I do like a coffee at Fowlds Cafe, on Addington Square in Camberwell.  I recall that on one occasion, a suited gentleman approached me there and enquired as to whether I was the person who wrote the newsletters about the Camberwell property market.  We ended up having an interesting chat about the local property market, as he was concerned that his daughter would have difficulties getting a foot on the property ladder in Camberwell – a place which she can call home.

Using the Land Registry and ONS (Office for National Statistics), my latest analysis shows that for the last quarter prices have increased by 1.6%.  Comparing Q1 2016 figures against Q1 2015 prices are 3.9% higher with the average price for a property now standing at £507,000.

I have talked in many recent articles about the lack of properties built in Camberwell over the past three decades.  The lack of new home building has been the biggest factor contributing to Camberwell property values still being 595.38% higher than in 1995.  Unless the issue is addressed by the government, this problem will continue to get worse, as the UK population grows by just under 500,000 people a year.  This growth is a combination of around 226,000 people, as a result of higher birth rates and people living longer, and 259,000 net migration.  Meanwhile, the country is only building 152,400 properties a year – no wonder demand is outstripping supply.

Another factor raising the property values in Camberwell is the fact that people aren’t moving home as much as they used to. This means that fewer properties are coming up for sale and as a consequence, there is a lack of choice when it comes to purchasing property. In turn, people who are thinking of moving are discouraged from doing so, thus perpetuating the problem.  The scarcity of available properties to buy also deters people from putting their current home on the market.  This unevenness between supply and demand is causing pressures in Camberwell and the rest of the UK.

So what of the future of the Camberwell property market and this man’s daughter?  I firmly believe that people in Camberwell and the UK as a whole are altering their attitude towards homeownership.  Between the 1960’s and 1990’s, getting on the property ladder was everything.  Since the late 1990’s, this has been changing, as the UK appears to shift towards the European model.  In Europe, people often choose to rent in their 20’s and 30’s, meaning they can move freely and not be constrained by owning a property.  These people then inherit money in their 50’s, when their parents pass away, allowing them to get on the property ladder, just like they do in Germany and other European countries.  According to this logic, this gentleman’s daughter will eventually own her own property, just later in life than we did.  So, whatever the outcome of the vote on June 23rd, if you think about it, we might be more European than we think!