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Finding A Place In Se London - Will It Ever Happen?

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Hi guys

Just joined the forums and wanted to rant my frustrations which have built up over the last two years. I am 30yrs old and left the Midlands 5 years back for career opportunities and only in the last 12-18 months I have been in a position to buy a place due to working hard to build my salary and save for a deposit (I have been living as a lodger in zone 6 so have not had only small accommodation expenses).

I am looking on the outskirts e.g. Bromley, Beckenham, S+E Croydon, Hither Green, Shortlands etc and need to be walking distance to a station. I must have bid on 10 places over the last 2 years at asking/above and lost out each time, some to BTL and mostly to cash buyers (downsizers/pension release people). Every Saturday is spent on viewings traipsing around South London by public transport due to no car.

The last few weeks/months at viewings I have noticed things are not selling as quick and priced even higher than early in the year, there is an element of sellers still unrealistic about the market but also themselves willing to wait and things have eventually sold. I think the lack of supply and cheap borrowing will keep prices high as there are rich FTB's waiting, only interest rates of 4%+ will change things and this is unlikely as governments/BOE don't seem to want a crash.

I have a budget of 330-350k max for a 2 bed. Earning 60k + bonus+ other benefits.

If I had stayed in the Midlands I would have a nice house by now, I just left as I was miserable in my job with no prospects, whereas here I am miserable due to quality of living. I am planning on moving abroad (not 100% just a dream), but would like a backup in the UK.

Anyone have any advice or ideas on what to do?

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I am local to you and I sympathize. I bought in 2006 a house and prices have gone up by £100-150K since then. In one awful area near us prices for flats have gone up by £10K p.a every year for 15 years.

Saying that I think prices must crash, but if you can move abroad consider it. If I were younger I would definitely want to leave the UK.

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Move back to the Midlands, or somewhere else. Earning £60k a year is nice, but not if you can't even buy a basic home. What's the point?

BTW, I'm a "cash buyer" and I've stopped bidding on homes now after losing out to too many that went to sealed bids. I'm in rural Kent, where it doesn't sound too different to where you are.

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With you, i tried to buy a place in SE london SE10 area, big 4 bed 550k in 2008.

In the end the seller, pulled out and decided it wasnt the right time to sell. She cashed in last year.

Right now given up, still looking at places but cant afford anything that is big enough. Need a crash back to 2008 levels.

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Mhm, I can see what you're saying.

My problem isn't related to money (well, of course, it would be nice if houses were cheaper), but to the quality of the "houses" (or flats). In my country, a standard 1 bed flat is 50 sqm in size. Whereas in here it tends to be 32-40 usually. This is valid for 2 and 3 bedrooms as well (I'd expect 90-100 sqm for 3 bedrooms; not so in here, usually around 70 sqm). When I buy a house, I expect it to have a garage or, at the very least a "drive-in", as well as a garden - otherwise what's the point in buying a house? Might as well buy a flat if you don't get either of them.

Even though I could buy, I just don't want to. I can't bring myself to get into debt (as a mortgage is debt) over a "home" I wouldn't like. I'm not from a rich country or rich background or anything like that, but when I look at what's on the market, I just have to laugh. I'm OK with paying 450k for a 2-3 bedrooms house if it's really nice...but there's no such thing on the market in my area (and by my area I mean a 5 miles radius, greater london, not the city). It looks to me like every house has already been split into more "houses" which were then split into "maisonettes". So I'd end up paying 300-400k for 25% of a real house and I just can't bring myself to do that. It's the kind of building where you'd expect the cleaning lady to live...I'm not posh or anything, but given the options, I'd rather keep my money and then move once I have an amount large enough to buy a house outright. Whether that will be in the UK or other countries I don't know, but what I do know is that I'm not willing to pay hundreds of thousands for a shithole.

...and then, of course, there's the "leasehold" scam, which seems to be a British thing (haven't seen it anywhere else or maybe I just haven't noticed), which basically means you don't own the place you're buying and you're charged "service charge" (for what?) and "ground rent" (what??).

My advice to you - move abroad. It's one of the options I'm considering as well. Costa Rica sounds pretty nice to me.

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Mhm, I can see what you're saying.

