Advice needed - where can I buy in London/SE on 190k budget?

(56 Posts)
stargirl0412 Mon 15-Jul-13 18:34:47

Hi folks, I'm afraid I have a pauper's budget - single woman with no partner in a poor-earning profession (by London standards), but in my industry London is where the work is.

I've looked into shared ownership but I'm getting on a bit and think that shared o/ship is fine if you're in your 20s and 30s but not if you're older.

I have a decent deposit (around 70k) but combined with my income, it still won't get me much.

I really hate myself for admitting this because it sounds so snobbish but I just can't bring myself to buy an ex-local authority flat in London. The main reason (I think) is because ex-LA buildings just look so ugly and depressing.

I would also be worried about tough neighbours/drug problems/ gangs etc, not to mention the fact that you can be landed with enormous repair bills. (I've heard of people being asked to cough up 30k plus).

A colleague has just bought an ex-LA flat in Charlton but she is a braver woman than I am. blush

I can't afford Forest Hill and Sydenham, wouldn't dare live in Peckham, but would consider moving out of town into Kent, Essex or Surrey.

I'd like a two-bed, ideally, but realise I can probably only get a one-bed if I want to live somewhere decent.

Greenhithe looks affordable - does anyone have any advice about this place as I don't know it at all?

I can afford Belvedere and Welling, but hear that both are pretty grim. I don't want to move to a chav town particularly, but realise I'm on a limited budget.

Anyone got any bright ideas? I need to be on a train line no farther out than 45mins from London stations.


HeadFairy Mon 15-Jul-13 18:38:28

I have no idea what Abbey Wood is like, but a quick search brought up this Victorian house which is quite sweet. You could try to negotiate on the price a bit.

HeadFairy Mon 15-Jul-13 18:40:31

All the flats in your price range seem to be to the south east of London this has got 2 double beds, you could rent one out

I have a friend who lives in Charlton... it's not too bad you know. Greenwich park is around the corner.

Helpyourself Mon 15-Jul-13 18:43:36

Peckham's a million times nicer than Abbey Wood!
More central, better shopping and a complete cross section of society. Lots of families, trendy singletons, everyone. It's genuinely mixed socially, economically and ethnically. Abbey Wood is none of the above.
Where do you live now OP? What do you like doing?

BabCNesbitt Mon 15-Jul-13 18:52:35

Peckham's not that bad, you know! There are lots of gorgeous Victorian terraces on the streets south of Peckham Road and west of Rye Lane, and it's being hyped as 'the new Dalston' for its arty-type nightlife (though I'll leave it to you to decide if that's a good or a bad thing). Close to East Dulwich for restaurants, lots of shops for fresh fruit and veg, and Peckham Rye Common is lovely! And it's in zone 2!

(Disclaimer: I do not work for any SE15 estate agents.)

smokinaces Mon 15-Jul-13 18:57:27

Some areas of greenhithe are ok - ingress park is the new estate there. Some areas of Gravesend are ok too, and some walking distance from train station. Gravesend has the fast links to north london top, 17minutes. You also have ebbsfleet area, I'd avoid Northfleet but the new springhead park is ok, as is maritime gate and both 15-20 minutes straight walk to ebbslfeet station. Depends if you'd pay the premium to get the high speed.

Bexleyheath has some nice places. What about on the southern line, so into Victoria? Bromley, near Bromley south? Hayes is nice and a short bus ride from Bromley south.

stargirl0412 Mon 15-Jul-13 19:03:34

Thanks folks - some interesting suggestions. Those two houses look nice - esp. the one in SE18. However, Abbey Wood is on the forthcoming Crossrail route and would be a good bet for that reason.

The reason I don't like Peckham is because I used to ride through it late at night on my motorbike to get to my now exDP's flat, and I used to pray that my bike would not break down in Peckham.

I just found the whole atmosphere there - and the behaviour of other road users specifically in that area - very intimidating. Not a place I would want to walk around alone late at night. I would be fine living there if I had a partner living in, but as a single woman coming home late at night on a regular basis, Peckham is a big No for me. Sorry!

