I was most honoured to be interviewed by none other than John Humphrys on the Radio 4 Today programme, on Monday 20th April. As part of the programme's series covering the election, Mr Humphrys has been looking at the issue of housing. The edition can be heard via www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02pkbf5
I am told that I was approached, and chosen over other agents, because Kerr & Co. are firmly established, local and independent agents with over 30 years of experience and expertise in the Shepherd's Bush area, who have seen huge developments and changes in the intervening years. And I won't argue with any of that!
I have to say I particularly liked the opening of the programme, which featured a Steptoe & Son reference, as the area is very much about the radical differences that have taken place - and very much so in costs - compared to today's market. The roads that Albert and Harold trotted their horse and cart down contained properties that it was difficult to sell years ago, often even to get viewings. You simply cannot get enough properties to slake demand now.
Clearly, a major issue is the dearth of supply versus the ever increasing need for property in Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith; people desperately want more high-quality flats and houses and, of course, the level of demand has driven prices to a new level.
In the show, a lady called Sylvia, who works on Shepherd's Bush market, explains that she was able to buy her council house through Right to Buy scheme in the 1980s. She has since moved to a bigger home in the area but worries about her grandchildren's ability to buy theirs locally, and that they haven't the same opportunity to do so and have to look substantially further out to find something affordable.
The fact is that although it is a challenge there are a host of options available, including shared ownership schemes. However, it is my experience that there still a stigma connected about part ownership. This is a real shame, and it really shouldn't be, because it does get you on to the ladder in a central and well connected part of London. A couple on the radio interview hadn't gone down that route and rented while saving for a deposit, but if they had bought a property 5 years ago on a shared scheme then they would be more settled and on the property ladder.
It certainly is well worth taking advantage of the numerous Government schemes out there, a whole host designed to help first timers, such as the new Starter Home Initiative (that can be viewed via www.starter-home.co.uk.), along with Help to Buy, Right to Buy, Shared Ownership, First Steps London and NewBuy, the details of which can be seen via www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/help-to-buy-homebuy-and-other-housing-schemes
There are even further alternatives - if you're fortunate enough that is - with the emergence of the newly anointed 'Granlords', those who are uncorking pension pots and deciding to invest in buy to let and renting them out to their grandchildren, and the ever reliable 'Bank of Mum & Dad Investment Scheme'! Getting on the ladder sooner rather than later means over the long term your capital invested willl grow despite season fluctuations in the market.