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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

London’s back, but can we avoid another grim housing crisis?

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W

ell that was over quickly. The window when the London property market wasn’t the subject of breathless headlines about records broken appears to be closed, locked and bolted.

In fact, as time goes on, we may question how wide open it even was, given new data showing six-figure house price rises in inner London boroughs (the very areas from which everyone was reported to be fleeing) over the course of the pandemic.

This lockdown boom may have been inspired by big-budget trade-ups and stamp duty holiday savings, but 2022’s hot ticket is the one-bed flat.

Meanwhile demand is soaring in Chelsea, Barnes and Islington compared with last year, according to Rightmove figures released today.

Inevitably, a roaring London market brings a wave of ridiculously bad homes for sale in its wake and, sure enough, we’re already witnessing the return of the micro, mini, not-even-a-room crap pad.

The most recent in the genre is the 75sq ft “studio flat” in Clapton with the unusual (but sadly probably not unique) feature of a captain’s bed installed above the microwave, kitchen drawers and storage.

It goes up for auction online at My Auction next week and with a guide price of £50,000, is expected to be hotly contested.

A sizzling property market is seen as a positive sign of a thriving and attractive city.

And yet, as a resident of said city it’s hard to feel that soaring rents and house prices are a good thing for the significant percentage who don’t own property.

Rather than revisiting the grimmest extremes of the recent housing crisis, in Roaring Twenties 2.0 how might we manage it so the excess is reserved for parties not homes?

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