HeadFairy Mon 15-Jul-13 20:24:53
HeadFairy Mon 15-Jul-13 20:26:34
DizzyPurple Mon 15-Jul-13 20:27:54

Orpington and surrounds? Quite a varied area. Easy commute to central London. Lots of nice bits, don't believe everything you might read, most areas are fine!

Can i interest you in my 2 bed in Barking, under your budget and 10 mins from zone 4 tube? grin

stargirl0412 Mon 15-Jul-13 20:49:02

Head Fairy, that's really helpful - thank you. The only downside with the second one is that it's on a very busy and congested road (which I know well); The other one is lovely, but I'm not keen on the integrated lounge/kitchen arrangement unless it's within a much bigger space - Sorry, I sound a real fusspot!

Orpington sounds good. As for Barking, I hope I don't offend you but I asked the police in Barking what it was like and an officer told me that if he was buying, he'd look at Romford or Hornchurch, but not Barking.

I'm sure it's not that bad though - the police always see the worst in everything. Isn't that on the Crossrail route too?

GrandPoohBah Mon 15-Jul-13 20:54:47

Where do you need to get to in central London?

fuckwittery Mon 15-Jul-13 20:57:28

45 mins to where in London? I commute from leafy Herts and there are definitely some places you could buy for 190k a nice flat or small house, with 30 minutes or so to Kings Cross or St Pancras.

Tonbridge - 2 bed terrace house for about 170. 35-40 min to london bridge, cannon st, waterloo or charing cross. Always felt safe at night, good road links, countryside within walking distance. Downside is last train around midnight.

dueanamechange Mon 15-Jul-13 21:06:31

I love this sort of thing, here I go:

If your compromise is losing the second bedroom, I would go for this, a nice neat simple ready to move in solution, good layout, Ladywell is really improving as people that can't afford Brockley, Forest Hill etc. are moving slightly across. Cafes on your doorstep. Make money renting the car space if you don't own a car as it is right opposite the station, to me seems overpriced:

Same block, needs a bit of work, shortish lease, but not too short, massive price difference:

If you really want something period, and with access to a garden, this is a really quiet road as it is a cul de sac, a bit quiet for walking home alone at night if that bothers you (I can get unnerved by that sort of thing, but not actually a bad road, mostly private owned but council housing at the cul de sac end), but would be fine on a motorbike:

If you could bring yourself to view an ex-council, you have a short walk to Blackheath from here, and has a private garden, private housing near here is very expensive:

Not quite sure why this is so cheap, but maybe worth enquiring about:

stella1w Mon 15-Jul-13 21:10:06

Penge.. Five mins from sydenham, forest hill, crystal palace,,lots of smaller affordable properties, great transport links..walk to beckenham.

stargirl0412 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:25:46

Wow, thanks folks! Penge - that is a great idea. Thanks Stella. Due a namechange - I like the first two and the ex-council one. You're right about the huge price difference between first and second in same block: lease extension would cost about 20k and you would need a new bathroom, £5k, and possibly new kitchen, 5k, so another 30k spent - but even taking that into account it would still be 20-25k lower than the first one (which is very nice, admittedly).

The last one you mention I suspect is a major surgery job as there are no interior pics, plus it has very small rooms. But cheap.

Other folks who responded: Tonbridge sounds a good possibility; and I need to get to London Bridge.

Anyone know Dartford well? Would you recommend it? Or Bexleyheath, Bexley?

Not dartford.

Helpyourself Mon 15-Jul-13 21:43:33

Good point about Peckham. I'm rarely there in the evening and probably have rose coloured spectacles!

