Sydenham slagged off on Channel 4

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castiron73
Posts: 132
Joined: 24 Oct 2006 10:05
Location: Sydenham Thorpes

Sydenham slagged off on Channel 4

Post by castiron73 »

Anyone see Relocation Relocation mention Sydenham last night?

An opera singer and his partner were looking at properties in Crystal Place, and admiring the cafes and bars. Presenter Kirsty Allsopp tried to persuade them to consider Sydenham, saying that 'prices should rise by 50 per cent in three years', but she didn't have anything else positive to say about us. Branded it more greasy spoon than coffee bar, which is fair enough, I suppose, but they showed only the high street - Sema's in particular. After a few minutes saying how they couldn't live in a place like this, they were off.
simon
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Joined: 11 Oct 2006 15:35
Location: Longton Avenue

Post by simon »

Didn't see it, but I hope they will be very happy in Crystal Palace. I dont think we'll miss them if thats their attitude.
castiron73
Posts: 132
Joined: 24 Oct 2006 10:05
Location: Sydenham Thorpes

Post by castiron73 »

They might have mentioned all the classical musicians and singers who live round here. It can't be because they're all fans of fried breakfasts
randomv
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Joined: 5 Aug 2006 08:33
Location: sydenham

Post by randomv »

I watched it - in fact I viewed the two CP properties before opting for Sydenham!
I didn't think that Kirsty was particularly negative - I thought she was just showing them that by moving slightly further away from the triangle they could get much better value for money and closer to what they wanted in terms of space. With all the locations they had to visit, I guess they were limited in time but it was disappointing that the guys gave a bad impression of the place. If anything though I think it showed those guys to be uncompromisnig idiots who let their preconceived ideas get in the way of what would be a great place to live and could be a great investment.
tommynhs
Posts: 7
Joined: 28 Feb 2007 19:29
Location: Lower Sydenham

Post by tommynhs »

what a bunch of haters!

still "prices should rise by 50 per cent in three years" - as a recent first time buyer i'm up for that :lol:
Rich77
Posts: 1
Joined: 1 Mar 2007 13:21
Location: Crystal Palace Park Road

Post by Rich77 »

Yeah, it was disappointing, but I don't think Kirsty's to blame - she made it pretty clear she thought Sydenham was on the up. I just can't understand the extreme reactions from the couple on the programme - it's not Penge! ;-)

Those guys were muppets anyway - they saw plenty of nice places everywhere they looked but it seemed they were mentally shopping with a budget of 1/2 a million instead of £270k.

I did think it was strange that they skipped the bit of sydenham between CPP Rd and Westwood Hill, as their budget should have stretched to 2 beds with a private garden there - and many of the roads are pretty peaceful, too.
Willy
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Joined: 22 Feb 2007 15:07
Location: Sydenham

Post by Willy »

50% in 3 years eh? Great news as I'm in the process of buying a house in Sydenham.
randomv
Posts: 99
Joined: 5 Aug 2006 08:33
Location: sydenham

Post by randomv »

Willy wrote:50% in 3 years eh? Great news as I'm in the process of buying a house in Sydenham.
Indeed - except that it was filmed a year ago...
Willy
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Joined: 22 Feb 2007 15:07
Location: Sydenham

Post by Willy »

true, but that still leaves 2 years of growth
nork1
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Location: Banned myself - can't be bothered with the Greg/Ulysses show anymore

Post by nork1 »

I don't see what the problem is. Programmes like this are aimed at people who want to buy a place, stay for a couple of years until the prices go up then move on. They don't actually want to settle, they're only interested in profit. They don't do anything for an area except make it unaffordable for people who genuinely want to stay.
My flat has trebled in value since I moved in. So what? I like it here and have no intention of moving. Everywhere else has increased as well so I wouldn't be any better off.
simon
Posts: 952
Joined: 11 Oct 2006 15:35
Location: Longton Avenue

Post by simon »

Which is why I said:
simon wrote: I dont think we'll miss them if thats their attitude.
Thing is Nork, people come for the reasons you describe and then end up staying here because they like it.

