It's all about oil

"Cherchez La Femme, Bucky. Remember that."
- James Ellroy, The Black Dhalia

From time-to-time, something we write about Brockley triggers the suggestion from someone that we are on a secret misson to inflate our own house price.

Enjoy the East London Line? House prices. Good arts festival? House prices. Like somewhere to buy fresh vegetables? House prices. Concerned about shootings? House prices.

So, just so we're all clear - yes, as a resident of Brockley, we bought a property here. Yes, we'd rather the value goes up, rather than down. No, we don't feel bad about that, nor is it a hidden agenda.

Any attempt to improve the area - whether it's reducing litter or planting flowers - will by definition make Brockley more desirable and in the long-term could increase property values in the area. That doesn't make the exercise invalid, but we're flattered that some people think BC has the power to add billions to land values in SE4.

49 comments:

Headhunter said...

I think the emphasis on house price discussions and other subjects like local farmer's markets, organic food, the Green Party, the conservation area etc is simply a reflection of the type of people who read and write comments on this blog. Also of what is perhaps prominent in the minds of its writers, Nick, Kate and Jon.

Most people here seem to be young office workers/professionals or fairly well established, property owning family peeps with kids etc. I don't get the impression that we get many readers/commenters from the local social housing estates or from less moneyed sections of Brockley society. May be I'm wrong, but that's my impression...

The Cat Man said...

im pore and eliterate

The Cat Man said...

That house on St Aspah Road put on the market by Foxtons has reduced from 515k to 480k, is brockleys housing bubble about to burst?

John Moonbow said...

Nick, don't justify yourself. Those of us who know Brockley will also know that much of the stuff was going on before the WWW was even freely available. The fact you are letting others know is a great thing. Understand the fear of change, I also have those fears of homogenisation of Brockley, but if it happens it is not due to this excellent website.

Don't do yourself down said...

I know you had a jibe on a previous thread about this blog being just about bringing up local house prices... but I thought that was really unfair. Yes if you have bought here, it's nice to feel the value of your home is going up more than many other areas, but for most of us who aren't planning on moving, it doesn't make the blindest bit of difference to our lives. Plus many (including me) would agree that houses are ridiculously inflated nationally anyway.

But this blog is about much more than that... it really makes me feel good about the area (except of course when it makes me feel awful with the recent gun stuff), it informs me about events that are happening (even if I can't always get to them), and allows everyone who wants to give their opinions on what should change in the area. What's not to like?

John said...

Nick, it's honest of you to say that you don't mind house prices going up because most people in the area pretend that they don't care in order to maintain their faux left-wing principles and I think that's possibly MY problem with the house price debate.

People who pretend that they don't want Brockley to be an enclave for middle class Guardian readers when clearly they do are my great annoyance.

I suspect that the reason why you chose to live in Brockley was because it is (was?) relatively cheap. If you couldn't afford to live in London because of rising house prices I guess that you would be complaining. From reading and contributing to other threads on this website it would seem that you want Brockley to remain sustainable, but with a continual rise in house prices this won't be achieveable.

Do people really care about gun crime or do they just care about gun crime on their doorstep in Brockley?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you tell us John. You seem to know what 'most people in the area' are thinking.
Patronising arse.

lb said...

"Do people really care about gun crime or do they just care about gun crime on their doorstep in Brockley?"

I think they probably care in a vague sense - what I suspect you're geting at, and this is a problem which afflicts all discussion about 'communities' and which direction they should go in - is that people don't have any direct experience of most of gun crime's implications. If the readers of this blog are, as mentioned above, mainly property-owning, relatively comfortable professionals, then gun crime is overwhelmingly something that happens to other people on their doorstep. Their understanding of the social (or economic) dynamics behind it will be partial at best, even if their intentions are good.

Beyond that, the same holds true for any aspirations of where the community should go and what should be done to improve it; there's a danger that any suggested improvements will only reflect the aspirations of small sections of the community. But this is, of course, why any organisations which have some influence in how the area is developed and money is spent should take care to fully engage with the community as a whole.* They must also carefully identify those qualities in a community which benefit all groups: sustainability, affordability, safety, for example.

*I'd cite the Brockley Society's recent attempts to expand its fairly specific remit into more general community issues as the kind of thing to avoid.

Hugh said...

Sorry but why the hyphens?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but why no comma?

Monkeyboy said...