Helpyourself Mon 15-Jul-13 21:44:55

But I'm afraid I'm with 3bunnies on Dartford/ Bexley/ Bexleyheath!

stella1w Mon 15-Jul-13 21:46:36

I call penge the bermuda triangle of house prices. It has four stations within walking distance taking you to cannon st/london bridge/victoria plus the overground. Lots of buses, plus 176 all the way up to town, plus the tram to croydon, wimbledon, lots of shops, etc. And affordable.

littlecrystal Mon 15-Jul-13 21:47:39

I don't know whether you like period properties or purpose built, but for your budget plenty of choices in S.Norwood/Woodside area. Plenty of good spots, too - just don't buy close too close to the High Street.

littlecrystal Mon 15-Jul-13 21:59:00

Oh forgot to add the commute is 12 mins to London Bridge.

dueanamechange Mon 15-Jul-13 22:12:34

If you look further out, factor in rail prices if you commute.

twinklestar2 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:19:55

That property in Lee that dueanamechange posted is lovely. I know Lee quite well and it's an alright place to live in SE London. Only 12 mins to London bridge too and near blackheath which is lovely. Not sure if the area is up and coming but my friend brought a 2 bed flat there for 205k 5 years ago and sold it for 310k last year!

hither green is quiet and peaceful. Some areas of Sidcup are ok too.

Southeastdweller Mon 15-Jul-13 22:20:18

I wouldn't bother with South Norwood or Catford and I agree with you that Peckham is horrible. Sydenham is a little better, though.

I think I'd live further out, as in Kent, so you can get an easy commute to London Bridge (where I commute to) even if it means getting a one-bedder. Not a fan of the S.E 'burbs (I live in one for now but leaving in the autumn and I can't bloody wait)

mooseisabunny Mon 15-Jul-13 22:25:06


Further out but 30 mins to London Bridge? You can buy a house for 200000!

mummytime Mon 15-Jul-13 22:38:20
stargirl04 Mon 15-Jul-13 23:37:15

Littlecrystal - why do I need to stay away from the High St in S Norwood, is it a bit dangerous or is it just ugly? I prefer purpose built (newish) as the sound proofing tends to be better and, so I'm told, fewer things go wrong with them as they're more modern, but I guess I'd settle for period property if I had to grin.

I was slightly put off period property after going to a viewing in Anerley and I could hear thudding coming from upstairs. The tenant explained that the upstairs resident was doing her keep fit! It felt as though it was a herd of elephants doing a dance.

When the estate agent called me a couple of days later I told him I was put off by the noise from the flat above and he said that "was the problem with period properties". He said when he and his wife moved into their flat they got the keys and on their first night there could hear the folks upstairs having a conversation.

Is this common with period property or was I just unlucky? or was it a lucky escape?

Helpyourself: I know what you mean about Peckham - during the day it's lovely - Peckham Rye is gorgeous (esp. in autumn) and Bellenden Rd is very groovy. But at night it's a different atmosphere. And I would be walking home after nights out and catching the night bus home etc.

Also, I thought Bexleyheath and Dartford might be a bit ugly, but I would have thought Bexley was quite nice - the reason being that an ex lives there, and he's an Oxford-educated banker (who's quite rich). If only I'd stuck with him, I'd be on the property ladder now

As for rail fares, I find that any savings I make on living farther out tend to be cancelled out by higher rail fares. But I haven't discounted it yet as I generally can get more for my money out of town, which does compensate. However, I think I'll focus on Penge/S. Norwood areas.

Does anyone think these areas are likely to come up?

stargirl04 Mon 15-Jul-13 23:50:00

Merstham and Woking are interesting ideas, thanks.

Southeastdweller why do you dislike the Kent , just out of interest. I don't know Kent at all. In fact I don't really know anywhere outside of the city. Sutton seems popular.... anyone know about that?

Twinklestar - that is amazing about Lee. I will have to go back and look again at that flat you mentioned.

One place in Lee I'm interested in is a new build but on Lee High Road, I think above commercial premises. Would I be nuts to go for a place above a shop?

MrsFlorrick Mon 15-Jul-13 23:58:24

Unless I have misread anything in my fog of tiredness (small hot DC keeping me awake). Then you are looking for flat pref 2 bed newish build and good commute nice area.