When you do the maths, despite the projected 50% increase over the next two years, where are you going to get the same accomodation or the same money, with the parks trees, trains to London Bridge and, of course, the extension?
Dutch Cow
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Joined: 13 Feb 2007 23:07
Location: Se26

Post by Dutch Cow »

Nork , confused by your reply ? On the one hand your are pleased with your invetsment growth (Well done) and have a downer on people who buy property for gain only ? You then go on to say that the capital increase is negated as all other proprty has increased in line, whats your point? surely these nasty opportunists will have to pay more for another property. Could you enlighten me ?
nork1
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Location: Banned myself - can't be bothered with the Greg/Ulysses show anymore

Post by nork1 »

Dutch Cow - my point is I really don't give a toss about how much my flat has gone up or down ("My flat has trebled in value since I moved in. So what?"). I bought it as a place to live in, I like it here. I've got no intention of flogging it.

Programmes like this highlight areas where bargains can be snapped up then sold on at a massive profit if you've got the money - people looking to do this don't have an interest in sticking around, they just want to make a quick buck and move on. Sydenham becomes the next up and coming area, prices go through the roof, first time buyers who happen to miss the boat can't afford to get on the property ladder.

I can't get my head around the mentality of playing the property market - "nasty opportunists" are overinflating the market to the cost of first time buyers. Why can't people just be happy with where they live and what they've got?
nork1
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Joined: 9 Jul 2006 12:49
Location: Banned myself - can't be bothered with the Greg/Ulysses show anymore

Post by nork1 »

...probably best to ignore my ramblings - posts after 6 or 7 pints never make much sense. I was ranting against the obsession with house prices and the totally overvalued market fuelled by programmes like this to the detriment of people who want a place to actually LIVE in.

When the crash comes a lot of people are going to be in a lot of trouble.
local lady
Posts: 3
Joined: 2 Mar 2007 10:14
Location: sydenham

Post by local lady »

Nork1 - there's no need to apologise. To me it seems yours is the only post here that makes any sense or has even a whiff of integrity about it.

These are sorry times if you have to apologise for that.

While there’s much talk of Sydenham being 'on the up' I am sure this talk comes from estate agents – and none of it comes from people who have actually known and lived in Sydenham for some time. Prices are certainly on the up. But of course if your property has increased by £100K in the last year, that’s a profit on paper only. Because to unlock that £100K and cash it in you’d have to sell your house and relocate to somewhere where house prices are cheaper. Given that the rest of the country is shooting up behind London that’s a tall order and means you’d have to move right out into the sticks or emigrate to find somewhere cheap enough to make it worth your while – great news if that was always your intention anyway. But if house prices continue to rise steeply in London and the UK after you've moved away, you may not be able to afford to come back into the market if you do decide you’ve made a mistake.

Alternatively you could flog your flat when it looks like your property is worth £100K more than you paid for it, cash in that profit, invest it elsewhere, and rent for a bit while waiting for a crash in the market. Then think - you could theoretically use your £100k profit to buy back your old flat really cheaply off the poor soul who bought it from you when it was overpriced and has now lost everything in the crash. You could even live mortgage free for the rest of your life and have cash to splash! Is that what we’ve been reduced to?

Nork1 is right – and indeed most rises in house prices benefit no-one in real terms but estate agents and the tax man and simply serve to hurt first-time buyers. Presumably if you’ve bought a house it’s because you want some stability and, strange concept, a house to live in. And you’re not going to risk going through all the palaver of selling your beloved pad the second you think there’s a peak in the market just to go back to renting for goodness knows how long, waiting all the while for a ‘maybe’ crash in the market.

But as for Sydenham being ‘on the up’, I fear the opposite must be said and it has, I’m afraid, been on the skids for quite a while now. Take a look at some of the beautiful pictures of Sydenham from even fairly recent years on the Town Museum section of this website. Then look at it now. And see if you still think Sydenham is 'on the up...'