Personally I'm hoping the area will become an enclave for leggy women who have a obsesive but understandable attraction to short engineers. Have to say it's not going great but I'm hopeful for the future.

Hugh said...

Nick said:

'So, just so we're all clear - yes, as a resident of Brockley, we bought a property here. Yes, we'd rather the value goes up, rather than down.'

Nick, to state the obvious, if the price goes up in line with house price inflation generally and you intend buying a larger house one day, you should prefer that house prices fall.

If instead you'd prefer that house prices in Brockley rise faster than general house prices, go ahead but that seems fanciful.

Hugh said...

Monkeyboy, if you see any evidence of that could you let me know soonest? There's a beer in it for you.

Anonymous said...

The unrepresentative nature of the readership of this blog was pretty clear during the elections - Labour swept home in Lewisham, but the majority of people on here were voting Green or Lib Dem (though a healthy minority were Labour).

Re house prices: I'd like them to fall dramatically so I can buy the rest of the house I live in, and then recover miraculously. Could that be arranged? Thanks.

Brockley Nick said...

"If instead you'd prefer that house prices in Brockley rise faster than general house prices, go ahead but that seems fanciful."

But that is precisely the argument being made; that BC is attempting to boost prices ahead of the general trend.

Hugh said...

Ignore them, Nick. They're probably in rented, yeah?

Anonymous said...

don't see why it can't happen if the area is a bit crap as a starting point and then gets considerably better as an end point. Some areas don't change too much for years on end.

15 years ago Balsall Health in Birmingham was an area where houses were vitually worthless - thanks to some serious regnerative turn around - house prices rose 700 percent in ten years. A few lucky people had bought entire streets in the down time and they were - quite clearly - laughing.

boom and bust said...

Current house prices are only sustainable as long as we have very low interest rates. Everyone looks back at the banking fiasco and says 'how could we have thought that model was sustainable?' The same logic applies to house prices, and it defies logic to have one bed flats in somewhere as unfashionable as Brockley (lovely, but unfashionable) going for six times the average salary.

Eventually, interest rates will go up, mortgages will be (even) less affordable, and house prices will fall.

Anonymous said...

http://www.balsallheathforum.org.uk/start.htm

Anonymous said...

@don't do yourself down:

I'm a homeowner in Brockley and not planning on moving at all. But I still think rising house prices are for the better as I may get a more favourable rate on a re-mortgage in a couple of years.

Mb said...

Hang on, is this a debate on house prices or a debate about the debate?

love detective said...

"I also have those fears of homogenisation of Brockley, but if it happens it is not due to this excellent website."

this is a fair point, if anything sites like this are just as much a consequence than the cause of such phenomena

Anonymous said...

what about non-home owners/renters? does BC care about them too?

Anonymous said...

Both, MB, inevitably.

Anonymous said...

Homogenisation, my arse! Brockley will never be more gentrified than the people who post to this blog (taken as a whole). Does anyone really think the population of people who post here is homogenised?

These are bizarre and unfounded fears and I envy anyone who has the time to worry about them!

Hugh said...

The notion that Brockley will ever be overrun by upper middle class families driving Porsche SUVs and having live-in nannies is absurd. Has anyone noticed how much social housing there is round here? It isn't for sale. As for the rest, it either already houses professional types or else others who, as far as I can see, have no reason to move out en masse.

The purported fear of a skinny latte and ski holidays set deluge also betrays a high level of ignorance of even recent history. The worriers seem to assume they are the first to discover the neighbourhood and that in the space of a few years their hidden gem will be spotted, polished up and be forced to go mainstream (forgive the broken metaphors, flecked with genius as the brokenness may be). Hardly. What's really happening is that such contributors are going through the same process we all go through when buying our first property. We think we've found something no one else has then eventually realise our perspective was merely that of just another person in the adolescence of his participation in the property market.

Anonymous said...

I've entered a parallel universe in which I find myself agreeing with Hugh about something. Not the 'flecked with genius' bit, obviously.

And the social housing point is a red herring. There's social housing everywhere, including Chelsea and Kensington. It's just a bit unfortunate for Brockley that much of its social housing is architecturally monstrous and sprawled right across its centre. Redevelopment of that area (with social housing and other amenities) would be the single best thing that could happen to Brockley. But I realise I am reaching for the stars....

Graham said...

Fair enough Nick. It's just that its not very interesting to read a bunch of over-educated liberals (of which I include myself in the latter and not the former) drooling over asset increases that we are never going to realise. Maybe the reason people don't like it, is because it opens something deep in our selves that we think we have suppressed!

