Buying in London. Come here and share your stories

(295 Posts)
Flowers2014 Wed 26-Mar-14 19:34:12

So we are trying to buy in London and the market is crazy. Everything that we've seen has gone for 10%-20% over the asking price. Because of DP and his work we can't go too out of London which is making this whole process much harder than it needs to be. We have a good budget but in this market it's just not enough.

I'm tired by the process now so we are taking a break from it. We have until Nov to move out of out rented flat so we are going take the spring off and try again in the summer.

Anyone else in the same boat of trying to buy in London? Come share your stories with me!

Bambi75 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:58:22

Yes!! We've just had our offer accepted on a place in chiswick after losing out on 2 other houses at sealed bids even though we've got a v good budget and have been in rented, so in a good position. In the end we had to take out a 7 figure mortgage (gulp) to be able to buy an average sized 4 bed family home. Totally crazy.. I've also just accepted an offer on my buy to flat which went to sealed bids at 14% over the asking price, so as a simultaneous buyer and seller in london I know exactly how crazy it is! I've been told by numerous sources that prices will continue rising for the next year at least with no signs of slowing down. It's ridiculous.

Blu Wed 26-Mar-14 21:01:57

You have taken out a £1m +mortgage? shock

CoilRegret Wed 26-Mar-14 21:03:32

I'm not selling, but in London get 15-20 begging letters a day through our door. Some from EAs some private.

HairyPorter Wed 26-Mar-14 21:09:23

I'm taking a break too. Have been trying since July last year. Outbid countless times ( must be around 10 by now) and gazumped twice. Had enough of this bs. Tbf we don't really want to compromise and prefer to ride it out till things stabilise or crash. We're reluctant to take out a bigger mortgage and over stretch ourselves...

Bambi75 Wed 26-Mar-14 21:14:14

Yes Blu .. sad but true. It's a massive commitment and still can't believe we're doing it!

StepfauxWife Wed 26-Mar-14 21:23:34

I've just had an offer accepted in North London for 5% over the asking price but we are chain free and lawyers which swung it for us.

We'd lost out on nine other properties and were just about to give up. We were routinely offering 10-15% over the asking price and still being outbid. Hoping this will go through okay otherwise I fear we are going to be priced out of our preferred area.

I saw a two bed flat for £700,000 the other day confused if you have that much money, surely you'd want a bit more than that?!

PossumPoo Wed 26-Mar-14 21:38:34

Not buying now, but we bought in London early 2011 and it was so ridiculously easy and straight forward that those buying in today's market have my sympathies. I just cant believe the increase in house prices in that short time and the number of buyers out there.

Good luck and agree with a pp who said they were going to wait it out, not possible for everyone I know.

stargirl04 Thu 27-Mar-14 00:25:18

Same story here. I'm on the bottom rung and a (mature) first-timer. Anything decent in London is going for over the asking price in my budget range.

I had an offer accepted by bidding 10k over asking, having a big deposit and being chain free.

Prior to that I was outbid on four other places despite offering at over the asking price, in one case by 10%.

The sale is going through at the moment but I am worried the vendors will ask for more money just before exchange of contracts, something that I keep hearing about with depressing regularity.

Bambi75 Thu 27-Mar-14 06:19:56

The other thing driving prices up in london is buy to let landlords. Instead of leaving their savings in the bank on record low interest rates, people - especially the slightly older generation - are investing in property for good returns. A buy to let which I have just sold (to help fund the purchase of family home) doubled in price over 6 years. i had a fairly big mortgage on it, but even after that was paid off and i paid capital gains, no bank or other investment is going to offer a return like that. people are queuing up to throw their money into property for longterm investment and its not just foreigners investment but the home grown older generation. On the flat I just sold in london 50% were cash buyers, all wanting to buy it to let. This is obviously not helping people who need homes to live in, especially first time buyers.

Thereishope Thu 27-Mar-14 08:53:21

We moved out of London - still in South East though. We could only afford the most standard 3 bed terraced homes in Thamesmead/Plumstead/Erith and we decided against it.

We have very little equity on our home. If we sold we would probably get exactly what we paid 7 years ago. There is little demand for properties in my town.

It is all very very depressing. The gap between London and the outside is growing daily.

I am beginning to accept we will remain here for now as I am was so desperate to move back to London. Very little diversity here. People seem so insular and narrow minded. I feel so cut off despite going into London once a week.

I seriously wonder how some can purchase £1M houses. A budget of even £400-500k would be a dream to me. No, we could not buy a house anywhere near SW London but could afford nice properties in SE London - Bexleyheath/Sidcup.

Flowers2014 Thu 27-Mar-14 08:56:39

It's good to hear from others in the same situation as us. I guess our fear is that there won't really be a crash in prices in the next 2-3 years.

We would be using help to buy so our max budget is 600k and it's amazing how it's not enough.