Beckenham. Plenty of what you seek. Can't link because I looked it up on app. Sorry. But go to right move and search.

Will come back after sleep and link properly.

Or West Wivkham.

WafflyVersatile Tue 16-Jul-13 00:00:14

I'd just reiterate what someone else said further up. Check out rail fares. Once you add those on a property further out may not seem quite so much of a bargain. And remember that your mortgage costs might go down but your rail fares will only ever go up.

littlecrystal Tue 16-Jul-13 00:01:49

Stargirl4, cannot link on my phone, suggest you put Woodside on Rightmove and it will come up some purpose built 2 bedders within your budget. S.Norwood high street is more ugly than dangerous.. I have been in the area for 6 years and although I realise that there are better places out there, when the budget is limited it is pretty good compromise. As somebody called it, and I liked the description - inoffensive.

MrsFrederickWentworth Tue 16-Jul-13 00:08:53

Beckenham and Penge are seriously under priced for rest of London because not on the tube. Avoid the groves area of Penge, but elsewhere either heading up the hill to crystal palace or down the hill to beckenham is fine. Lots of my colleagues commute by bike though you have to be fit to get up that hill.

lambinapram Tue 16-Jul-13 00:15:36

Have you considered East London? Bank on the central line is a short walk to London bridge . You could afford a one bed in Wanstead or south Woodford (lovely areas) or something larger in Leyton or Leytonstone. Wathamstow mainline train goes to Liverpool street. Search this site for threads on these areas, recently ones on Leytonstone & Wathamstow.

Southeastdweller Tue 16-Jul-13 06:18:41

I don't dislike Kent - some of my colleagues live there and like it - and I was thinking Beckenham would be a good choice.

The problem about noise in period properties is what I'm going through now (as well as issues with the twunts next door). Funnily enough I never had any problem neighbours when I lived in better parts of the city...I would try and get a top floor flat if possible.

xigris Tue 16-Jul-13 06:31:48

I'm with littlecrystal: South Norwood and Woodside are definitely worth a look. Excellent transport from buses, trains and trams. Great parks and a lot of local community events. The yearly South Norwood Arts Festival has just finished and was great. Lots of period houses grin

Barbabeau Tue 16-Jul-13 06:36:33

Whenever we lived in period properties we had noise issues bar a Georgian conversion which had extremely thick walls. Bloody freezing though. We also had noise issues in a property built in the 1990s.

Wouldn't live in a conversion flat again for that reason.

I'd second Beckenham and it's nicer than Penge. Don't know if I'm being unfair to Penge as I've only been on the slightly depressing high street when it was pouring with rain.

You might be able to pick up something in a 1960s block in Forest Hill or Sydenham for that budget. Might be a tad ugly from the outside but the room sizes would be decent and the flat soundproofed.

KateCroydon Tue 16-Jul-13 06:37:03

Re: repair bills, if the ex-council place has already been through 'decent homes' (and most have) you're safe.

xigris Tue 16-Jul-13 06:58:34

Another area to consider is Addiscombe which has a great local shopping street and is on the Croydon Tramlink. I might not have the majority view but I think a lot of Croydon is brilliant and massively underrated!

Gingersnap88 Tue 16-Jul-13 08:04:12

Dartford and surrounds really aren't that bad. Lived in Swanley for a while and felt safer and happier than I ever had living in new cross / brockley / forest hill / cat ford or penge over the years. Lovely countryside and fast train to Victoria in under 30 mins.
It all depends on what is important to you. Lots of very pretty villages around here with good rail links too.

I suggest you go exploring smile

PerilsAsinger Tue 16-Jul-13 09:21:08

I don't know much about Sutton but the prices seem reasonable. . Maybe someone else can give advice on that neck of the woods.

PerilsAsinger Tue 16-Jul-13 09:21:26
Coconutfeet Tue 16-Jul-13 09:55:12

What about Stratford? The transport links are great - jubilee line, central line, dlr, London overground plus the regular train lines out to Essex/east Anglian.