My problem isn't related to money (well, of course, it would be nice if houses were cheaper), but to the quality of the "houses" (or flats). In my country, a standard 1 bed flat is 50 sqm in size. Whereas in here it tends to be 32-40 usually. This is valid for 2 and 3 bedrooms as well (I'd expect 90-100 sqm for 3 bedrooms; not so in here, usually around 70 sqm). When I buy a house, I expect it to have a garage or, at the very least a "drive-in", as well as a garden - otherwise what's the point in buying a house? Might as well buy a flat if you don't get either of them.

Even though I could buy, I just don't want to. I can't bring myself to get into debt (as a mortgage is debt) over a "home" I wouldn't like. I'm not from a rich country or rich background or anything like that, but when I look at what's on the market, I just have to laugh. I'm OK with paying 450k for a 2-3 bedrooms house if it's really nice...but there's no such thing on the market in my area (and by my area I mean a 5 miles radius, greater london, not the city). It looks to me like every house has already been split into more "houses" which were then split into "maisonettes". So I'd end up paying 300-400k for 25% of a real house and I just can't bring myself to do that. It's the kind of building where you'd expect the cleaning lady to live...I'm not posh or anything, but given the options, I'd rather keep my money and then move once I have an amount large enough to buy a house outright. Whether that will be in the UK or other countries I don't know, but what I do know is that I'm not willing to pay hundreds of thousands for a shithole.

...and then, of course, there's the "leasehold" scam, which seems to be a British thing (haven't seen it anywhere else or maybe I just haven't noticed), which basically means you don't own the place you're buying and you're charged "service charge" (for what?) and "ground rent" (what??).

My advice to you - move abroad. It's one of the options I'm considering as well. Costa Rica sounds pretty nice to me.

Cant disagree with much of that. And yes I always point out here the ridiculous 'leasehold' nonsense that is prevalent in London (Its not really a UK wide thing - only seems those in London are happy to put up with this massive con)

Costa Rica does look nice but pretty pricey these days I think.

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I am local to you and I sympathize. I bought in 2006 a house and prices have gone up by £100-150K since then. In one awful area near us prices for flats have gone up by £10K p.a every year for 15 years.

Saying that I think prices must crash, but if you can move abroad consider it. If I were younger I would definitely want to leave the UK.

Yes this is true and annoying, I went to see a house recently near Grove Park which is now 350k and was 90k in 2009!!

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Costa Rica sounds nice...but what will i do, sell coconuts on the beach?! It has to be somewhere with banking industry so I can earn some level of income e.g. Dubai, Qatar, Singapore, Australia, California..these are my ideal places in that order. If I move it will be abroad not up north

But I would still like to have somewhere in the UK and rent out, in case I have to return in 5-10 years due to job loss etc, in which case God knows how high prices will be :mellow: , plus I don't have rich family. At the moment even 350k hardly anything decent comes on but this is x5 my income plus most my savings, my parents will pay stamp duty+legal fees which helps a bit.

Service charges/extending lease costs are a waste, most newer places in London are £150 per month + 300£ for ground rent.

I cant imagine how people on normal incomes/minimum wages will ever even have a chance, which is sad.

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Hi guys

Just joined the forums and wanted to rant my frustrations which have built up over the last two years. I am 30yrs old and left the Midlands 5 years back for career opportunities and only in the last 12-18 months I have been in a position to buy a place due to working hard to build my salary and save for a deposit (I have been living as a lodger in zone 6 so have not had only small accommodation expenses).

I am looking on the outskirts e.g. Bromley, Beckenham, S+E Croydon, Hither Green, Shortlands etc and need to be walking distance to a station. I must have bid on 10 places over the last 2 years at asking/above and lost out each time, some to BTL and mostly to cash buyers (downsizers/pension release people). Every Saturday is spent on viewings traipsing around South London by public transport due to no car.

The last few weeks/months at viewings I have noticed things are not selling as quick and priced even higher than early in the year, there is an element of sellers still unrealistic about the market but also themselves willing to wait and things have eventually sold. I think the lack of supply and cheap borrowing will keep prices high as there are rich FTB's waiting, only interest rates of 4%+ will change things and this is unlikely as governments/BOE don't seem to want a crash.

