Welcome to the inner ring!

No, I’m not talking about doughnuts (but if you have some to spare, feel free to drop a few off for me at our office in King Street – address below!), I’m talking about the Evening Standard’s new term for Hammersmith and Fulham, dubbed to be two of the most ‘family-friendly’ areas of London.

The newspaper has spent the past few weeks looking at the ‘red-hot’ rental market in the capital and how young people are now being hit with record rents. Normally, this property bubble would be relieved by those fed-up renters buying a home and saying enough is enough. But today it’s not unusual to find professional singletons and couples trapped in the rental sector thanks to unachievable deposit requirements by banks. Meanwhile, middle-aged families with cash continue to snap up the most desirable flats and houses for sale, making the reality of getting on the ladder for young people a slim reality.

But I’m not sure the newspaper has it totally right. Yes, the rents are high right now. However, more properties are coming onto the market, and new rules from the council on vacant properties and the resurgence of the buy-to-let market have helped renters regain some power in the market. 

Where the Evening Standard have got it right in my opinion is with the aforementioned demand of the four ‘inner ring’ areas – nothing to do with Homer Simpson, I assure you – which are Hammersmith, Fulham, Clapham and Balham.

A stroll down Northcote Road in Clapham shows that, like Hammersmith & Fulham, there are deep-pocketed families paying big prices for a home in a family-friendly area. When that happens, it attracts businesses to cater to those families, thus attracting the next wave of pram-wielding investors. A trip to Fulham Road features the same clientele.

I’m not surprised that the average monthly rent in London stands at £1,106 – a rise of 7.9 per cent over last year. Seeing as inflation sits just under 3 per cent and few of us have had a pay rise recently, the average renter is paying out a lot more for the roof above their head.

The solution? Building more homes, especially well-designed smaller flats, would be a good idea. But with land at a premium, buyers must also be prepared to look to areas that have yet to feel the full force of the ‘inner ring’ prices – which means Shepherds Bush. 

Yes, prices are jumping in the best parts of the Bush as well, with the western side of W12 recording the highest price rises of the lot, but there is still plenty of value to be had and lots of homes. Both sides of the Askew Road are on the up, and The Groves area north of Uxbridge Road has been ripe for an invasion of aspirational young people for some time.

So folks, don’t let the headlines depress you. Yes, it’s tough out there, but with a bit of persistence, patience and the personal touch of the staff at Horton and Garton, you could soon be unlocking the door to your future. Come and visit us if you are looking to buy or rent – and don’t forget the doughnuts.