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to ask people who live in a house in Central London what it's like?

(184 Posts)
manicinsomniac Sat 19-Dec-15 18:52:11

I mean an actual family 2+ bedroom house, not a flat or an apartment or a divided up house etc.

I'm absolutely fascinated. Living in London is my absolute pipe dream but, even though I'm on a good salary, I am a single mum of 3 and would only be able to afford a tiny shoebox in an area of London that would make it worth moving to (I'm only 35 mins on train now so now worth going to zone 4+). Whereas I can rent a lovely little 2.5 bed house where I am.

I don't see much in the way of full houses when I walk around central London (we go a lot) but was walking down a street of them today and the people looked so normal. Not rich at all. And the houses looked pretty run to be honest. It made me think.

This is pure curiosity but, if you do live in a zone 1/2 house, can I ask:
Which area it's in
What the area is like to live in
Whether you think it's worth any sacrifices you may be making

and, if it's not too personal (sure it is for many and I completely respect that) whether you consider yourself affluent and, if not, how on earth you manage it?

I have to admit I'm so jealous! grin

Artandco Sat 19-Dec-15 19:01:24

We live in zone one. But it's a one bed flat, not a house. Almost all our friends live in flats also, bare the odd couple. Or they live further out

DyslexicScientist Sat 19-Dec-15 19:07:06

I doubt many familys in central London have a house. They are mostly sold for foreign investors and left empty.

I used to live in fitzrovia and lily Allen was on the next street, even she just had a maisonette and thats not a proper house.

emsyj Sat 19-Dec-15 19:09:40

When I worked in London we were invited to a colleague (partner in a big law firm) to his house for dinner. It was a vast Georgian(?? I think) double fronted terrace in zone 1. Not my taste interiors-wise but huge and right on the doorstep of every facility of central London. It would be millions and millions of pounds to buy. It was nice to have a bit of a nose inside even tho we didn't get a full guided tour!

PenelopeChipShop Sat 19-Dec-15 19:10:05

The closest we've got is a terraced 2-bed house in East Dulwich which I think is in zone 2 (forgotten now!)

The area was absolutely lovely tbh - best of both worlds in terms of being so close to central London but still felt like a little town in itself and had a gorgeous park for running in and lovely individual shops and pubs.

House itself was very bog standard - wonky floors, cracked walls, no dishwasher, concrete garden - nothing to write home about. We were very happy there though.

Moved when we wanted to buy a place - our rent was reasonable but that house was at the time worth £450k ( for two bedrooms!!!!) - in Essex where we are now that bought us a 5 bedroom house with huge garden and it's still commutable distance.

I do miss London though!

emsyj Sat 19-Dec-15 19:11:09

Oh and in answer to your question - yes I would consider them affluent definitely. Earning around £2m a year!

hesterton Sat 19-Dec-15 19:16:45

We have a house in Zone 2 near New Cross. We aren't rich as such and have some mortgage but we've been lucky with property over the years, right place, right time. Both public sector workers. In many ways would love to be out of London but dh's job is London centred. One day we will hopefully be able to move somewhere cheaper and have some money to enjoy retirement and help out dc, which have already done a bit. In the meantime we enjoy London.

originalmavis Sat 19-Dec-15 19:24:20

The only people i know who live in a house in zone 1 are foreigners whose companies pay for it. Cheapest mews around here is £4mil, with a shell going for £3mil.

Bloody madness!

Karoleann Sat 19-Dec-15 19:24:51

We used to love in a 4 bed house in west hampstead (zone 2). It was fine with 1 child and a baby, but by the time we had 3 it stopped working. Garden was titchy, there wasn't enough living space in the terrace / most houses in Central London are terraces, unless you have a spare 16/17 million.
Schools were a nightmare and it felt very transient, I or the boys would make good friends, who then moved in the end I just stopped making an effort with people if they had plans to move out if London.

Trying to drive anywhere took hours....transport was amazing, but we didn't go into London that often to make it worthwhile.

So we moved out and I love it, everything is so much easier and we can still train into London if we want to.

The house next to the one we used to live in went onto the market a few months ago for 1.7mil!! Mad money...I would not recommended it (unless you do have a spare 16/17 million free and can afford one if the mansions in hampstead and can buy yourself into a good school!)

lastqueenofscotland Sat 19-Dec-15 19:25:55

I'm in a 6 bedroom house in zone 2 but it's been in the family for decades.

Devora Sat 19-Dec-15 19:34:26

I used to live in Zone 1 but it was a flat. Moved to Zone 6 to get a decent-sized semi.

Bombaybunty Sat 19-Dec-15 19:35:50

We used to live in a 2 bed terraced house not far from Liverpool Street station - borders of zones 1 & 2.

I loved it! Easy access to everything, fantastic community and local pub. I did get pissed off when the congestion charge was introduced. We were just outside and DS school was inside.

Moved to suburbia a few years ago for family reasons. Would move back tomorrow if we could!

hulkavengers Sat 19-Dec-15 19:37:04

We live in a 3 bed house in Angel, zone 1. I like the area, it's close to shopping around Upper Street, lots of parks, leisure facilities and good transport links.

I'd consider us to be affluent, DH and I work f/t in good jobs. Although earning well under £2m a year! But we live on the same street as a big council estate so many families around here aren't well off at all.

