Rohit Sabhlok said he’s upset he lost a bidding war on a London house. Katy Barnes bought her home to avoid rising rents, while Holly Martin purchased hers as an investment. Both are hooked on a website that shows their property values soaring. Kay Durrant used her home’s growing equity value to pay bills.
Welcome to London’s frenzied housing market, where low mortgage rates and a dearth of properties for sale have sent prices rising in a year by an amount almost twice the average annual London wage. From centuries-old pubs to Mayfair clubs to the halls of Parliament, London is abuzz with talk of escalating values, foreign buyers with piles of cash and half-built garages selling for vast sums.
London’s housing boom “has become a mainstay of conversation,” said Paul Stenson, an asset manager at Dunbar Assets Plc as he sipped a pint of Aspall cider at Ye Olde Cock Tavern on Fleet Street, a pub dating back to 1549. “Never mind the hackneyed view of it being the conversation of dinner parties, it’s gone beyond that. It’s like the elevator music that’s constantly on play.”