop penthouses with open terraces in Bishan. The New Paper understands that the owners of the flat are still considering the offer.

The ERA agent who is handling the sale said the owners are currently working in Hong Kong.

They had bought the flat some 10 years ago for $750,000 and had renovated it.

The agent told Lianhe Zaobao that he put the unit up for sale on a website 10 days ago, but response was poor.

He got only five enquires and only one prospective buyer made arrangements to view the flat, according to the report.

But a few days later, the businessman viewed the flat twice and made the offer of $900,000.

The agent said the businessman and his family have been living in a rental apartment for the past year and want to settle down in a flat.

The agent, when contacted, declined to comment further saying it's not a done deal yet.

Resale flat prices have hit their highest level since 1990, when the HDB started tracking them through a quarterly index, The Straits Times reported last week.

Does this mean a $1 million flat sale is just around the corner?

Property agents think it's unlikely. Mr Eric Cheng, chief executive of ECG Property, said the Bishan maisonette can command a premium price because such units are rare and the location is good.

Million-dollar mark?

But he said: 'Generally, most HDB flats will not go beyond $750,000. I doubt any flats will cross the $1 million mark, at least not for the next two to three years.

'For $1 million, one can buy a condo unit, or even a small landed property in the Sin Ming area. The valuation for a top-end HDB flat is around $700,000, and who can cough up the $200,000 (COV)?'

C&H Realty managing director Albert Lu also thinks it's unlikely that any HDB flats will cross the $1 million mark any time soon.

He said: 'I think the $1 million mark will take a while to reach. HDB prices may rise, but not so fast.

'Will people pay $1 million for a flat' For $800,000 today, one can buy a private property, although smaller and not in such a central location.'
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