Four and five bedroom houses in Brockley

Reader Rajeeva has been in touch to ask why there are "so few" 4-5 bed houses on the market in Brockley.


We weren't aware that this was a particular problem and we suppose the answer is down to the fact that many of the larger properties in the area are subdivided so that there aren't that many 4-5 beds around in the first place. But if you have a better explanation for Rajeeva, please share it here.

67 comments:

Lorna J said...

I think the reasons for the lack of 4/5 bedroom properties is twofold. First of all, you are correct, many of the larger properties have been subdivided into flats - a 5 bedroom house can be turned into 3 flats, increasing net worth from 450k/500k to over £600k. Quite a valuable proposition.

The second reason is that a number of people (like myself) would have purchased the larger properties in the late 90's, because they make the perfect, long term family home and ideal to grow into. Unless you divorce or *need* to sell, these houses are unlikely to come onto the market.

As it happens, I'm in the process of divorcing, so in the next 18 months, there will be a fantastic 5 bedroom family home for sale in Brockley. Unfortunately it is my home and I don't want to leave because I love it. So if there is a rich, eligible batchelor out there who wants to buy out my ex husband & move in, contact me :-)

Anonymous said...

Very straightforward - they weren't built! they are either smaller or much bigger to accommodate large Victorian families.

Sim said...

Very much the council's fault. Far too many large houses were turned into flat conversions - badly.

Search for large houses that contain two flats, and then convert these back into a house. They are available. All things being equal, what you pay for a reconverted flats-back-to house conversion makes it a reasonable investment. (That's the upside; at best you would surely want to live in a superb house regardless of the potential financial gain.)

Action: Find a two-flat property in Manor Avenue, or a similar road, reconvert back to house. Cost of each flat 300k to 320k (if garden with two floors the latter). You have a 5-bed house for £620k plus reconversion costs -in Zone 2. A no brainer really.)

Headhunter said...

This 5 bed house has just gone under offer on Manor Ave. If you look at the floor plans it was clearly broken into flats at some point in the past and has now found a new life as a single dwelling again. A home owner I was chatting to at one of the Open Studios places said that as Brockley becomes more and more desirable this re-conversion from flats to houses in the conservation area is increasingly happening, however there still seem to be a fair few single dwellings along Manor Ave. They're certainly not all flats.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

There is a four bed house for sale or to let in Tyrwhitt Road No4.

OK if you don't mind living next to a pub.

Hugh said...

The Council bought most of them, split them into flats and granted infinite leases to welfare claimants.

To put it bluntly.

Hugh said...

PS Anyone notice, as I predicted, that the Red House is still on sale?

Hug(h)e Arse said...

No - but I have noticed that all your other predictions (including the one on the Talbot) were astoundingly wrong.

THN said...

"To put it bluntly" = "To put it deliberatly wrongly in an attempt to start an argument".

Sim said...

No that house was never flats. It was bombed in the 2nd World War, and it's a total rebuild in 1950s. It's always been a house, and went at a knockdown price for some reason. The owner died. Though 'under offer' doesn't mean the contract it's written on.
Hugh, the Red House was under offer last time I heard, but... I'm not sure why you predict the sale will not go through.

lb said...

Given that few of us have 4 or 5-child families, plus a maid, any more, I'm surprised that anyone views the conversion of a lot of these large houses as anything particularly negative. London is generally short of accommodation, after all.

The worst part of it is the concreting over of front gardens, though this happens to single houses just as must.

lb said...

Er, "as much".

Sim said...

Ib, that's a ridiculous argument. Just becasue a house has 4/5 beds doesn't mean it should come with a 'maid'. Though, if someone did have three children, and a live-in nanny I don't see that it's by any means 'negative' to convert flats back to the houses they once were. Not everyone wants to live in a shoebox, and if they are lucky enough to have a salary that matches - then great.

Barbara said...

Problem with Brockley conversions from houses into flats is they seem to have been done particularly shoddily ... regulations must have been non-existent here around the 80s. My flat's a nightmare because of zero noise insulation. Has anyone found any kind of sound proofing company that has made life liveable for them? I'm selling up and shipping out otherwise, but I really don't want to leave the area.

TM said...

A number of Hugh's recent comments suggest his is out to become the new Catman.

His is English is however better

lb said...

"Just becasue a house has 4/5 beds doesn't mean it should come with a 'maid'."

Sigh.

