Like them or not council houses are no longer seen as the poor person’s option as the shortage of properties in some areas of the UK means that they are in big demand particularly in London.
Home ownership for many in the last century was a distant dream. A council house or flat was often the best someone from an average working class job could hope for if a family had only one breadwinner.
Yet council houses were one of the most successful government initiatives which improved the lives of a large numbers of people and took many out of slums and into decent homes to raise their families.
The stigma that became attached to council housing came about largely in the 1980s where a new class of people were able to afford to buy their own homes and to some extent began to look down their noses at people who couldn’t.
The 80s was the decade of Margaret Thatcher and living to excess. It was also the start of a new era of home ownership and a newfound hope that hard work could pay off and there was no better way to keep up with the Joneses than having the means to buy your own property free from state control.
Council houses by comparison would eat up much less of a household’s budget. The people who decided to stay in them also managed to benefit from the introduction of the Right To Buy which allowed people to buy to buy the property they lived in at substantial discounts.
This transformed former council estates into areas where the vast majority of houses were owner occupied. Yet the stigma remained and to some extent it still does in some areas of the country. Council houses are still valued at less than equivalent privately built properties in most areas of the country.
There are signs however that attitudes are changing and this is happening at the epicentre of the UK’s property market. Ex council homes in London’s Soho are current in huge demand not only from tenants but also buyers even if some examples look far less attractive to look at than some of the impressive new luxury apartments you will see on offer in this part of London.
Rob Hill, Director of Soho based Greater London Properties says “Having our shop front in Broadwick St, Soho, means we are surrounded by ex-council apartment blocks so naturally Vendors approach us first for rental and sales valuations.
It’s incredible the waiting list we have on these flats, particularly for sales. These properties will regularly go Under Offer even before hitting the market.”
This demand largely stems from value for money. An ex council flat in Soho will rent for considerably less than swankier residences and it will also be much cheaper to buy if as a buyer you’re willing to sacrifice glamour.
For savvy investor who look at property as a pure investment, ex council properties are beginning to look like a wise investment choice.
Posted on: March 4, 2015