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#1 Cybrid

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 02:07 PM

Hello Everyone,

First allow me to say hi, this is my first post in the forum. Now please excuse me as I'd like to go straight to the point. I'm thinking of buying a 2 bed flat in Clapham (ideally I'd love to buy in Fulham / Putney but, sellers there seem to have been smoking crack when they set the asking price) . My budget (for obvious reasons) is 250k (I already have an agreement in principle for that amount) but, the prices I'm seeing at rightmove seem to indicate that anything nice in the 60 to 65 sqm range is being sold for about 350k My question is, what's exactly wrong here? my budget or their expectations?.

Thanks in advance.

#2 pyracantha

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 03:01 PM

My question is, what's exactly wrong here? my budget or their expectations?.


What is wrong? I'd say your research.

1) A very quick Rightmove search for Clapham show 2 bed flats within your budget.
2) The name of this website might give you a clue as to how most people here feel about sellers' expectations and what's going to happen to the housing market. There's a lot of good information here - you can choose to read it or not.

#3 Cybrid

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 03:19 PM

pyracantha, you've made a lot of assumptions about what I have and haven't done and what I may or may not choose to do. I know there are 2 bed flats within my budget in Clapham (I've been looking at rightmove for 2 months already, also checked property snake and property bee) and I've probably not been detailed enough as to what I'm looking for, please accept my apologies. Property wise I don't want anything on top of a business or in a noisy road, I wont' buy anything in a building more than 4 or 5 storey high and it has to have at least 60 sqm, also I don't like building where I have to walk past everyone's door to get to mine (ie: shared balcony) and finally, I want a share of freehold. That's the kind of property I'm having a hard time to find below 350K.

#4 TeddyBear

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 08:36 PM

your 250k budget is way too low for Clapham. As you say, the type of places that are OK to live in will go for 350k plus. Don't ask me where the money keeps coming from but it keeps coming. You have got a lot of competition in the 2 bed market - it's the size most FTBuyers (often couples with a larger budget than you) and BTletters want.
LONDON, April 5, 2004 – The Rt Hon Gordon Brown, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, today officially opened Lehman Brothers’ new European headquarters building at 25 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London.

Commenting on the event, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the contribution you and your company make to the prosperity of Britain. During its one hundred and fifty year history, Lehman Brothers has always been an innovator, financing new ideas and inventions before many others even began to realise their potential. And it is part of the greatness not just of Lehman Brothers but of the City of London, that as the world economy has opened up, you have succeeded not by sheltering your share of a small protected national market but always by striving for a greater and greater share of the growing global market.”

#5 worried1

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:07 AM

your 250k budget is way too low for Clapham. As you say, the type of places that are OK to live in will go for 350k plus. Don't ask me where the money keeps coming from but it keeps coming. You have got a lot of competition in the 2 bed market - it's the size most FTBuyers (often couples with a larger budget than you) and BTletters want.


I agree. You could buy a 2 bed flat in Clapham for £250k, but it won't be the type of place you actually want to live. I live out in zone 6, and even here the type of 2 bed flat that you can buy for that amount is compromised with the good stuff all £300k+.

I think most on this site would agree that £250k is the most that should be paid for an average 2 bed flat in what is quite an average part of south London, but this does not mean that the market is listening.

There is still a lot of money about and combined with the low interest rates, this is what is keeping the market going.

It can only last so long, though. This type of flat is typically bought by people in their 20's who sell on and move out in their 30's. This is unlikely to change (much), so I'd have thought that these £350k flats will start piling up and that must have an effect on price eventually.

I'd not expect the prices to come down too quickly, though.

#6 Mrs Bear

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:48 AM

Hello Everyone,

First allow me to say hi, this is my first post in the forum. Now please excuse me as I'd like to go straight to the point. I'm thinking of buying a 2 bed flat in Clapham (ideally I'd love to buy in Fulham / Putney but, sellers there seem to have been smoking crack when they set the asking price) . My budget (for obvious reasons) is 250k (I already have an agreement in principle for that amount) but, the prices I'm seeing at rightmove seem to indicate that anything nice in the 60 to 65 sqm range is being sold for about 350k My question is, what's exactly wrong here? my budget or their expectations?.

Thanks in advance.