Many of the original large houses in the Conversation Area (stet) were designed for families who employed one or more 'staff'. That's why they often had little attic rooms. You don't think wealthy Edwardian housewives changed their own children's nappies do you?

My point was, anyway, that you said "Far too many large houses were turned into flat conversions". Well, I'd disagree on the "too many" part. There was, and is, a real need to have such conversions as families get smaller, people are more likely to live on their own, and property prices in London have become disproportionately high to compared to the remainder of the country.

Sounds said...

Barbera... I'm afraid you're going to have to take the floor up - rather than the ceiling down - if you can gain access to your neighbour's flat. Then it's a case of (i) taking up the floorboards, (ii) placing insulation between the joists, (iii) and replacing the floorboards with a floating floor, (iv) then using a very good sound insulation underlay, (v) topped with a carpet that also deadens the sound. It's time-consuimg, costly, but worth it.
I woudl only recommend taking the ceiling down lower and insulating in very high roomed ceilings. Failing that... move.

elsiemaud boy said...

Barbara - there are plenty of firms that will soundproof - a house I was looking at in Chalsey Road had been soundproofed to good effect.

I can't recommend a firm but if you find one let us know - I'm sure there's a few of us who would like it done.

Sim said...

You forgot to add the 'badly'. These houses, as Barbera states, have not been converted well. They were meant to be large family dwellings, regardless as to who 'served' in them. No, there's no other way... knock 'em back I say. Or soundproof and convert well.

Headhunter said...

Yes, Sim, I know that house on Manor Ave was a complete rebuild after bomb damage in WW2, but if you look at the layout, it certainly seems that at some point it was flats. There are bathrooms on almost every floor and the rooms seem to have been subdivided. I could be wrong but the floor plan is very suggestive that it was flats at some point

lb said...

A lot of the properties down in the Tressillian Road area are (old) purpose-built blocks, incidentally. There are also some around St Johns station.

qbf said...

I was going to say what a good thing it is that the days of live-in servants are behind us (I find it bad enough having a cleaner in once a week).

Then it occurred to me that of course these days the fourth or fifth bedroom is for the au pair ;-)

Extra space said...

Weve just had a loft conversion to create a 5 double bed house and renovated to a high spec. We are just outside the conservation area in SE13. We would expect it now to be worth £500k - a total bargain (if we wanted to sell, which we don't for several years) compared to what you'd have to pay for a similar house round the corner. Actually families with 2 kids are increasingly lookIng for bigger houses and not just for the au pair. It makes financial sense to stay put for as long as poss to save on moving costs, so buy a house you can grow into - a bedroom each plus a guest room and a study. So if you're prepares to forgo the added expense of living in the conservation area but enjoy just as spacious a house nearer Hilly Fields than much of the CA, you should think 'outside the box' a bit. Look for a 3 bed with the potential for a loft conversion and you certainly won't need £620k plus renovation costs as suggested by someone else!

Headhunter said...

Outside the conservation area? Daaaarling, no. Just no....

Lorna J said...

Just for reference purposes of "lb". I'm not of the Edwardian era, neither am I wealthy, nor have I ever been a housewife but until recently had all 4 of my children living at home plus an au-pair. No staff quarters tho, the cellar was fine we felt. Well until we got the deportation order..... ;-)

Lorna J said...

By the way, it's not just the councils fault. There have been a fair few families selling up to private developers for precisely the reason explained in my original post. It's income generation. The house next door to mine was a 5 bed and sold to a private developer. They were given planning permission for 3 flats on the proviso that the bottom flat was converted into a 3 bed by means of an extension. It took the developers over a year to convert (and yes, it was a nightmare) and they never built the extension, so the ground floor is only a 2 bed. The 2nd floor flat has a living area directly behind my bedroom so I get to deal with a washing machine at midnight.

But I still don't want to sell my middle class, hugely expensive, 5 bedroom, 4 children, 2 cats aned 1 aupair house. That's not in that posh conservation area.

Anonymous said...

The Council and Housing Associations own a number of 4/5 bedrooms houses around Brockley.

Some of them have no more than 2 Council tenants and cost a fortune to maintain and restore.

However the Council does not seem very convinced about selling them to private families and use the cash more efficiently.

Not sure why...

@Lorna I am not sure where you saw a 5 bedroom house at 450/500. If you do sell yours at that price please get in contact.

Hugh said...

I was thinking of offering 1.1 for the huge house that's perpetually on sale on Tyrwhitt Road for 1.4. But I can't get my head round paying that sort of money to live in Brockley.