We love the opportunities and social life in London so we would never leave. I don't think we've had to make too many sacrifices in choosing to live here, we've been lucky with schools (dc go to an excellent state primary, but will probably go private for secondary) and we have family living locally. We could get a bigger detached house with land if we moved further out (not even out of London, but parts of zone 5/6) so I suppose some people would consider that a sacrifice, but I grew up in this area so I couldn't get used to living a more suburban lifestyle. I like being able to walk everywhere or hop on the bus for a short journey. We don't own a car.

Moonriver1 Sat 19-Dec-15 19:42:02

We live in zone 1.

We bought at the right time and have been lucky/successful in our careers and though I am fully aware we are affluent, we are not compared with our neighbours and other friends near by.

I love it, love walking everywhere, love the parks, love the restaurants, bars and museums. Feel safe. Great schools (not private, our kids go to state schools).

I do often wonder if we should move to get more than a small terraced house with a teeny garden, well patch of paving stones, and maybe we will one day.

Wiifitmama Sat 19-Dec-15 19:43:55

We live in zone 2, NW London. Currently in a 3 bed ground floor flat with massive garden but buying a 5 bed house in the same road. It needs total refurbishment. It is a residential area with what looks like a lot of houses, but actually most have been split into flats. It's rare to actually find one that is still in its original whole house state. We are not rich at all. My dh works full time in the city but on a relatively low wage compared to other city professional workers. I work part time in my own business. We have 3 kids. Very little disposable income but good housing buying and selling over the years and family hep that have led us to where we are.

manicinsomniac Sat 19-Dec-15 19:44:02

Thanks for the perspectives. Really interesting to read.

hulkavengers - I was around Angel today actually so I suppose it could have been part of a council estate I saw. Perhaps foolishly, I didn't know that you could get a council house in London, I thought they were all small flats. That would explain why it looked so normal/run down.

I can see the points people are making about what they can afford after they've moved out. But being right in the action would be so amazing. I'm going to sulk!

M48294Y Sat 19-Dec-15 19:44:56

But East Dulwich isn't really close to town at all is it? An hour on the bus, yes, but absolutely not central.

Snoopadoop Sat 19-Dec-15 19:45:04

Used to. 2 bed flat that was bloody freezing. But we loved it. We went out so much, spent every penny we earned on eating out, going out etc...

We had to move out when we wanted children. Wanted a big house and garden.

Snoopadoop Sat 19-Dec-15 19:45:49

Oh and we weren't central, we were Canary Wharf.

hulkavengers Sat 19-Dec-15 19:47:48

manicinsomniac I have friends who live in council flats nearby, they look like Georgian houses from the outside but are divided into flats. And a lot of them are next door to privately owned homes so you wouldn't necessarily know they were council.

Lightbulbon Sat 19-Dec-15 19:51:55

I'm baffled that anyone with an 'under £2million' income doesn't have a car.

I can honestly say I wouldn't swap.

My freedom is priceless.

sorry for thread derail

SinglePringle Sat 19-Dec-15 19:52:32

I lived in a 2 bed house with a garden and private parking in Zone 2 for 10 years. Adored it. Access to amenities, nights out, shops etc.

And only cost around £20 to get a cab home from Soho at stupid o'clock.

Wish I'd never left.

Wizwo Sat 19-Dec-15 20:03:20

(name changed for this) I live in Pimlico, zone 1. It's a very large flat which is most of a house.

It's a lovely area - the houses are beautiful, it feels very safe, is very peaceful and is super close to where I work (Westminster) so I don't have to have a tube season ticket - I walk almost everywhere. Our neighbours who do have whole houses have got some fabulous Christmas trees up that you can see from the street - I was enjoying walking around looking at them the other day.

It's built in the same style as Belgravia but is not flashy like Belgravia as there are no oligarchs here (yet) - it tends to be families who've owned here for a long time and professionals renting flats. And more socially mixed than you would think - quite a few pockets of council housing. Quite a few of the big houses are empty though.

Only downsides are that we have no garden (we have a terrace though) and there is not much public green space in this area - Battersea Park or St James' Park are the closest parks. I don't have a car so shopping can sometimes be awkward. Also going outside the area at weekends is annoying as it's so close to Westminster - there's very often a big demonstration or other event happening and you get road closures for big events like the London Marathon etc. I don't tend to go outside the area much - maybe over to Chelsea for shopping as it is walkable. The tube is not that great as it's on the Victoria line, which is always full by the time it gets to Pimlico/Victoria.

I'm not a high earner (not a higher rate tax payer) but I have a private income too.

foxessoxes Sat 19-Dec-15 20:06:13

I lived in a desirable ish area of Zone 1 and was in a tiny 1 bedroom flat and was paying £1200 a month (exl bills)- demand was so fierce for it, we ended up having to pay more money per month (another £100 a month) in order to get it. It was shit- the kitchen was tiny, a lounge/dining room big enough for a 2 seater sofa, tv table in the corner and a small table and 2 chairs. Bedroom was literally big enough for a small double and tiny wardrobe- and there was a tiny gap between the end of the bed and the wardrobe. It was a shoebox.

I live in something 3x the size now and my mortgage is £360 a month.

I miss being on the doorstep of everything but I have more money living up north despite earning £8k less a year.

TheseBedroomWalls Sat 19-Dec-15 20:13:27

I can't get over the prices of houses in London. I live in the countryside, surrounded by open fields, forests, mountain lakes and the freshest, cleanest air you can imagine....I stand outside gulping it in! I see hot air balloons floating above us during the spring and summer months, and love autumn walks down tiny, leaf covered lanes, with complete peace and privacy.

Our gorgeous four bedroom house with gorgeous mountain views cost £110,000 pounds last year. I wouldn't swap it for a mansion in London.

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