Some arguments are more difficult than others to solve. There are the big scary moral, religious, and political ones, and the small and seemingly insignificant ones like is Marmite nice? (it is), and what colour is the dress? (Google it). Another eternal argument will be the one between those who have chosen to make London their home, and those who have not.
There are the born and bred, dyed in the wool Londoners who would never, and perhaps could never, live anywhere else. And there are the people for whom the very idea of living in the capital causes them to break out in a sweat to rival any on the Central Line during August rush hour.
And in the middle are the moderates, those people who love the highs and lows of making a life in London, but sometimes, in the back of their minds after a particularly long day at the hard earned job, wonder if the city is right for them. Well we’re here to tell you that it absolutely is. It is the greatest city in the world, and yes, we are absolutely biased.
Of course those that don’t like London will try and throw endless arguments at you as to why London is only fit for the rats that supposedly occupy every square foot of space. But we’re going to disprove those screeching headlines and prove that London is the one, whether you’re a first time buyer looking for that perfect SW6 starter, or a family looking to upgrade to your forever home.
There aren’t enough houses
Wrong. The capital gains tax, along with the stamp duty shake-up, and general skittishness around the results of the general election likely resulted in a decrease of 19% in the sales of £1m + houses in the capital, in the first quarter of 2015, but that doesn’t mean the property market has become some barren, empty wasteland. Matthew Pointon, a property economist at Capital Economics told the Financial Times in April, “uncertainty regarding the mansion tax has taken its toll on price in prime central London.” But the property market is a fluid beast, with monthly ripples affecting prices. The reality is, now the election is over, the market will settle down and return to a more predictable ebb and flow, which will see sellers regaining confidence and property returning to the market. Economist, Howard Archer, told the Telegraph in April, “There are increasing signs that the housing market is now starting to firm after weakening appreciably through the second half of 2014.” And even if the market is slightly quieter for the moment, that will change, and it’s certainly not terrible news for existing homeowners in the capital. “We expect housing market activity to gradually pick up over the coming months,” continues Archer, “meanwhile, a current shortage of properties coming on to the market seems to be providing increasing support to house prices. Consequently, we expect house prices to rise by around 5% over 2015.”
The houses are too small
According to Homes and Property.co.uk, the price gap between London and the rest of the country has never been bigger, with the average home in the capital now costing two and half times the price of property elsewhere in the country. Startling figures, indeed, and it statements such as the latter that often lead non-London advocates’ arguments about why you should leave the capital behind. And yes, you could buy a sprawling Edwardian cottage in the countryside for the price of a terraced house in Fulham, but to say that the houses in London are small is ridiculous.
From the vast ‘Lion Houses’ (so called because of the distinctive statues that guard from the houses’ gables) in the Peterborough Estate, with their vast Victorian footprints, to the still spacious terraces of Sand’s End and the Fulham Road, SW6 boasts some of London’s most generous properties. A really good Lion house will boast something like four to five double bedrooms, three or four bathrooms, multiple receptions rooms, large kitchens, and around 2,500 - 3,000 sq ft of space, all before you’ve even considered going into the basement which will increase the space further by about 30%. Yes, this will cost you over £2m, (which is a sharp increase from the building’s original 1899 price of £300), but these are forever homes where families grow and thrive. For high-ceilinged, bright and spacious period properties, it’s hard to find a better place than London, and specifically the South West of London, not to mention them being incredibly safe places to park the family cash.
There aren’t enough schools
On the 16th of April this year, parents across the country would have been waiting nervously to find out whether their children got into their first choice school, during what has become known as ‘offer day.’ And it’s easy to see why this would be a stressful time for families. Naturally parents want the best for their children, so competition for the places in London’s best schools is fierce. But whether you opt to send your children to private school, or to one of the capitals abundant, excellent state schools, South West London is one of the best choices. SW6 boasts some seriously good prep schools, including, Parsons Green (co-ed, reception, lower and upper school), Sinclair House (nursery to age 13), with sites on the Munster road and Fulham High Street, Kensington Prep (girls from ages four to 11), Fulham Prep (co-ed, ages four to 13) and Thomas’s (co-ed). Top secondary schools include Fulham Cross Girls School on the Munster Road, The London Oratory on Seagrave road, which takes boys from age seven to 18, and girls in the sixth form. And Lady Margaret in Parsons Green, an excellent school for girls aged 11-18.
There’s no green space
Nonsense. London has some of the finest parks and commons in the world. No one’s saying that it’s the Yorkshire Dales, or the wilds of Dartmoor, but there is a wealth of family friendly spaces, both in Greater London, and more specifically in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. There’s Bishop’s park, on Bishop’s avenue, which was restored and refurbished in 2011/12 with help from the Heritage lottery, and now boasts a Grade II listing in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England. Along with bowling greens, tennis courts, and table tennis tables, Bishop’s also boasts a unique urban beach in the Summer months, a sculpture garden, rose gardens and plenty of well tended grass for those all important picnics.
Then there’s the 13 hectare Ravenscourt park, with it’s popular tea room and garden centre, beautiful landscaped gardens and numerous wildlife habits, which are perfect for those education days out. Other unique areas include Frank Banfield park, and the Margravine Cemetery, which is packed with historical features, listed buildings and wildlife conservation areas.
The London property market is a bubble and it’s going to burst
There’s no arguing that figures for London’s property market are quite startling on first glance. But it’s best to take terrifying tweets and scaremongering headlines about the imminent collapse of the property market with fairly large pinches of salt, because although prices are high, they are comparatively stable, and this trend could stay throughout 2015.
The BBC reported in January that property experts predict slower growth in the UK housing market than in 2014, with prices expected to rise around 4% (down 3% on 2014), which is below many forecasts from the previous year. This figure may seem small compared with the price rises in London (around 17% in 2014), but all figures are relative, and interestingly, a slowdown in the London market, could effect property prices outside of the capital. Peter Bolton King, the residential director of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors told the BBC that house prices will be unchanged in 2015, which could mean a rise in house prices amongst the commuter belt areas of the South East as families leave the capital in search of something cheaper. Meaning those with passion for the city and an iron will could be set to benefit from those leaving the capital as more properties enter the market and prices become more competitive.
THE COUNTRY VS THE CAPITAL
It’s all a matter of balance, what are you looking for? Each pro has it’s con, whether it’s more green spaces, which means less cafes (heaven forbid) and less houses for you to choose from. Less crowded schools usually mean that children have much further to travel to get there. A budget of £1.5m gets you a characteristic six bedroom pile in the Cotswolds, in London the same budget buys you an excellent location with everything close at hand, albeit a smaller house and some very close neighbors! Your choice.
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