House prices - a new twist on an old theme

A while back, in one of our regular discussions about house prices, one reader tried and failed to start a discussion about the rental market, as they were a landlord in the area looking for some local insights.

As luck - or vigilant monitoring of the internet - would have it, a locally-based lettings expert and top-selling property writer, David Lawrenson of got in touch shortly afterwards, to volunteer his services. So here's a quick interview with him about his take on the Brockley rental market:

Tell us what you think of Brockley?
Of all the places in London I’d be most surprised if Brockley and the surrounding area is not an even more dynamic and happening place 5 years from now that is it today, which is one of the reasons I enjoy living here.

Much of the housing has improved over recent years and some of the smaller “high streets” in the borough have gentrified better than others with good interesting shops near Honor Oak Park station and Brockley. I love Hillyfields - what great views – and it is where I am involved as manager of a local boys’ football team.

What about the changes happening elsewhere in the borough?
I worry about the Mayor’s plans for central Lewisham. I cannot see why so many new flats are being built. People want houses with gardens not flats and I can only see more traffic as a result.

I bet that in another ten years time the Mayor will be making the roundabout even bigger to accommodate all the extra traffic, thus gobbling up even more of the centre of Lewisham. It seems nuts.

Of course, the big change happened almost nine years ago when Lewisham got the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) which instantly connected it to the glass “satanic money mills” of Canary Wharf - and more recently the London City Airport. That was a good thing as are many of the other things that have happened.

Any other downsides to the area?
The only down real side of the area is potentially schools because it seems that many of the good secondaries are over-subscribed which will always put a bid of a lid on things here and may make people move out.

What about house prices and rents?
In terms of house prices and rent, the conservation areas in Lee, Brockley and Telegraph Hill (New Cross Gate/ Brockley) are already expensive relative to local areas (and are all near to green spaces), but in many other parts of Lewisham a decent one bed flat can be bought for under £160,000 and two bed terraces for under £220,000 while rents for a one bed flat average about £750 per calendar month and for a two bed terrace about £900 per month.

Still, these figures are still very low relative to other areas in North London that are as close to central London. Try getting a one bed flat for that in Kilburn or Islington and you’ll see what I mean.

The really big story is of course the extension of the East London Line from New Cross down to Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and Sydenham and then on to Croydon and Crystal Palace and making these areas more accessible to the northern edge of the City and to Highbury and Islington in North London.

As a property writer I like to keep quiet about our area though I mentioned it in my blog on 6th June 2009 whilst looking at how house prices locally seem to have already turned the corner.

There is no doubt that the East London Line will make this area a more expensive place to live, but I hope it won’t destroy its creativity and diversity.

Where is the market going for landlords?

Well, we have a very small rented sector in the UK that will continue to grow. A lot of the sector supports people on local housing allowance so that is not going to disappear unless the government builds a lot more social housing stock – a thing I think they should do but probably won’t.

Of course, there is more legislation now which the bad landlords will continue to ignore (just like they do all the rest of the legislation because it is too poorly and slowly enforced). If you are a good tenant you will get a good landlord and if you are a bad landlord you will get a bad tenant. Good and bad landlords find their equals in the tenants they get and the same goes for good and bad tenants.

Oh and I’ve got 20 copies of the latest print of my book to give away for just £1.50 each. Get in touch with me at my site!


Anonymous said...

I groaned when I saw the title of this, but the chap talking sounds like he considers area more than just a cash cow to be milked.

Interesting to see that people in the trade also look warily at the plans for central Lewisham. What's being proposed will completely change Lewisham and probably not for the better.

No one will want to spend their whole lives there. People always want to trade up to a house. It will probably become a rentrification hotspot. It doesn't appear that Bullock and the rest consider these things. Flats, flats and more flats.

Sonny said...

Have you checked out

Here's the link

Headhunter said...

Aaah, house prices! I thought it was pretty clear why so many flats were being built in central Lewisham - to fund construction of the new leisure centre and other changes

Anonymous said...

Re social housing the Prime Minister possibly hinted at announcements over the next few months.

Would the government buy some of the properties built by private developers? Thus easying some the social housing pressures while at the same time stimulating the housing sector of the economony.

Re schools, you've got your answer at Lewisham Bridge where a group of parents are prepared to sacrific their children's secondary education for the sake of a primary school that didn't exactly get an outstanding OFSTED report.

Hugh said...

How many 'top-selling' property writers give away their books for £1.50?

And how many like to keep quiet about their own neighbourhood?

Tressillian James said...

Well at least one by the evidence in front of us..

angelofthewest said...

So, good landlords find good tenants? how, exactly? Tenants, how did you find your current flat? What made you choose it? Are people negotiating their rent down this year? Or, are rents rising with the ELL (bit early for that, surely)?

lettingfocus said...

Lots of answers on these issues on my blog.
Re the price of book, it is just nice to do something for the community, I guess. Also, a new edition will be out in three months (featuring just a few changes) and I have some copies left of the previous print. That is why I'm doing it at this price!
I see someone said "top selling book" in inverted commas, well I can confirm it is the UK's top selling property book.
You can buy it at full price at Amazon if you is the link.
Best regards David Lawrenson

Hugh said...

From what you've just said I'm not sure I rate your logic or your writing ability.

Anonymous said...

must have a problem flogging it...

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

For what it's worth, here is the latest news on House Prices from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

"RICS research published today reveals that most surveyors are now reporting that the gap between asking and selling price is narrowing. In contrast, last August's results showed a widening gap. Across the UK, houses are selling at an average of 11 percent below the asking price, with sellers in some regions being forced to accept as much as 26 percent discount off their advertised price. The north still seems to be the worst affected region, where vendors are accepting offers, on average, at only 74 percent of asking prices. However, 63 percent of surveyors in that region did report that the gap between asking price and selling price was narrowing."

Good old statistics.

Brockley_Badger said...

Mr Lawrenson - not to be confused with the, once moustachioed, Mr Lawrenson of MOTD fame - happens to be just as logical as Bertie Russell ever was, and is as able and articulate a writer as Harry Murakami. He makes a fine cup of tea to boot: I defy anyone to say anything different.

Admittedly, a few biscuits wouldn't have gone amiss - but, "beggars can't be choosers" (his words, not mine). Still, it should probably be noted that the maxim was used with direct reference to the ethically dubious practice of buying properties below market value - and renting them back to the previous owners...just don't "quote" him on it.


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