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Jump in, Settle Down: Why Now Might Be the Best Time to Buy a House in London

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Over the centuries, London has come to be filled with old houses that are steeped in history. Nobles and notable personages have come and gone, many of them leaving behind historic estates that are an invaluable part of our heritage – and inevitably, a year-round attraction to tourists, enthusiasts of art, history, and interior design, or those just looking to make a living here.

Hard times for affordable housing

Unfortunately modern times have seen the prices of housing and rent in England rise above what many citizens would consider affordable. Mid-2019 figures show that annual house prices rise by 2.9% across the country, with an average price of around £288,000 – and London prices are over 1.5 times as high at £478,000. Yet those same numbers show that London properties are actually seeing an annual price drop of 0.4% – why does the city buck the national trend?

Because of the housing crunch, there is a high demand for budget housing, while the prices of older and larger properties are dropping as estate agents struggle to match the right sellers with the right buyers. In Putney, for example, there is a considerable gap between high end prices, and what the average consumer is looking to pay. This concentrates demand at the lower end of the price range, driving up the cost of affordable housing. Meanwhile, demand at the top plummets amid the perception that the housing and property scene right now is just bad for everyone.

Solutions and workarounds

Residents want affordable housing, but few would even consider giving up the historic essence of their city by levelling old houses sitting on expansive lots, in order to put up smaller residences on the land. Still, both developers and local authorities are attempting solutions.

One is to build more low cost, multiple dwelling complexes such as apartments, in what is considered neglected or derelict space on the Metropolitan Green Belt. Beyond that, modular housing, extended rooftops, tiny houses, and shipping containers, are also among the options on offer.

Solutions like these are intended to alleviate the struggles of many who cannot afford rent or other typical low-cost housing options in the city. In combination, they will ease up the throttling of prices at the low end of the market and smooth out the price curve by providing options at different price points.

Opportunities at the top

Residential areaWarren Buffett once gave this advice to would-be investors: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” While this is not a guarantee of success in business, it can be translated to reveal that opportunities arise when most people don’t expect them – or aren’t prepared to seize the moment.

While London properties undergo a period of market correction, you can make inquiries into the right neighbourhoods. Several developers have begun to renovate and design high end, even luxury homes, and sell them at half price because the zip code is not considered traditionally prestigious.

Whether you intend to settle down and live there or treat them as an investment, these houses can be a fantastic bargain – and one that may not be available for long. As measures to alleviate the housing crunch begin to take effect, the prices of high-end properties will begin to climb again in value. This might not just be a great time to look into the options on the London property market; it could be the only chance to grab a steal at the current prices.

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