The recent coverage of the ELL, planting on the common, info on local businesses and Brockley Max have been superb. Well done, this is an excellent blog. (the above permitting)

Q said...

The Social Housing point is a red herring. In my street there are quite a few, the majority of which are very well kept with very good people. And then there's the 'phew'..

name said...

Never trust a hippy of liberal. Ethics rule.

HappyBrockers said...

Why speculate about something out of our control? The house prices could go up, or they could go down? People might move here, who may be desirable to some, less desirable to others.
There's nothing we can do to stop this,or to make it happen en masse. So let's just take it as it comes and stop worrying about it.

Anonymous said...

I am sure people get overly concerned about house prices because it represents one of the few tangible assets that might provide a pension in their dotage.

Other investments often prove as emphemeral as the blandishment of the financial consultants. At least we can feel savvy enough to tap away at property websites and muse upon the value of our pile of bricks.

The sad fact is that there are few places to squirrel away your nest egg that are not prone to sudden and drastic erosion by the opaquness and vagaries of the financial markets.

That is the be middle class: that broad slice of society sandwiched between those who depend on the entirely on the state and those who depend on inherited wealth.

A property obsessed workmate put it succinctly one day: my house is my pension.

Anonymous said...

If your house is your pension can I suggest an alternative financial advisor?

Pete said...

What's wrong with Guardian reading liberals?

Far better that than a group of Daily Mail reading fascists surely?

Headhunter said...

Nothing wrong with worrying and talking about house prices. If I ever drop quarter of a mill +, signing up for 25 years of debt in the process, on anything else in life, I'll worry about that too...

HappyBrockers said...

Yes, but surely a better use of Brockley Central would be to be more proactive on what you feel you may be able to do locally to benefit/ improve the area you live in. Or discuss what is happening locally, so that can you enjoy Brockley in the here and now.

This in turn may, or may not boost house prices, but my point is there is not a lot else we can do about it.
I don't think Brockley Central is the best place to seek financial advice for when you retire.

Anonymous said...

Life would be very dull if we could only discuss things we could also influence, HB.

And besides, we can and do influence house prices every time we buy or sell a property. We have at least as much influence over house prices as we do over those other popular issues for discussion on here - transport and schools.

HappyBrockers said...

Fair enough Anonymous. I think it's a case of us enjoying Brockley Central for different reasons.

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough this came up on the Brockley 'Google Alert' this morning.

Au Pair needed for immediate start in Brockley...

Read it and see how many Broc stereotypes you can spot! :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think that we all wish for Brockley to improve one way of another.

Desirable areas have good transportation, good schools, parks, good daily shopping etc.

A by-product of desirable area is that people desire to live in them, therefore prices go up. Hoever if you live in a desirable area you do not care about the price because you do not need to move.

Brockley seems to have most of the characteristics of desireble areas apart from some gang shooting, the higher proportion of social housing than usual with its share of riff raffs.

The new ACE rent-a-van parking next to Brockley recently landscaped common epitomizes the transitioning struggle of this area to find its new identity.

Anonymous said...

Thats the trouble with Brockley, the vegetarians have moved in.

drakefell debaser said...

Are you sure it is not the stupid people?

HappyBrockers said...

@ DD. Stupid people?

Monkeyboy said...

Hate to get all liberal on your ass, but the assumption that people who live in social housing are 'riff raff' is not on.

Anonymous said...

@Monkeyboy unfortunately a minority of council tenants spoil it for everyone, including the rest of the housing residents that are generally beautiful people.

I lived for a while in a Council tower and I still would like to thank the neighbour who urinated every morning in the elevator.

Some other hints:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peckham_Boys

It is your prerogative not to be objective.

Mb said...

A small minority as you say, so labling council tennants as riff raff is offensive.

Percy Thrower said...

It's Dahlia, not Dhalia, Nick unless you're referring to a lesser-known, but monstrous lentil/flower hybrid that is ;)

(Reports of pedantry's demise on this blog have been greatly exaggerated.)

Anonymous said...

@MB perhaps you should go back school: ...its share of means a subset of, part of, less than the total

You introduced the equation, not me.

Mb said...

Well I did go to a comprehensive, you know the ones? they have their share of riff raff. Nice use of pre war snobbery by the way.

Much love,

Mb

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