I have a budget of 330-350k max for a 2 bed. Earning 60k + bonus+ other benefits.

If I had stayed in the Midlands I would have a nice house by now, I just left as I was miserable in my job with no prospects, whereas here I am miserable due to quality of living. I am planning on moving abroad (not 100% just a dream), but would like a backup in the UK.

Anyone have any advice or ideas on what to do?

Fully sympathise as I'm in a similar position in the SE although also have a young family so need a minimum 3 bed. Been here 5 years after moving from East Midlands. I have to say I do not see a happy ending I believe quality of life in London and to some degree SE is permanently damaged as even with a substantial crash 20-30% prices are still quite ridiculous.

I recently wrote to my MP (conservative MP for Wokingham) regarding housing issues particularly that over 50% of family sized 3 bed homes in the area are advertised for sale on lifetime lease to the over 60s, with elevated price tags, to which the reply was basically look at the schemes we offer to help and "pragmatic about what you can afford" and that "there are 1 and 2 bed properties in the area for around 250k". Believe me the gov care not that homes are now out of reach for the younger generations.

If I wanted to bring up a family in a tiny flat I would be moving to East Asia.

As others have said if you can move out of London/SE that is what you need to do if you want a decent home in the short term.

Edited by streamingfreedom

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Move back to the Midlands, or somewhere else. Earning £60k a year is nice, but not if you can't even buy a basic home. What's the point?

BTW, I'm a "cash buyer" and I've stopped bidding on homes now after losing out to too many that went to sealed bids. I'm in rural Kent, where it doesn't sound too different to where you are.

It is not very good for the UK economy if people on £60K and paying lots of tax leave London. The solution of course is make people who don't work leave London so we can have more higher tax payers living here.

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Go for a 1 bed with parking space instead, prices may not rise but they will not fall by much either, too much expectation from sellers most of whom have made so much on paper they will not go any lower because they don't feel they have to.

60k in London is not that much of a wage any more,

It could be worse though you could have been born and bred in south London and not able to afford to stay there because so many people have moved in as they want to work in the city. At least it was your choice to re-locate.

My guess is the interest rates will be lowered in September or there abouts if things look downwards, everyone thinks they will drop when recession hits, I reckon more foreign money will come in, combine that with a lower interest rate and boom back up again.

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Costa Rica sounds nice...but what will i do, sell coconuts on the beach?! It has to be somewhere with banking industry so I can earn some level of income e.g. Dubai, Qatar, Singapore, Australia, California..these are my ideal places in that order. If I move it will be abroad not up north

But I would still like to have somewhere in the UK and rent out, in case I have to return in 5-10 years due to job loss etc, in which case God knows how high prices will be :mellow: , plus I don't have rich family. At the moment even 350k hardly anything decent comes on but this is x5 my income plus most my savings, my parents will pay stamp duty+legal fees which helps a bit.

Service charges/extending lease costs are a waste, most newer places in London are £150 per month + 300£ for ground rent.

I cant imagine how people on normal incomes/minimum wages will ever even have a chance, which is sad.

Well, no, obviously, you'd relocate there once you also had a source of income there (whether it's a job or opening a small business or whatever).

As for people on normal incomes/minimum wage, yeah, they don't really have much of a chance. Looking back, I think previous governments have progressively screwed the middle and lower classes....for at least 2 decades. I think at this point, even if they wanted to "fix" things, it would be too dangerous. Raise interest rates -> repossessions, homeless people etc. Keep them low and watch the bubble inflate even more, making the situation even worse.

There are ways out of this, but all of them are going to be painful (short term) for a fairly large part of the population.

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Where's the Count?

He will tell you the crash is happening and not to buy now. Look at Damik's thread about London house prices. There's plenty of evidence of oversupply in some areas and massive over-supply of new-build flats. Overseas buyers are no longer in the game; BTL is toast because of the tax changes and future new regulations. Patience.....it's happening. :)

I grew up in the SE and there's no way I can afford more than a studio flat or park home now so will be staying in the SW. I agree about service charges/site fees (for a park home) and it seems that for most properties at the lower end of the market you will pay what amounts to a sort of rent as well as your mortgage. Freehold houses mostly don't have these extra charges.