Anonymous said...

"The Council and Housing Associations own a number of 4/5 bedrooms houses around Brockley.

Some of them have no more than 2 Council tenants and cost a fortune to maintain and restore."


If this is true, it is a disgrace.
I am SICK of working my guts out to pay tax and fund other (cleverer) people's dependent lifestyles.

the big houses are nice said...

That house is more than worth 1.1. the prob is that someone will have to pay out circa 300 on the development. It needs a total redo. Banks won't lend as easily vs development as they used to, nor at as high ltvs.

wishing we had 4 children said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barbara said...

Thanks Sounds and Elsiemaud Boy - sounds like it is worth my getting a sound-proofing quote at the least, since you say it does make a difference, which I was suspicious about. Man if it worked life would be good...

Tressilliana said...

Where is it written that all council/housing association tenants are unemployed layabouts?

oryx said...

@anon @ 16.59

'The Council and Housing Associations own a number of 4/5 bedrooms houses around Brockley.

Some of them have no more than 2 Council tenants and cost a fortune to maintain and restore.

However the Council does not seem very convinced about selling them to private families and use the cash more efficiently.

Not sure why...'

Because they have secure/assured tenancies. For those apparently unaware of the purpose of 'social' housing, it's for people who cannot afford the vastly inflated prices of the open market - it would be eight times the salary of someone on £25k to afford a modest £200,000 flat for a small family.

How do you know that 'Some of them have no more than 2 Council tenants and cost a fortune to maintain and restore.'?

Also, what on earth do you mean by 'private families'? Do you perhaps mean that group beloved of politicians' rhetoric, 'hard-working families'? Or do you mean selling the houses on the open market?

It may surprise some people who post on here that there are actually hard-working families in large council/HA properties.

Sim said...

@ExtraSpace... "you certainly won't need £620k plus renovation costs as suggested by someone else!"

My statement and assessment applied to houses within the Conservation Area. The houses in Manor Avenue are priced at 700k upwards. (In one instance at least one is over 1m! Though not suggesting all houses in that road are priced so.)

Barbera... it does work. I recently did a flat and the neighbour below, who always kept herself to herself prior to my buying it, greeted me with tears in her eyes and thanked me for making her life so wonderful. in the past she had to put up with a lot of noise. It worked for her!

Headhunter, the house was owned bu a lady who took boarders in some years gone. It was never a seperate dwelling though, save for the fact that she did have two kitchens.

Extra space said...

@Sim, fair enough - you specified zone 2 but not the CA. But the CA has been spoilt in many parts by our slack council that I'm not sure the inflated prices are always justified.

Hugh said...

If a family can't afford market rent so has to rely on hand-outs or (same thing) a subsidies and a protected tenancy from the Council, how come? Why shouldn't they have to move to Milton Keynes and look for work there, like anyone else?

To reply that such a policy would be destructive to the existing social fabric just ducks the question, since it amounts to saying: "We've already made the mistake so let's perpetuate it."

Anonymous said...

It's not just 4-5 bed properties there is a shortage of, that's why currently when large properties are converted a condition is that there is a 2-3 bedroom flat, for families.

This has resulted in some right naff plans being given approval, such as a small triangular bedroom narrowed to less than 1 metre wide.

Only 5-6 years ago a small office was allowed to be converted into 2 flats, with direct of the street access and no garden.

No provision was provided for the storage of wheelie bins, which stand permantley on the pavement.

By the way there are a number of 5-6 deroom properties for sale in central Lewisham and one has just had £50k lopped off the price.

Anonymous said...

In the 1960's the council built flats where the rents were set to meet half the yearly maintenance costs.

If the ratios remained the same over 50 years is it any wonder the council can't afford to retain the properties.

Anonymous said...

paying 1.1 for a 6 bedroom house with aprox. 300sqm in zone two is still very reasonable priced. Try ro find yourself anything with those specifications in Dulwich Greenwich or Blackheath and you can double the price.

Anonymous said...

@oryx

How do I know 4/5 bed victorian houses cost a fortune to maintain in good condition?

I own one. The council does not spend nearly enough to maintain its properties preferring to make deals with private companies when things get too bad.

How do I know that some of them have only 2 tenants?

Because I have lived here for a while. What if I tell you that some of them sublet the rooms?

We have learned from this thread that a 4/5 bed house cost 500k.

In my view this is not the kind of handout people should receive, particularly in light of the fact that people that would like to buy a house start a thread on Brockley Central because they cannot find one.