Regardless of prices, your choice is going to be very limited if you want share of freehold. Most flats are l/h - you are somewhat more likely to find share of f/h with purpose built Victorian or Edwardian maisonettes, though they're still mostly l/h.

It is possible to find a nice 2 bed flat or period m/ette for £250K, but you'd have to shift your expectations to other areas, at least for the foreseeable future. Clapham is still very expensive. My daughter was living there but has bought elsewhere because there was simply nothing halfway nice she could afford in Clapham.

#7 worried1

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:31 AM

Regardless of prices, your choice is going to be very limited if you want share of freehold. Most flats are l/h - you are somewhat more likely to find share of f/h with purpose built Victorian or Edwardian maisonettes, though they're still mostly l/h.


Good point. It is also worth noting that share of freehold is sometimes not even an advantage over leasehold. Having a flat held on a long lease with a reasonable freeholder charging sensible service charges is far preferable to being involved in a fractious group of residents who can't agree on anything when it comes to repairs and improvements.

I am not saying it is always like that, but it certainly can be, especially in larger blocks.

#8 spunkbubble

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:35 PM

£250k will not buy much in Clapham. Very established south London area with nice bars, restaurants, open space, good supply of quality houses and flats, easy access to the City. Would of thought £400k is more like it for an okay 2-bed there. A friend recently spent Almost £700k on a 2-bed there (a very, very nice one). Would look elsewhere - maybe somewhere like Tooting?

#9 Mrs Bear

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:44 PM

£250k will not buy much in Clapham. Very established south London area with nice bars, restaurants, open space, good supply of quality houses and flats, easy access to the City. Would of thought £400k is more like it for an okay 2-bed there. A friend recently spent Almost £700k on a 2-bed there (a very, very nice one). Would look elsewhere - maybe somewhere like Tooting?


That's where my daughter bought - having rented in Clapham. Light, spacious Edwardian m/ette, 2 proper dbl beds, nice quiet road, parking, own little garden, just over 70 sq. m, for under £250k.

Edited by Mrs Bear, 06 December 2011 - 10:45 PM.


#10 Cybrid

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 12:39 AM

Regardless of prices, your choice is going to be very limited if you want share of freehold. Most flats are l/h - you are somewhat more likely to find share of f/h with purpose built Victorian or Edwardian maisonettes, though they're still mostly l/h.

It is possible to find a nice 2 bed flat or period m/ette for £250K, but you'd have to shift your expectations to other areas, at least for the foreseeable future. Clapham is still very expensive. My daughter was living there but has bought elsewhere because there was simply nothing halfway nice she could afford in Clapham.


First of all, thanks everyone for your replies.

Any ideas as to why most flats are l/h ?. What's wrong with actually selling the stuff?. I mean, I don't know the intention of the average buyer in London but, like with most things, when I buy something It means I want to own it, not rent it for a long time.

Are there any indicators I could look at ,(apart from the obvious ones) that might indicate a shift in price tendency (downwards) in the next 8-12 months?

#11 Mrs Bear

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:18 AM

First of all, thanks everyone for your replies.

Any ideas as to why most flats are l/h ?. What's wrong with actually selling the stuff?. I mean, I don't know the intention of the average buyer in London but, like with most things, when I buy something It means I want to own it, not rent it for a long time.

Are there any indicators I could look at ,(apart from the obvious ones) that might indicate a shift in price tendency (downwards) in the next 8-12 months?


I'm not an expert by any means, but freehold is connected to the land a property sits on, so it stands to reason that a flat in a block can only share it with other residents, which can be very complicated if there are several and there are repairs and maintenance to pay for. Having said that, some companies that manage repairs etc. in a block are blatant ripoff merchants, charging way over the odds for what needs doing, though leaseholders do have a right to challenge and find another company.

In the case of maisonettes (the purpose built period type) there is just one freeholder for (usually) just two properties, so it becomes simpler and often the owner of one m/ette will be the freeholder of both, though you do see quite a few with share of f/h. Another advantage of this type of property is that you don't usually have service/maintenance charges to contend with.
They differ from houses that have been converted into flats in that you have your own front door from the street - there will be two adjacent front doors.

AFAIK anyone has the right to buy a f/h or extend a lease, though in the case of buying f/h all leasholders have to agree. And extending a lease of less than 80 years costs a lot more.

