The Rich/Poor Divide of Britain’s Housing

Every day, we see news stories claiming that either the property market is improving or that house prices are still too high for anyone to invest in.

The fact of the matter is that both of these claims are correct, as there is an increasing rich/poor divide in Britain’s housing.

House prices in London, for example, are still at a record high, with only those on the highest wages being able to afford good quality homes.

Here, we look at four recent stories concerning properties on both ends of the scale:

Penthouse – One Hyde Park

You would expect the price of a penthouse in the prestigious One Hyde Park block of flats to be expensive, however, recent news stories have claimed that it is now the most expensive property to rent in the whole of the UK.

Costing £45,000 a week – or £2.3m a year – this property comes with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two parking spaces, wide screen televisions throughout and, of course, a stunning view of Hyde Park.

One Hyde Park was originally built by billionaires Nick and Christian Candy, and some of its residents have included oil sheiks and the former prime minister of Qatar.

Compared to the average UK house price of £250,000, this property is nine times the price.

The Rich/Poor Divide of Britain's Housing

The Rich/Poor Divide of Britain’s Housing

Audley House – Mayfair, London

Another London based property, Audley House, held the crown for the most expensive UK private rental property before the Penthouse at One Hyde Park went on the market.

The Grade II listed building has six floors, a master bedroom larger than the average size of a UK home, four reception rooms, five bedroom suites, a family kitchen, gym and walled gardens.

Audley House costs £65,000 a month (or £780,000 a year) to rent, and this is on top of the £125,000 per year needed to run it.

Discussing the type of people that could own this house, Peter Wetherell, Managing Director of estate agents Wetherell, said: “Taking into perspective that a client could have assets of £500m or £1 billion, spending £720,000 per annum to rent a mansion in Mayfair is literally pocket change.”

3 King Street – Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent, Wales

Just south west of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the quiet town of Brynmawr recently hit the news due to being home to what has been called the cheapest house in Britain.

3 King Street is going up for auction in two weeks time for a paltry £8,000, and comes with one bedroom and one toilet (however, this is based outside the property).

Even though the property is in considerable disrepair, Paul Fosh, Managing Director of Paul Fosh Auctions in Newport, who will be conducting the auction, said: “The compact and appealing property, which could make an ideal commuter pad, would ideally benefit from full renovation and this is reflected in the keen guide price we’ve set at auction.”

The entire town of Woodnock in Accrington, Lancashire

With the housing crisis in full swing, many landlords have been called upon to stop relying on their unoccupied property insurance and start renovating sub-standard properties so they can go back on the market.

This is why it may be shocking to hear that the whole town of Woodnock in Accrington, Lancashire is practically abandoned, with entire streets of terraced houses boarded up.

Almost 75% of the town’s residents moved away after a renewal scheme was dropped in 2010, leaving the entire area a ghost town.

Hyndburn Council Deputy Leader Clare Pritchard said: “The problem here is not a lack of housing, it’s that we have the wrong kind of housing. We found that there’s no call for two up, two down housing anymore.

“We’re an old mill town and many of these homes were built before 1900; they’re not energy efficient and it’s too cramped for a family living there.

“When the Government dropped the HMR scheme, the area had around 25% occupancy. We were unable to buy the remaining residents out and they were unable to sell because who would want to buy a house in an empty area.”



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