Sim said...

Extra Space. Yes I should have said the CA, which is why I compared Manor Avenue, which is in the conservation area.

The council isn't the only culprit. Some of the Housing Associations' slaughter the properties in an effort to rack-em-an-stack-em.

I do certainly believe that many of these large properties will be reinstated as large houses. Failing that, decent 3-bed garden flats for families that need them. (And by 'need them' I don't exclude council or HA tenants.) That's why I love Brockley so much: it's inclusive-ness.

Headhunter said...

Anon 10.55 - There is a lot that can go wrong in these massive Victorian houses after 100-150 years. Damp problems in the basement, bowing walls (the walls are very tall so after 100 odd years can start to bow outwards so need pinning together through the joists), roofing problems etc. Most work that gets done also needs scaffolding as the buildings are so tall that you can't just whack a ladder up to get to the guttering or roof as you can with your average 3 bed semi... Then there's the ever present threat of subsidence for any property on London clay....

lb said...

"I am SICK of working my guts out to pay tax and fund other (cleverer) people's dependent lifestyles"

On the contrary, I think you'll find that what you're funding is a system that paves, lights, cleans and polices your streets, runs a health service to take care of you when you are really "SICK" and provides for your support, or that of your dependents, if you become to ill (or old) to work (and in the latter connection, I'd observe that a majority of benefits are paid in the form of pensions). It seems a reasonable arrangement.

If there was some way of arranging that you got nothing from this system I guarantee you'd quickly notice it.

lb said...

"We have learned from this thread that a 4/5 bed house cost 500k.

In my view this is not the kind of handout people should receive"

What on earth are you on about? The council doesn't buy a new house to give to a family; it houses them in existing stock, if it can (which is increasingly rarely these days).

Anonymous said...

Such selfishness on display, I wish these people would move out of Brockley. The community spirited area, where all (except the selfish) are welcomed.

Anonymous said...

@Anon.13.35
Agreed - problem again is house prices. 10/15 years ago people like "Hugh" would be out of sight/mind and happily ensconced in Putney or Balham/Clapham borders with like-minded reactionaries. Sadly, their incomes (though well above average) won't stretch to much at all in those areas these days.

Bobblekin said...

House prices have a long way to go yet. There has been a 25% fall and thats only due to lenders scaling back to normal lending criteria.

If unemployment or interest rates rise then house prices will go down again.

Despite supply and demand, at the end of the day affordability is a factor for buyers.

So if property owners need to sell then the buyers ability to buy - from the bottom of the chain - will dictate the eventual price, even of 4/5 bed houses in Zone 2.

drakefell debaser said...

House prices have a long way to go yet. There has been a 25% fall and thats only due to lenders scaling back to normal lending criteria.

Not sure where you got the 25% figure from but, according to the Nationwide price index, property in Greater London is down 4% from the peak in Q3 2007 when compared to Q2 2010.

drakefell debaser said...

The latest Halifax index states the following:

• House prices fell by 0.6% in June. This followed a 0.5% decline in May.

• Prices in the second quarter of 2010 were 0.1% lower than in the first quarter of 2010. This continued the slowdown in the pace of house price growth since the beginning of the year and compared with a 0.6% rise in 2010 Quarter 1.

• House prices in June were 6.3% higher on an annual basis as measured by the average for the latest three months against the same period a year earlier. This was below the 6.9% increase in May, which was the highest since October 2007 (8.9%).

• Prices are 7.5% above their April 2009 trough despite the modest decline over the past few months. The average house price is now £166,203; 17% below its August 2007 peak.

• The increase in the number of properties for sale is curbing the upward pressure on house prices. Estate agents have reported a sharp increase in instructions from new vendors following the recent abolition of HIPs, reinforcing the recent trend as more.

edi said...

@lb

So having at your disposal a house worth 500k for 30-40 years which you can eventually pass on to one of your children benefit claiming children does seem as a huge handout to me.

At market rates a house can rent for 20k a year multiplied by 30 years is 600k

And this is not including repairs and bills.

Selling 10 house for 500k would give the council 5m to spend in a much more efficient way and for a much larger number of people in need.

It would also give 10 families that can afford them a place to live.

Sorry, but you cannot convince me that maintaining 100 years old houses is an efficient way to spend Council money.

Under conservation rules many of these houses will need to replace windows and roofs with original specifications, will need to increase their energy efficiency and maintain 100 years old brickwork.

