My Big Mouth: Will SW London house prices push first-time buyers out of the borough?


SW Londoner’s Nadine Burnham-Marshalleck mouths off about eye-watering SW London house prices.


By Nadine Burnham-Marshalleck

After nearly six years with my boyfriend, we are pretty much ready to take the big leap.

We have been saving for the big event and our friends and family keep asking when we plan to take that next step.

Forget any ideas of wedding bells and horse-drawn carriages. We are thinking about buying a house.

I currently live with my parents in SW London and my boyfriend is renting a flat in SE London.

While I would love to buy a property close to my family, the current prices in SW London are astronomical.

According to BBC News figures, the average property price in London is £440,230 and the average flat will set you back by £362,073.

While in Merton, my parent’s borough, the average property price is £492,717.

It does not get any cheaper in the neighbouring borough of Wandsworth where the average price is an eye-watering £526,486.

Even more depressing is the knowledge that our friends in NW England only fork out £159,117 for the average property.

There is also a geographical divide within London.  Prices in SE postcodes are definitely more appealing than SW. 

The average property in Bromley is £351,136 and the average flat costs £207,245.

However, as a lifelong SW Londoner, the thought of moving away is the stuff of nightmares.

Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration. But I do dread swapping journeys on the temperamental underground for the even more temperamental railway service in SE London.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, moving to SE London will mean an even longer trek to reach my beloved shopping mecca of Oxford Street.

Although, the new Westfield in East London might make the move to the other side of town a little less painful.

Buying property has always been considered as one of the safest ways to invest, but nowadays the decision to buy a house is fraught with pitfalls.

After saving £30,000, or borrowing from the bank of Mum and Dad, there is no guarantee that ploughing your money into a mortgage will be profitable.

Once you have made that first tentative step onto the property ladder, there are no assurances that you will make it on to the next step.

Some first-time buyers are now stuck in homes they bought at the peak of the property market in 2007, according to a new HSBC report.

The value of an average home has seen a drop of about £11,000 over the last four years.

The fear of buying a first home and then being trapped by negative equity is a pretty scary prospect.

Is it better to be a lifelong renter or take the plunge and attempt to climb the property ladder?

If we do buy, should we settle for a pokey flat or save for another five to ten years in the hope that one day we can afford a three-bed house on the nice side of town?

It really is no surprise that more couples are leaving it later and later before getting married and having kids after years of saving to buy a home.

As it stands, it feels like I would be better off staying at home with my parents and spending my savings on something more practical. 

I’m thinking a Chanel handbag will do very nicely.

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