Ridiculously Priced Property Highlights Inherent Problems in London Housing Market
There are a great deals of stories in the news at the moment about out of control house prices. This is especially true of property in London. Recently released Land Registry data shows that house prices in the capital rose by 4.2%, which equates to £17 645. That’s £588 a day!
With prices so high and space at a premium, a situation has arisen whereby people seem willing to pay astonishing amounts for properties which, were they not located in areas without such high levels of demand, would be lucky to get looked at twice…by anyone. Below, we take a look at some of the ridiculously priced property that have recently been marketed, highlighting how far out of touch prices in the capital have become with the rest of the country.
This month, a studio flat, barely worthy of the name, in Kember Street, King’s Cross, North London, was snapped up only 15 hours after going on the market. An advert for the “modern studio apartment”, in which it is not just possible, but advisable, to cook without leaving the single bed that dominates the entire flat, had to be removed because the company marketing it received a number of abusive calls. Despite this, the property is believed to have been rented out for the princely sum of £170 per week. While this is significantly lower than the £444 average rental costs in the N1 area; it seems somewhat overpriced when one considers that a 3 bedroom detached house in Maidstone, a mere 40 miles away, with gardens to the front and back can be rented for the same amount.
Were this an isolated incident, it could be dismissed as a sign of the avarice of local landlords. But the fact is that this is the latest in an ever increasingly long line of stories about ridiculously priced property that have hit the news recently.
Several people expressed interest in a similarly sized flat that went on the rental market in Earls Court Road last month. The landlord was looking for a monthly rent of £563 on the South West London property, which came with a bed, sink, two radiators, a fully ‘stacked’ kitchen, a shower and double glazing. The problem was that all of this was crammed into a room so small it would give an escapologist claustrophobia. What’s more, the property was supplied without a toilet!
The sales market in London seems to be no better than the rentals sector at present. A lawn in Chelsea, which not only lacked planning permission, but not even grant its purchaser right of way, was sold by Savills for a staggering £84 000 last month. The lawn measured 55ft x 40 ft, meaning the land was valued at an incredible £1.68m per acre.
Christopher Coleman-Smith, director of national auctions for prestigious property company Savills, justified the astronomical price tag by pointing out that: “little bits of London like that are in scarce supply…”
If areas of lawn are in scant supply in Central London, parking spaces are probably even more scarce. As a consequence of this, recent sales across the capital have proved that some people are willing to pay silly money for places to park their pride and joy.
A pair of underground parking spaces in Kensington recently changed hands for the princely sum of £400 000, which works out at a staggering 15 times the national average wage and equates to more than double the average cost of buying a home in the UK.
Yet even the exorbitant cost of these spaces near the Royal Albert Hall pales in comparison to the £550 000 a private bidder recently paid for a brick built garage in Camberwell. At over £1 000 per sq², the garage, which until recently housed the mayor of Southwark’s car, is crammed into an alleyway beside a former suitcase factory in the southeast of the capital. The former coach house is believed to be the most expensive garage in the country.
London’s parking place premium was further evidenced by the recent sale of six dilapidated garages near Elmar Court in Parsons Green, West London for an eye-watering £700 000. A spokesman for Auction House London, who marketed the ramshackle garages in Fulham, said that the reserve placed on the sale had already been set above the guide price at £80 000. Having received a great deal of interest before the garages came to auction, the auctioneers expected bids to stretch somewhere toward the £200 000 mark. However, everyone was surprised when the garages eventually went for around four times the average UK house price.
Some would argue that buying a garage or garden in London could be viewed as financially savvy as, even though the examples listed above were sold without planning permission, were the owners able to secure the right to build in the future the value of their purchases would skyrocket.
However planning permission will never be an option for another example of ridiculously priced property that hit the London market recently. In October of last year a WC in a prestigious area of West London hit the market with an asking price of £150 000. The tiny toilet, squeezed between two floors of a commercial building in Kensington High Street, opposite Kensington Palace Gardens, appears to have been priced solely on the basis of its location. This is manifest in the fact that for the same amount of money one could purchase a substantially sized flat in other areas of London, or, perhaps even more astoundingly, a three bedroom villa with its own swimming pool in Andalusia on the Costa Del Sol.
Perhaps the most extreme example of the lengths people will go to to secure a London address was provided by an advert for a “cute little loft conversion” placed on Gumtree in January of this year. Dwarfed by the massive prices for some of the properties described above, the £40 a week requested for the Zone One property appeared to be somewhat of a steal. That is until one examined the details of the property a little more closely.
It transpired that the accommodation would have made Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive seem like a palace. Though the address in Paddington was attractive, the ‘property’ itself, which was in fact a tiny storage cupboard, was far less so. The advert advised that it was impossible to “stand upright in the room” and that the rental would suit “someone less than 5’4 tall and with no history of claustrophobia”. Perhaps because the cupboard was located in someone else’s room, the landlords were perhaps not unreasonable in stating that they would “not tolerate noise at night”. Still, while there was no light or room to sit up in the cupboard, at least you would be sleeping right next to the hot water tank, so you wouldn’t have to worry about getting cold at night. Let’s hope this particular advert is an exercise in satire.
If you think the mammoth prices property sales in London are currently achieving makes this the right time to sell your home and move somewhere that provides more home for your cash, why not contact National Homebuyers? We are a national quick house sale company who maintain a local presence in many areas across the country. We buy houses ourselves, thus eliminating all the stresses that can arise from being involved in a long and complicated property chain and allowing you to sell your home fast. What’s more, we buy any house, regardless of condition or location. So, if you need to sell property, come to us, we guarantee to say yes.
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