Brockley Nick said...

I'm not sure that wishing people out of sight and out of mind is any better than the attitude displayed by Hugh, who at least has the justification that he doesn't pretend to be anything other than anti-social.

lb said...

"So having at your disposal a house worth 500k for 30-40 years which you can eventually pass on to one of your children benefit claiming children does seem as a huge handout to me"

You've clearly missed the point of social housing completely.

"At market rates a house can rent for 20k a year multiplied by 30 years is 600k

And this is not including repairs and bills"


Including the notional commercial rental value of comparable properties, at this point of your 'argument', is absurd, as we are not talking about commercial properties, but ones that are already in 'public' ownership.

This might, of course, be the kind of amount the Council would have to pay in rent to a private landlord should no suitable housing stock be available (as would be the case if your advice to sell it all off was followed).

"Selling 10 house for 500k would give the council 5m to spend in a much more efficient way and for a much larger number of people in need"

And would result in having to pay 10 or more private landlords extortionate sums in order to house the families who might otherwise have been housed in those houses over the years. Remember, once council stock is gone, it's gone. There's been no new building for years.

"Sorry, but you cannot convince me that maintaining 100 years old houses is an efficient way to spend Council money."

Please tell me where the alternative, "efficient" accommodation is going to come from?

Monkeyboy said...

"So having at your disposal a house worth 500k for 30-40 years which you can eventually pass on to one of your children benefit claiming children does seem as a huge handout to me."

Well that is an interesting point, handing something on to your kids - unearned income for them - should perhaps be taxed appropriatly. A tax on inheritence, we could call it 'inheritance tax'. Set it at the right level and it could even be used to fund the growing issue of how to fund care of the elderly without them having to sell up while they're alive.

Sounds like the kind of idea that the Coalition would like. I'll drop them a mail.

Anonymous said...

56 Breakspears sold this year for £1.2m - having been purchased in 2001 for 540k.

pip said...

Quite right Monkeyboy, I was also thinking about Inheritance Tax when reading this thread.

We've got a ludicrously inflated house market, and the two things that will bring it down to a more sustainable level are higher interest rates and, in the longer term, inheritance tax. No doubt there are others but I think those are the most important. I didn't appreciate until a few years ago that IHT is one of the most effective social levellers we have. Still not THAT effective, but at least it tends in the direction of a more level playing field.

oryx said...

@ lb - good posts from you and monkeyboy - I think a lot of people on here either have no understanding of social housing, or they have a hidden agenda.

I am quite shocked at how many people on here seem to think council and HA tenants are automatically, by dint of their tenure layabouts existing on handouts from the state.

Some appalling ignorance apparent on here.

Monkeyboy said...

Did anyone spot my not so subtle dig at the politicians.... There was a working party set up to discuss care for the elderly. One idea was a tax payable on death to fund decent social care. DEATH TAX! Screamed people who should know better. Frankley the idea of a tax when your dead is the least offensive way of paying it, or am I missing something?

lb said...

"Frankley the idea of a tax when your dead is the least offensive way of paying it, or am I missing something?"

Well, you can't take it with you when you go. And passing it on to other people is effectively a form of income for them, so...

Monkeyboy said...

An income tax for them? it's not the same as taxing their income that they worked for, it's a gift.

At the moment your kids can get, I think £600,000, tax free (assuming your parents doubled up their limit) Got no issue with being able to pass on some tax free but £600K? way too high.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Oh I don't know you can't get a decent 4 or 5 bedroom house for much under £600K in the conservation area.

Its because they are in short supply. Or is that where we came in?

By the way 2 Tyrwhitt Road has two For Sale signs and a To Let sign outside as from yesterday.

Hugh said...

Nick, your grammar is rather opaque. Are you saying I pretend to be anti-social?

Danja said...

I see what you mean, Hugh. That's really very elegantly formulated, isn't it.

TJ(O) said...

Anyone else notice Breakspears Road has now got it's first 1.5 million house up for sale? The developers have spent considerable time and money restoring it to Victorian glory. Nice to see they didn't chop it up into flats.

TJ(O) said...

A link to the above house (for those into property porn)

http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/sales/1231801

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Having gone on the above site then nosed around a bit; I find that a four bedroom house in Tyrwhitt Road
is on at £575K with one agent and then the self same house is a bargain at £520K with another.

Seems you need to shop around even with houses.

Either that or one of the agents is ramping up the price to get as much commission as is possible.

Surely that cannot be the case?

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