As for the MP for Wokingham (John Redwood) he's lived in the area for years and must know full well the reality for families. The area I grew up in was full of young families in the 60s and 70s and now houses old people who have lived there since then without a child in sight anywhere.

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Where's the Count?

He will tell you the crash is happening and not to buy now.

Eventually, a crash will be happening. The question most of us face is whether we should wait for it or buy soon. I mean, if the crash people are waiting for is going to take place in 20 years...

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Middle class is shrinking - and until there is a revolt against it, nothing is going to happen. Maybe Brexit would at least shake things up.

Interest rates will not go up until forced to because the governments are largest debtors and won't be able to afford the repayments

Government QE will continue until something else comes along - Govt cannot create new ideas they can simply give people confidence in the future, at present they are failing at that.

Debt restructuring is the only way out of this mess, but it'll take 20 years of deflation before anyone can suggest it without capitalists eating them alive.

For those looking to buy with normal jobs - its pretty much over. The market is forcing people into self employment where the taxes are less than 15% (after expenses) which gives people a shot at owning but also gives them no job security - just what the elite would like. Work to Eat. Work to Live. Hamster wheels for all.

Here's a tip for the people that buy into socialism or capitalism and main stream media bull*hit.

1. Just think for yourself, look at human nature and think what would most people do.

2. Always look at who politicians hang out with and what they do - NEVER what they say, its almost always the opposite.

Remember when mandelson was hell bent on joining the Euro - he said all sorts of pointless crap to try and make sure it happened, because he would be lauded if it happened - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2827149.stm

Edited by katchytitle

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Middle class is shrinking - and until there is a revolt against it, nothing is going to happen. Maybe Brexit would at least shake things up.

...

2. Always look at who politicians hang out with and what they do - NEVER what they say, its almost always the opposite.

1. ...and who would revolt against it? The middle class is doing fine (I know because I'm middle class), the lower class and upper class don't care about them.2

2. That's the problem with Brexit. As you said, look at who politicians hang out with...and when you look at Bojo's companions, well... (same thing applies to Cameron and Osbourne, of course). That's precisely the problem - both sides hang out with bankers.

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1. ...and who would revolt against it? The middle class is doing fine (I know because I'm middle class), the lower class and upper class don't care about them.2

2. That's the problem with Brexit. As you said, look at who politicians hang out with...and when you look at Bojo's companions, well... (same thing applies to Cameron and Osbourne, of course). That's precisely the problem - both sides hang out with bankers.

how are they? The middle class includes professional workers such as teachers, office workers, qualified nurses and accountants, non of them could afford family homes in London at this time without significant assistance.

I agree interest rate rises will just destabilise the economy and lower confidence which Is why it wont happen for decades, too much debt by people and governments is at stake.

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Go for a 1 bed with parking space instead, prices may not rise but they will not fall by much either, too much expectation from sellers most of whom have made so much on paper they will not go any lower because they don't feel they have to.

60k in London is not that much of a wage any more,

It could be worse though you could have been born and bred in south London and not able to afford to stay there because so many people have moved in as they want to work in the city. At least it was your choice to re-locate.

My guess is the interest rates will be lowered in September or there abouts if things look downwards, everyone thinks they will drop when recession hits, I reckon more foreign money will come in, combine that with a lower interest rate and boom back up again.

BOE have been talking more about lowering rates than increasing.

I have considered 1 beds and might have to go down this route as my budget would allow me to get a place immediately. But I felt that I would grow out of a 1 bed easily and with 2 bed would get a lodget/airbnb to help pay the mortgage. Also I don't need a parking space and wont be able to afford a car.

Lots of these "high paid" London jobs are slowly falling due to outsourcing, automation and growing competition for jobs. People who take on a large mortgage e.g. 600k due to earning 150k should consider they probably wont be at this level for 20 years needed to pay it off.

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how are they? The middle class includes professional workers such as teachers, office workers, qualified nurses and accountants, non of them could afford family homes in London at this time without significant assistance.

I agree interest rate rises will just destabilise the economy and lower confidence which Is why it wont happen for decades, too much debt by people and governments is at stake.

I don't want to insult or offend anyone, but in my opinion, the people you have listed are not generally in the middle class.

