LONDON (UK) REAL ESTATE

The London real estate or property market has been on fire this year with prices up by 15%. The Government is attempting to cool the market by raising short term interest rates and hence variable mortgage rates. The underlying problem is that there is just not enough product for sale. Walking downtown, all you see are 'sold' signs and nothing 'for sale'. So raising the rates may slow down the market but there will be no drop in prices here.
Unlike Toronto, there are only a few cranes on the skyline building new condos or 'flats' as they call it over here. Like Paris, most of the product is over 50 years old. If you find a renovated property, be prepared to pay!!
Freehold townhouses or row houses are easily over a million pounds (that's $2.2 million even with our strong dollar)! In less desirable areas - you might find something for 600,000 pounds and if you want to be trendy, you can spend 2-3 million - and that is pounds! Trying to figure out a price on a per square foot basis is tricky. But 500 pounds or about $1200 is about average and that does not get you parking and multiple bathrooms are rare.
My earlier articles have talked about the Toronto experience in pricing. The resale market used to be $300+ per square foot. Now any offering under $400 should be looked at carefully. Toronto condo prices, although moving up by 10% this year, are still way below those of other major cities.
A final observation. The UK does not have an MLS system. Each brokerage company has their own exclusive listings and so a buyer has to visit every company in order to find out what is available. Sold information is difficult to get too. The end result is more of a 'cowboy' market with BUYER BEWARE a real staple. There is a real proliferation of real estate shows - at least four or five every day. That's one of the few ways people know about prices. And with these shows, everyone thinks they can buy, renovate and flip properties for easy money. If only it were that easy.

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