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Can I afford it?

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Tuesday 2 September 2008 11.33pm
I've just started work in this area, and am staying on friends floors while I find somewhere to live. I've visited a few estate agents and apparently I would have to sell my organs to afford to buy here. Should I persevere (possible spelling mistake..) - or just rent?
What are the good areas to live in cheaply, ex LA is fine, but I need to be able to get to and from Guys easily?
Thanks for the help. Ab
Wednesday 3 September 2008 10.56am
Hi Ab,

Welcome to SE1.

I'd suggest you rent for at least a year. This will give you time to find an area within SE1 where you'd be happy to buy and give the market some more time to fall/stabilise (and the mortgage market to improve).

You don't say what your budget is, but I would suggest some of the ex-LA blocks off Grange Road/Southwark Park Road/Old Kent Road might fit the bill. Guys is about a 20-25 minute walk from Old Kent Road Tesco.

Would suggest trying gumtree if you are looking to room share or findaproperty or primelocation if you are looking to rent your own place.

It is expensive in SE1, but definitely worth it!

Wednesday 3 September 2008 12.57pm
I agree with the above. I'm renting and it's so much cheaper, and with prices to buy coming down every month saving me lots that way too when I do jump in. Just over the border here in SE16, myself.

That said, if you really want to buy, blocks like the Westlake (nice enough, well into SE16 but that's quick to Guy's on the Jubilee from Canada Water or local buses), will see you get a 2-bed place for about 180k, maybe less in the present climate.
Wednesday 3 September 2008 7.39pm
Hi Abigail,

If you cant afford to buy outright in this area have you thought about shared equity or any of the other assisted property purchase schemes? I bought 40% of my flat 2 years ago and rent the other 60% from L&Q.

Shared equity (known as shared ownership when I did it) schemes are not just for key workers anymore although if you are a key worker at Guys there will be more schemes open to you. For most of them you need to be on the council waiting list in the borough you want to buy. The hardest part of the process is getting on that list, it took me nearly a year from first contacting the council to getting the magic list registration number (they kept losing my forms, didnt turn up for appointments...) You need to be able to prove you have lived in Southwark (or the borough you want to buy in) for a year before you can go on the housing list. In the meantime you can research which housing associations will accept you and register with them. Lots of hoops to jump through and lots of patience required and research to be done but its worth it. I could never afford to buy the whole of a flat as nice as mine in such a great location if it wasnt for shared equity. If you want to know more, do let me know.

Wednesday 3 September 2008 10.34pm
Ahh cheers these are some great replies guys thank you, what a brilliant website. I think renting for a while to suss out the area's a sound idea, and the assisted property purchase schemes would be ideal. I cycle to work so old kent road area would be fine, what I really fancy is a flat in an old building rather than a shiny laminated new build but I know beggars cant be choosers. Well not exactly but 180K is my definite limit. Dont really want to go out of the area as I do a lot of nights and need to be able to get home at all hours. (preferably without the night bus experience, wonderful though it is to watch pissed men fighting at 3 in the morning) Gordon when you say I need to have lived in the area for a year before applying does staying on someones couch for a couple months count, or should I get out and start renting as soon as poss?
Hey it is nice here innit! Ab
Thursday 4 September 2008 9.35am
Staying on someones couch does count if for example your bank statements & mobile phone bills are sent to that address. That way you can prove you live there. Its only to get on the council waiting list that needs a year of residence in the borough. If you are seriously thinking about it you can contact housing associations and register with them now, theyre just unlikely to accept an application for a specific sheme or property until you have your council housing waiting list number. In the current housing climate though things are losening up and rules are relaxing for shared ownership.

Its a good idea to register with all the organisations that will have you and see what they are offering in thier brochures, view a few places, attend a few new launch presentations before you are in a position to apply for one. That way you know whats out there and will know you have found the perfect place. I viewed a fair few overpriced shoeboxes before I found my home, and Im very happy in it.

Most are new build but there are resales of older properties as well. Stagnell Fox estate agents tend to have shared ownership resales on thier books and buying through them you bypass the council waiting list process.

Welcome to SE1, good luck and happy cycling.
Friday 5 September 2008 11.35pm
Cheers Gordon and everyone Ab

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