In my honest opinion, middle class starts at 50k/year in Greater London (per working adult in the family). Possibly 40k outside of London.

If someone thinks the job title makes them "middle class", I'm sorry, but they're wrong. Most teachers aren't middle class. Most accountants aren't middle class (some are; some are even in the upper class). It's nothing personal against them or their profession, but I've run the numbers and people that think they're middle class and earn less than 50k (in Greater London) are deluded.

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The point is that these professions used to be solidly middle class, easily affording nice detached middle class homes in the suburbs or nice bits of London. The fact that they aren't now is a measure of how livings standards have collapsed for most. Your £80k job in the city is far outside most people's experience in this country (and, I'd suggest, much of the world).

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Eh ? Surely 'middle' means what it says on the tin.

Anyone who earns within 25% either side of the London median full time salary is firmly 'middle class' in terms of earnings.

Not sure of the exact numbers but I am sure that includes most if not all of those professions mentioned above.

The median London wage is actually not nearly as high as many would think. 32k or so maybe ?

And when it comes to buying a house that's really all that matters.

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1. ...and who would revolt against it? The middle class is doing fine (I know because I'm middle class), the lower class and upper class don't care about them.2

2. That's the problem with Brexit. As you said, look at who politicians hang out with...and when you look at Bojo's companions, well... (same thing applies to Cameron and Osbourne, of course). That's precisely the problem - both sides hang out with bankers.

Eventually, a crash will be happening. The question most of us face is whether we should wait for it or buy soon. I mean, if the crash people are waiting for is going to take place in 20 years...

If things are fine, you can buy soon, and be okay either way?

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I have considered 1 beds and might have to go down this route as my budget would allow me to get a place immediately. But I felt that I would grow out of a 1 bed easily and with 2 bed would get a lodget/airbnb to help pay the mortgage. Also I don't need a parking space and wont be able to afford a car.

This sums up everything that is wrong with the current situation with UK housing; you're earning a salary almost double the average for London with bonuses on top, yet the living conditions you have stated lodger etc are what I would associate with minimum wage employment. Are you expecting to double your salary soon to trade up to a proper house and get rid of the lodger when perhaps a partner or family come along? Do you really feel all your hard work and sacrifices to get where you are worth that lifestyle? I couldn't do it when I know what the previous generations had. Just cant accept it and maybe that's my downfall. I am in a similar position in the SE and very happy in my job but would never commit to putting my family in a tiny flat or crappy terraced house that's falling to bits. If things don't change in the next few years I'll be forced to move away for good. Probably 2 years max.

Good luck to you if you buy now.

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Eh ? Surely 'middle' means what it says on the tin.

Anyone who earns within 25% either side of the London median full time salary is firmly 'middle class' in terms of earnings.

Not sure of the exact numbers but I am sure that includes most if not all of those professions mentioned above.

The median London wage is actually not nearly as high as many would think. 32k or so maybe ?

And when it comes to buying a house that's really all that matters.

Agree with your definition. Those people will never own a property on that salary without BOMAD. Their salaries will not increase higher than house price/rent inflation. They are permanently either in debt or unable to afford the standard of living that lose before had in the same salary band 25 years ago.

On brexit - the politicians are all in it for themselves. I ask you to think for yourself. Do you think increasing a union of people on lower and lower salaries will benefit the workers on higher salaries or the capitalists who already have capital. When doctors earn £5000/year in macedonia when it joins the EU what will happen to doctors salaries? Sure things will be uncertain, anyone who can predict the future is lying - they don't actually have a clue what would happen. I see the separatist movements across EU rising, more and more people saying they are unhappy, whilst the EU replaces their democratically elected officials and replaces them with technocrats who do their bidding - as if there is no other choice. See Italy, Greece and Spain for evidence.

The way I see it, and this is personal opinion, we are in for a slow grind for 30+ years to average out our living standards across the EU - eventually better for everyone, lower for us. Or we have 18 months of shit-storm pick a direction and move forward faster than the EU can write a pointless communication to "work together to solve the problem". Even if we are wrong we can change direction, the EU can't it is stuck with the same thinking because they can't admit that at least some of their setup is not working.

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