Probably even until the early/ mid nineties, Sydenham was a lovely area to live in - parks, trees, and it had a quiet, lazy sunny air to it, some decent schools, nice walks, friendly shopkeepers, OK local services. It had its problems (it was very dull around here for a start) but essentially the place was structurally sound.

All you buyers who think (or hope) you have struck pure gold in a leafy suburb with good transport links, cheap(ish) property prices and fine flats with large airy rooms, I’m afraid you have been had! Unless you really love it here, that is. You may think the only downside to your property purchase is that these days Sydenham leaves a bit to be desired as far as looks go (that’s why it was so comparatively cheap to everywhere else on the market, right?) and that it is thus ‘ripe for regeneration’ and you can make a killing when that happens. Um, sorry to break this but…

In recent years more and more agents’ boards have gone up. Good news for Sydenham? Well Conversion and new-build flats and houses have sprung up all round the place, flung up to house more and more people coming to the area on the back of that promise it’s ‘ripe for regeneration’ and ‘a good investment’ made on programmes like Relocation Relocation.

In fact, due to the increased demand for housing here, even our pubs and churches and other community buildings are fast being converted into flats. These sorts of conversions can make attractive purchases for discerning buyers, but in reality they only mean we are cramming more and more people into every inch of space we can find. This has an impact on us all – those who live here already and those moving here too. Not only are we are losing our core amenities, our public buildings and our history to the developers, but our antiquated Victorian sewage systems, already literally at saturation point, built as they were to service the lazy Victorian suburb of Sydenham which was much much smaller than modern-day Sydenham, are having to deal with more and more sewage traffic week on week, the by product of this increase in population density. When the water system breaks down water rates will simply increase to cover the costs – Thames Water admit this freely. You the property owner will pick up the tab.

But it doesn’t end there - roadworks set up to fix simple problems caused by high density housing - like broken pavements, sewage and water drainage problems or potholes caused by too much traffic on our roads - make driving and congestion worse. Your car insurance premiums will rise as the roads become more dangerous to drive on. Those people who do choose to shift out of their cars (or off buses) will move onto trains and clog up that service too. And pretty much cancel out the convenience of the tube coming here – which everyone believes is going to benefit the area - by just piling onto that instead.

Furthermore an ongoing decline in our air quality because of pollution means we are seeing more health problems (like asthma, skin troubles, or bizarre, stress-related autoimmune disorders in particular) cropping up. People are drinking more alcohol more often because they’re hyper stressed at having to commute then work so hard to pay for their expensive flats. So more people are visiting their doctors more frequently. But the number of doctors or surgeries servicing Sydenham has not increased in line with the increase in people flooding into and living in their catchment area - so patients now have to wait longer and longer for appointments. The borough has not built any more hospitals to service its residents either. Neither does it intend to. In fact Lewisham hospital has had to cut its services because they say they are so badly underfunded.

See what I mean? How is this an area ‘on the up?’ It’s not going to get any better any time soon either. Certainly not within the two years the above forum members predict Sydenham property prices still have to rise.

These are just some of the reasons Sydenham property prices have never gone through the roof before. And why it has historically been cheap to live here.

Your council taxes will rise to fix these problems. Yet your mortgages will not decrease, and all the time you'll find yourselves with yet more outgoings – spending more and more money on council tax, water rates, insurance, just to maintain your current quality of life, not even to improve it! If you do want Sydenham to improve, or just to guarantee your own quality of life is simply held static, you the home owner again will have to pay for improvements to Sydenham somewhere. Think - can you afford it? If you’re a stockbroker earning a wad of cash you probably can. But if you’re a stockbroker earning a wad of cash then why would you move to Sydenham, when you can afford to live somewhere with far better services already in place? Chances are most of you are just ordinary people earning a decent living wage. And you cannot afford to pay out more on bills than you do already.

Because property prices are so high you're all out at work for long long hours, away from friends and family, trying to make the money you need to pay for cripplingly expensive flats and houses you hope will eventually pay you dividends cos the TV and the estate agents say they will. Here's the thing - they don't know that. They just say it and hope you'll believe them, and keep them in sharp suits and fast cars until you stop believing.

