Friday 21 August 2015

Ex-Council property in Clapham & Brixton? Buy now, the stigma is gone!

I was speaking to a buyer the other day and they were delighted with their new purchase. A two bedroom ex-local authority flat on the Cowley Estate in Brixton. They were delighted, despite it needing masses of work in the form of renovation. Having previously been let to a housing association you can imagine the state of disrepair it was in. Thankfully the bathroom was fully tiled, so that was the saving grace, just cleaning to be done there.

But as all good first time buys on a budget go, with a lot of blood, sweat, tears and elbow grease they will have that flat in pristine condition in no time. Or a lot of time, but it doesn't matter. Ultimately they have bought well. Having sold a few on the Cowley estate in my time I couldn't believe the way prices have changed over the years. For the better of course.

The estate itself has undergone a radical change over the years. Security gates with fob entry to keep the rogue parkers and their cars out, a refurbished playground for the children, and a whole host of improvements to windows and communal areas.

So who is buying these flats? Well it's not just buy to let investors that want to rent to LHA tenants. The buyers are young professionals who are buying to live in. And whether the new occupants are tenants or buyers, the number of people returning home from work in their suits and skirts (clearly just stepped out of the office in the City) was amazing. A real change.

These new buyers were telling me all of their friends were buying ex-local authority apartments. It's not just the Cowley estate that has massively improved over time, but others locally as well. Lambeth has been on a mission to improve their estates over the past few years and it certainly does show. The influx of professional buy to let landlords, together with competing first time buyers after value for money property is changing the demographic of these estates altogether.

I remember one of my first encounters in a block on Union road. Three girls came to see it. I arrived early, there were kids screaming, youths being thuggish and laughing around a burning car, boys on mopeds pulling wheelies. Nice. But gladly that doesn't happen any more, and prices have nearly doubled since then, in terms of rentals and sales.

So moral of the story? Ex-local authority flats are the new hot thing. If you're buying to live in or invest, the influx of suits that are a bit savvy is hard to avoid. Coming to an estate near you.

If you'd like some pointers with your purchase, investment or otherwise, feel free to pick up the phone and give me a call. Happy to talk. Or if it's easier drop me a line on


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  3. Hi I read on the web that the inheritance tax for non resident owners of UK properties can be minimized by the following: 1) mortgage loans 2) threshold of £ 650K if owned by a couple under joint tenancy. Do you have the same understanding?site


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