I'm on a mobile but to whoever said about the 700k two bed that's nothing now. I called up a developer yesterday to talk about flats that they are building and not only will they only be ready in 2020 (!) but the studios will start at 600k and two beds at 800k. We thought we could get a better deal buying off plant but that won't be the case. Plus the sales lady told me that all the flats were offered in Hong Kong and Singapore before London and they only bring the most and least expensive flats in the development to sell in London. confused

Seminyak Thu 27-Mar-14 08:58:57

Don't know how relatable this is to you but we bought a 2 bed flat (sounds like you're in the market for something much bigger and more expensive??) in forest hill for under the asking price (was on at £279k). That was this time last year but this area is still up and coming so not crazy prices.

Flowers2014 Thu 27-Mar-14 09:09:52

We are looking for 1-2 bed with decent storage and not tinny tiny. But because of our work, our commune into the City can't be more than 30mins.

We are going to look at a new development in Golders Green (sp?). Does anyone know if it's a good area or if it's very residential?

I'm not from the UK and DP is from up north so we just aren't familiar with many areas of London except where we lived at Uni and a few other really central areas. So our search area is all over place. If anyone has any suggestions I'm happy to have some advice on where else to look smile

Seminyak Thu 27-Mar-14 09:37:03

Forest Hill! To London brige or Victoria in 30 mins, national rail and overground and lots of buses.

I hadn't been to forest hill until we went to look at the flat/put an offer in (did both in the space of about an hour haha). Have a look because it's cheap cheap cheap! And good schools as far as I know!!!

Lovely Dulwich close by, crystal palace park, bluewater and Westfield again about half an hour away. Blackheath and Greenwich nearby.

HairyPorter Thu 27-Mar-14 09:39:09

Depends where in golders green flowers. I'm in west hampstead and golders green is up the road from me. Would love to stay in the area but we are being priced out of it. I refuse to join the race though as I'm now convinced this is unsustainable and something has to give

orangepudding Thu 27-Mar-14 09:44:42

Flowers, how about looking in Herts. Potters Bar and Welwyn Garden City are on a train line to Moorgate and much cheaper than London.

orangepudding Thu 27-Mar-14 09:49:18

www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-43545790.html

A house right near the station and under budget!

Bambi75 Thu 27-Mar-14 09:50:18

Flowers - potential areas worth looking at for you which may be affordable but still striking distance of central London:

North London: Golders Green - yes possibly; Kensal Rise (neighbours trendy Notting Hill but miles more affordable); Queens Park, Finchley/Barnet (easy access on tube to central london)

West London - Acton, Ealing (close to the affluent areas of chiswick, richmond etc but your money will go a lot further)

South London - Tooting, Streatham (fast becoming the new Balham & Wandsworth with influx of middle class professionals & families)

South west london/Middlesex borders - Teddington, Hampton, Kingston (close to expensive & lovely Richmond with good access into london via regular train into Waterloo. They aren't on the tube line though)

All of the above are good areas of London with easy access to central london, near tubes and/or overland train.

I think you are right when you say you don't think house prices will drop in the next 2-3 years - they won't. They never have historically in London. At worst the rises might slow but they will continue going up. My advice to you is rather than wait, persist and buy somewhere sooner rather than later. It might not be ideal but at least you'll be on the property ladder and you can always move later on as your circumstances change. Good luck!

plantsitter Thu 27-Mar-14 09:54:01

Have a look in brockley se4. If you're quick you might get something quite big for your budget and Crofton Park station is 20mins from City Thameslink (infrequent service though).

Flowers2014 Thu 27-Mar-14 09:59:01

Thanks orange and bambi!

bambi I'm going to look more closely at the areas you've suggested.

Hairy- is golders green nice? We love west hampstead and have close friends in finchley road but we haven't seen anything suitable in the area.

I know we are very lucky to have a good budget and good jobs to pay the eventual mortgage but it just feel impossible to buy a decent place to live in an area that I would feel safe in.

allthatglittersisnotgold Thu 27-Mar-14 10:00:08

Gosh, this does make my tummy go funny, thinking abotu the huge financial commitment people are embarking on atm.

We bought early 2011 now and even called the shots with our vendor (which I doubt anyone is doing now) making him help us with our rent as we couldn't get out as fast as they wanted to complete!

I think that having such a high influx of foreign investors is not a good thing and we should adopt the aurtralian approach which doesn't allow just anyone to buy a property int he country I beleive. Yes it's "good" for the economy, but it's squeezing normal people out.

I'm not entirely sure we'll ever be brave enough to move now. Wish we'd bought a house rather than a flat at time of buying!

A friend of mine put her house (1000 sq m in Kentish Town) on the market, had one 'open day' and ended up selling for £1.25m, £250k over the asking price - to a couple who were cash buyers getting the house for their DC's who were moving to London for university shock...the second highest bidders, not far behind were in exactly the same position. It's horrendous for buyers.

Oops, I meant ft not m of course....

Bambi75 Thu 27-Mar-14 10:13:15

Flowers - if you're looking at Golders Green, definitely investigate Finchley, Kensal Rise & Queens Park. All are very close to west hampstead. If you are after somewhere with a bit of life definitely take a look at the latter two. A younger, professional more hip crowd (editor of vogue lives in queens park, lots of professionals in the media etc) and both on the bakerloo tube line (15 mins from oxford circus). I used to live in West Hampstead and moved to Queens Park for more space when i had my children, but I regularly walk from Queens Park to West Hampstead. I think this area would be better for you than Golders Green IMO.

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