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Buying or renting in London

By Connell Patricia


Buying or renting in London

Many people are probably still pondering this question as they are getting ready for the festive season and this may be one of their new year's resolutions.
Last week, I was talking about this very thing with one of the new members of our team who had started to find it unbearable to have to share a flat with very disagreeable flat mates. Her and her husband had been sharing a flat with 3 other people and up until recently things had been going fine until one of them had her new girl friend move in. Does this remind you of anything? Well, who hasn't had the flat mate's new boy friend or girl friend create this new tension?
Anyway this was when they decided that enough was enough and that they had to do something about getting a place of their own. And about time too! The big question was whether they should buy or rent their next place. And then immediately after came: How much can we afford? Where should we do it? Is buying wise in this unstable environment? Can the market crash?...And so on and so forth...
Being a young couple without a family, they decided that living in central London near their work had to be their main goal if they wanted to be able to carry on enjoying the London scene without worrying about transport. Spending most of their time commuting was not an option.
To help them further, we asked a few agencies what they were recommending at this stage for young couples. Here is what they told us:

  According to Boulle International
What would you recommend a young couple to do?
First of all, one thing is certain, nothing can be found for less than £200K in the nicer parts of town: Notting Hill, Holland Park, Kensington. It is key for young people who might not be in London forever. Young people are from a generation that can be called to the other side of the world at anytime. They are more likely to live in more than one country during their working life. This is why they have to look at their purchase as if they were looking at investing for their future.

  • It has to be easy to rent out if need be. Therefore they have to think of areas that are quite safe in terms of rental and always sought after.
  • They have to pick an area were the buy-to-let investors are not as prevalent and this means that areas such as Docklands which in a way could offer them more for their money may also be harder to rent out or to sell should the market become more difficult.
  • The flat or house has to be within less than 10 minutes from a main train or tube station. Preferably, their journey should be without changes and take less than 45 minutes door to door.
  • As a first time buyer, they should not buy something requiring a lot doing to it. It should only be small decoration jobs unless of course their knowledge stretches to damp proofing, rewiring, plumbing etc...

Do you think that they should always be looking at Properties in Central London?

  • - No, not automatically, there are some areas that are extremely sought after such as Ealing, Richmond and Kew. They all have easy access to London. Similarly, over the last few years some people who have invested around Paddington have seen their investment flourish in the last few years. But this was a bit of a gamble at the time.

Do you think that it is the right time to buy in London?

  • It's always the right time to buy in London if you are not thinking of making a quick investment. Rents are so high that you are always better off buying. In addition; interest rates are so low.
    For young couples, it is also particularly key because they have a feeling of investing themselves into something not just money.
    logo Boulle

Property Boulle

    Chard of Notting Hill told us the following:
What you think young people should do? Buy or Let?
  • Let's not forget that this is now a tenant's market. Rental is still down by approx. 20% on 4 years ago. There are some really good deals to be had. One bedroom flats that were £300 per week a year ago have now come down to £250 around Notting Hill for example. Very good large studio flats are also available around £200.
  • Flats have never been better furnished and looked after by landlords. Most of the flats we take have been completely done up with new kitchen and new bathroom.
  • I would say therefore that given the instability of the market, people should still look at renting rather buying in the next 6 to 12 months. Many of our landlords are not subsiding their tenants because the rent they achieve does not cover their mortgage.eir tenants because the rent they achieve does not cover their mortgage.
  • Of course, with renting, you do not run the risk of negative equity and you have far less of a commitment.

What about rent deposit? Many young people don't trust their landlords?
Of course you can always ask for the rent to be kept by the agent rather than by the landlord. This stops any problems occurring. Most landlords however, will only charge you for what you have damaged and for the cleaning of the property if you haven't had it cleaned professionally before leaving. Some may also charge you for missing sets of keys, bulbs etc. Make sure that a proper inventory is carried out before you move in and after you have moved out..
You could also ask to speak to a previous tenant in the same way that landlords ask for a previous landlord's reference.

logo Chard

house in London

house with garden in London

Having spoken to a number of estate agents, I came to the conclusion that you could easily make a case for either buying or renting. In the end, if I was a young married couple, I would seriously think about buying knowing that average house prices are predicted to triple by 2020 by the Centre of Economics and Business (CEBR). It is expected to reach £300k i.e. a 6.2% annual rise. Let's not forget that most mortgage companies would still require a 5 to 10% deposit, making things even more difficult for first time buyer.
Fortunately, some mortgage lenders such as Northern Rock are now offering 105% or even 125% mortgages with guarantees but at interesting rates.
Newcastle Building Society has designed a 100% loan guarantor mortgage fixed at 5.99% until March 2007. Guarantors need only prove that they can cover the shortfall. For example, a young solicitor on £25,000 could borrow £100k but wants to buy a flat at £135K. A normal guarantor would require the parents to pledge all the costs, whereas this product will require only £35k excess to be covered.
On this very happy thought; happy flat hunting.


23/03/2012 - lesliecottenceau said :

Londres: vente, achat et/ou location dans votre langue
L'agence Century 21 "Abbey-road" s'est specialisee dans la gestion de biens proches de la gare internationale Saint-Pancras, dans les quartiers de Euston et Camden, ainsi que de l'autre cote de Regents park dans le quartier de Saint Johns Wood. Centraux, ces quartiers proposent des biens de qualite a des prix plus abordables que les quartiers huppes de South Kensington ou Chelsea, dans un cadre de vie dynamique et agreable. Besoin de vendre, d'acheter ou de louer un bien dans ces quartiers (ou ailleurs dans Londres), y compris depuis la France, le tout avec le confort d'un conseiller immobilier dans votre langue? Demandez Leslie au 02073282930, par mail a ou rendez-vous directement a l'agence Century 21, 116 Boundary road, London, NW8 0RH. Notre site internet:,bid=62. Pour information : 50% de reduction sur la commission d'un bien vendu par nos soins jusqu'au 31 mai 2012. Je vous attends !

29/08/2010 - matthieu.cany said :

Cet article a grandement besoin d'etre mis a jour
c'est fini les LTV a 125%!


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