Jollyb Tue 16-Jul-13 10:02:16

Commute from Tonbridge would cost around 3k per year.

Not sure you'd find many flats in Peckham within your price range ( even if you did want to live there).

Stepsister has just moved to Lee Green from East Dulwich and seems very happy with the decision.

WafflyVersatile Tue 16-Jul-13 11:47:09

Sutton seems ok. Good shopping high street. Seems quite tidy. A friend is bringing up kids there.

Although the train fare outside m25 is more, it depends if you have an onward commute and if you need a travelcard too. I was within 20min walk of charing cross, and at that distance it was the same time to walk than to go down to tube, wait travel and emerge at other end. I think you really need to do a bit of exploring and see whether you prefer being in or outside London. If you are into clubbing etc then somewhere on a night bus route is essential, if you enjoy bike rides and country walks then time to move out.

sophialewis Wed 17-Jul-13 13:52:35

I think South east London has those properties within your budget. You just have to do a research and don't let your emotions overrule you and end up in properties you can never be happy later. So do a research among your friends and online and get a good idea of different places in London. Then contact a good buying agent, I'll refer Propsavvy, so that they can know your credit limits and help you find the property in your budget limit.

allaflutter Wed 17-Jul-13 15:20:59

Sutton is ok but boring, High street full of chains but tidy, just no charm. Also hardly any decent places to eat out there, if at all - you'll have to go out elsewhere and then always travel home. But if you don't go out most night a week, then it can be fine and the prices reasonable. It's not far from some large surrey parks (but not in Sutton itself). The other minus point is, the fast train to Victoria (25-30min) is only once an hour as I remember, and other trains are around 45 min - plus the walk to your place, so it can take over an hour for you - as that's from Victoria. Other than that, quite a few families and retired people there, but not many mature singles - that's much more SE London.
I'm very interested myself in suggestions in Kent - I'm looking for a house on a larger budget (but still small) with a 40min train or less, can someone give more details on Orpington - what are pros and cons? hope Op would benefit too. I don't like Bromley, again quite boring, would prefer to be more out of the city.

allaflutter Wed 17-Jul-13 15:38:23

fuckwittery can you share more about the leafy Herts grin? So far everything I've looked at on rightmove is VERY expensive if it's on rail link, places like Harpenden, St.Albans. for about 250. Yes, you can get a tiny miniscule 2 bed houseWith smaller places it's just unrealistic to go and look at all of them, so a local's info would be very useful!

OP, just go for the top floor if buying period property! some lower flors can be well insulated if the flat above has carpets with underlay - unfortunately people don't want to spend on that often than not, in a inexpensive flat. But you can always ask the agent to find out before going to view. I wouldn't dismiss them- nice and cool in summer unlike the new-builds <smugly MN'ing in a cool breezy flat>

allaflutter Wed 17-Jul-13 15:50:25

that was, tiny 2 bed house for about 250 - the section jumped.

fuckwittery Thu 18-Jul-13 00:15:22

[]] cottage 180k hitchin second room is a box admittedly

sleepdodger Thu 18-Jul-13 10:28:12

Are you all about london or just proximity to london? Head north?
Market harborough 50 min into pancras on east mids trains- beautiful villages for 200k youd get a cute cortage or Rugby 56 min by train into euston on virgin and for 200k you could get a 3/4 bed house... Loads of nice villages round about too

Bellts Thu 18-Jul-13 10:46:21

if you search br6 7ah on right move theres a 2 bed flat for 210000 it is outdated. I think it will go for cheaper as recently a more up to date flat in same road sold for 207000. good luck

Frm73 Tue 27-Aug-13 10:49:49

Catford is a nice place to live, if you chose wisely a one bed Victorian flat is achievable under 190K within a friendly conservation area. There are two areas being developed soon, one by Barrats if you wanted a new build.
Catford already has two train stations into central London in Zone 3. I condider my self lucky enought to live in SE6, with an active neighbourhood group, highly rated school and local shops. If you wanted I can show you round the area and take you out for a drink just to sample Catford!?

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