What you must do when considering a l/h flat (which is the vast majority) is to find out how much the service/maintenance charges are. EAs often don't give this information as standard, for the simple reason that it can be a lot (particularly in fancier modern blocks) and will put buyers off. You also need to find out whether there are costly repairs coming up, which can whack them right up. There is a large l930s block near me where lots of flats were up for sale a few yrs ago because the (huge) roof needed replacing, and it was going to cost about £2000 per flat, on top of the usual charges.

I would certainly look at other areas than Clapham. Best thing (apart from doing lots of internet research) is to pick an area and walk around it at different times, getting a feel for it, which are the nicer roads, etc. There is no substitute for research on your own two feet.

I haven't been watching Clapham lately, but there's no doubt that in e.g. Tooting prices are mostly a mite less delusional than they were a couple of years ago. E.g. a flat that would have been priced at maybe £285K is now more like £269K, evidently hoping for £250K.

#12 spunkbubble

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:19 AM

First of all, thanks everyone for your replies.

Any ideas as to why most flats are l/h ?. What's wrong with actually selling the stuff?. I mean, I don't know the intention of the average buyer in London but, like with most things, when I buy something It means I want to own it, not rent it for a long time.

Are there any indicators I could look at ,(apart from the obvious ones) that might indicate a shift in price tendency (downwards) in the next 8-12 months?



Most are probably leasehold because it alows the developer to make more money. There are some advantages to it as the responsibility and effort involved in maintaining the outside of the building, structure and common areas sits with the freeholder. In a large block it would probably be almost impossible for all the leaseholders to agree on how much gets spent on what and when but even in a smaller block or a house conversion it only takes one **** to make everyone's life a nightmare. Often the leaseholders do actually own the building, usually through an allocation of shares in a holding company. A managing agent is then appointed by the owners (or the owners having some say in who the developer appoints) which does help keep costs in check. Many different scenarios so it is worth looking into what you are getting into.

Some advice here:
http://www.lease-adv...ment.asp?item=7

#13 spunkbubble

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:39 AM

...and as for prices heading down over the next year there is every possible factor discussed on this site. You will have to make your own mind up as know one knows until it happens. There has already been falls in prices since the market last peaked in 2007, recent falls around the UK are widely reported but you are looking to buy in London which has some differences. Some will tell you prices will continue to rise strongly (although I think that is just the Daily Express and their property empire building owners and reporters), others that they will stay supported by a lack of availabilty, not enough new building and investors looking to find a way to make returns (savings and stocks not being attractive).

As for it going the other way the most common theory is that prices will fall back gradually over the coming years or at best stay pretty much flat with values eroded by other economic factors (inflation, interest rates...), or there will be an almighty crash which if it does happen will most likely be driven by the collapse of the Western economies, our banking system and currencies as we all struggle to pay our debts. If the latter happens I doubt there will be many people in a position to buy (hence why the prices will have crashed).

Anyone's guess!

#14 the flying pig

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 04:11 PM

your budget & criteria are incompatible, sadly.

much as it pains me to mention the show but did you see the 'location, location' from a couple of months ago where they looked at Balham [v similar to Clapham price wise]?

IIRC they had exactly the same budget as you. i think they concluded that for £250k they'd have to go for either: (1) a one-bed place; or (2) something in a cheaper area.

summary, not sure if the actual episode can be viewed online?

Edited by the flying pig, 07 December 2011 - 04:12 PM.

"HOUSE PRICES FALL AGAIN", Daily Express, 28th Dec 2007... "HOUSE PRICES RISING AGAIN", Daily Express, 29th Dec 2007

#15 Aaron James

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:58 PM

your budget & criteria are incompatible, sadly.

much as it pains me to mention the show but did you see the 'location, location' from a couple of months ago where they looked at Balham [v similar to Clapham price wise]?

IIRC they had exactly the same budget as you. i think they concluded that for £250k they'd have to go for either: (1) a one-bed place; or (2) something in a cheaper area.

summary, not sure if the actual episode can be viewed online?


I was thinking just that, although hopefully he isn't too worried about the 'jealousy factor' of friends in making a home decision.

Clapham, Battersea, Balham, and bits of Streatham Hill (below Thornton Ave) 250k doesn't buy you much.




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