Ramblings on the Stokey/Clapton housing bubble
Hands up if you bought your home in Stokey, Dalston or Clapton donkey’s years ago and thank your lucky stars that you did?
Hands up if you’d love a family-sized home here but have been priced out of the market?
It’s bonkers, right? Even a typical three-bedroom home comes with a seven figure price tag in some parts of the area and professional working families are facing tough choices of location vs. space.
We spoke to one local family, an editor and a doctor of psychology, who recently started a family here. When they moved in Stokey was deemed “up-and coming” and they thought making the move to a bigger home wouldn’t be an issue.
Kate said: “It’s amazing how quickly prices shot up. We’re facing a big decision. Our flat isn’t big enough for two children so we can either move further out to a neighbouring area where we’d have tough choices over schooling or we can bite the bullet and buy a big family-sized home somewhere like Hertfordshire where the school choices are better.
“We love Stokey and would be very sad to leave but we have to do what’s best for our family, and homes close enough to the schools we’d like our daughter to attend are beyond our reach.”
It must be good news for the building trade though, as high sales prices leave families carving out new rooms in the cellar or adding extra floors to the roof to create enough space.
Having a family brings whole new challenges when it comes to home-owning. Families who bought properties in parts of N16 thinking they’d be a shoe-in for the sought-after William Patten Primary School faced bitter disappointment this year when they were refused places. The blow was enough to convince some to move away.
According to local estate agent Location Location average sales prices rose by 18-20% at the start of the year in Stokey and Clapton, with over 30 prospective buyers per property. Many landlords chose to cash in on the rising sales market and this had an impact on available rental stock.
Vicky Bibiris, Sales Director at Location Location, said there had been a slight cooling – “a pause for breath” - over the summer months. She added: “We are still seeing strong demand from home buyers anticipate the market will pick up again in the next few months, albeit at a more sustainable pace.”
It’ll be interesting to see what impact an interest rate hike will have (it’s anticipated in April) on property prices. Perhaps more families on variable rate mortgages will up-sticks as monthly repayments become unaffordable or perhaps we’ll see a cooling in house prices in response.
Whatever happens, London’s crazy housing bubble is being felt throughout Clapton, Dalston, Tottenham, Walthamstow and other nearby areas as families move there to get the space they’d like.
We met one local mum who left N16 and chose to buy a large four bedroom home in South Tottenham with a big garden. For her family the choice was whether to stretch themselves buying a small house in Stokey and educate their child in the state system or buyer a cheaper, bigger home further out and use the money they saved on a private school.
It’s sad to think of lower income families being gradually squeezed out of parts of North London as new areas become ‘up-and-coming’. For me, the magic of London is the vibrancy that’s created when families of all incomes and character live side by side.
What do you think? Send us your comments and we’ll post them here.