Property Pisstake

I don’t want too much TV, but one show that I absolutely adore is The Apprentice. I could sit and watch that show all day and be grossly entertained. This week’s episode however, had my blood boiling in rage, with me screaming obscenities repeatedly at the television screen (Apologies to my mum if she overheard my “French”). Only this time my anger had nothing to do with the usual absurdities and delusion of the candidates chasing that £250,000 prize, no names mentioned… cough, cough, Selina… cough, cough, Charleine…

You see, this week’s task was all about property, which straight away had my attention, being someone who is interested in climbing onto that highly desirable property ladder. In this particular episode the candidates were selling properties (cos that’s what the world needs, more bloody estate agents!) in various areas of London – such as Clapham, Canary Wharf and Stratford. Here’s the bit that made me angry and nearly chuck my TV out of the window… The selling prices for these properties ranged from £350,000 to £1m… And they weren’t mansions… Oh no. They were flats. Just regular 1,2,3-bedroom, some even studio flats.

And this to me highlights the current crisis of the housing market… Who in their right mind would ask for upwards of £350,000 for a basic studio/1-bed flat, and even crazier and more enraging, why the hell would anyone be willing to fork out that kind of money for that?!!! I’ve lived in London all my life, I’ve been to almost every crook and cranny of the capital, and trust me, there is NOWHERE in London that is worth that kind of stupid money when all you’re getting in return is a tiny little shoebox! If I’m paying £350,000 for a 1-bed flat it best come with a slave and a prostitute!

I’m currently still living at home with my mum (I dare you, say something!) in West London. Would I like to move out? Sure! Why wouldn’t I want my own space and independence? But am I willing to pay the rip-off prices and be bent over by the housing market? Hell bloody no! I work hard for the money I earn and don’t feel like pissing it away.

Some people have said to me “But Nath, once you buy in London you’ll always make money on it. You’ll have a sell-on value.” That’s the thing. I get that point, it’s a valid one, but living in London isn’t a business or investment for me. It’s life. I’m born and bred here. I’ve spent my entire life in the same area. I’ve been in the same house for 19 years now. I have my close family and friends all nearby. You can’t put a price on that, can you? At the same time I’m not keen on moving out of London just to find somewhere cheaper – why should I be forced out of my hometown, away from the life I know? – So I only have one option. With my mum it is for now.

I know this isn’t just a London issue. I’m aware that the topic of ever-increasingly extortionate house prices is a nation-wide epidemic. I’m just using London as I live here and the properties on the show were there too.

And I don’t just think of myself here also. More worryingly I look at my younger brother, my younger sisters and my younger cousins and think “If I’m suffering, what chance have they got?” What property prices are they going to be faced with? £1m just to stay in someone’s shed?!

This housing crisis needs to be tackled. How? That’s the killer question. I would say that people take a stand and not buy in London but that wouldn’t work. The city is such a hotspot that there’ll always be people who are willing to buy, no matter what the rip-off is, be it people with money to waste, investors or buy-to-let landlords who are merely adding to the problem for their own personal gains.

I don’t know what the solution is. But I do know one thing… I won’t be watching that episode of The Apprentice again, for my own health!

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