Plus you're having to pay higher stamp duty these days because prices are heading over the £250K mark more often - throwing cash away for nothing. And as large tracts of Sydenham are becoming commuter-owned your home contents insurance premiums are rising as burglars take the carte blanche you’ve given them to burgle your uninhabited houses while you’re out at work all day making an honest buck to pay all this stuff!

And has anyone even considered the rising water table? And that Sydenham (and parts of Forest Hill) are built on ground harbouring numerous streams coursing their way merrily about underneath our feet? How are you going to tackle a rise in the water table? What would it do to your property prices?

I accept that many people move here, love it and stay. If you do love living in Sydenham the threat of these problems won’t make any difference to you. You will want to solve the problems – whatever the cost. And stick around regardless.

But does everyone realise what the true consequences are if they do end up stuck in Sydenham with a serious negative equity problem?

Nork1 is right. A lot of people are going to hurt when a crash comes. The question all of you should be asking is not how much property is set to rise in the next two years - but how close to the knucklebone of a crash are you already? And could you survive it?
Muddy Waters
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Post by Muddy Waters »

Valium, anyone?
castiron73
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Joined: 24 Oct 2006 10:05
Location: Sydenham Thorpes

Post by castiron73 »

Well, that was the point I was making by starting this thread (apart from the water table and air pollution bit). The programme said Sydenham was great for a short-term investment but didn't talk about the magnificent housing stock, the friendly community, the local cultural events, the wonderful parks, view and walks. It concentrated only on the greasy spoons.

But we can't deny it is nice to see your property go up in value - certainly better than seeing it crash. Even with the best intentions to stay put, circumstances can change in your career or family situation and it's good to be able to afford a house elsewhere.

It's also unfair to criticise the new population changing the environment. A lot of people are moving into the area and renovating buildings - including churches, yes, but what community is there in an empty church?
There is a demand for smaller flats, not huge houses. It makes sense to divide them up. These problems aren't specific to Sydenham, but in fact you could argue that the property boom in the 1800s after the Crystal Place came, which led to all these oversized villas, is to blame for the current lack of appropriate housing for the modern family.
Also, if the high street had been a bit quicker to react to the threat of Savacentre, if the pubs had catered for the majority of the community rather than alcoholics - then they could be enjoying more success too. What we need is more change, not less, and instead of moaning we should press for it. It might put more pressure on the infrastructure but that will change in time too.
local lady
Posts: 3
Joined: 2 Mar 2007 10:14
Location: sydenham

Post by local lady »

Yes to valium, Muddy Waters. Followed by hemlock chasers all round at the Dolphin.

Sorry Castiron 73 – I lumped you in with all the other posts and do see the good points you were making.

Yes again, Castiron 73, admittedly as bad as I’ve painted this picture of Sydenham now it wasn’t all roses in the past - some of the properties round here, rentals in particular, were in an almost Dickensian state of disrepair in the eighties. Developers who came in did them a service - and in some cases saved them from demolition altogether. Not all change is bad, it’s true.

But I’ve got to stand by the idea that I would prefer to see buildings that belong to the community stay with the community. And that the council should be obliged to feed them back into the community for community use should they fall into disrepair. Not flog them off so they’re shut up to all but a select few who can afford to live there, with the people who have loved and enjoyed them, got married or christened there in the past, now only able to press their noses up against the windows to see inside.

The fact that Lewisham council sold off such vast amounts of its own housing stock under right to buy hasn’t helped matters. Decent ex local authority property can now sell for a mint. So presumably many right to buyers benefited – but some ex LA properties in very bad repair have now found their way back onto the rental market at outlandishly inflated asking prices, which is not good. Some people are now also unfortunately stuck with houses they can’t sell in areas the council consistently underinvested in, or are trapped paying maintenance bills to the council for repair work they do not want done but can’t refuse. A lack of council and affordable housing in our area means many honest, non fuss-making people who work in our supermarkets, sweep our streets, deliver our parcels and do other jobs that do not attract a high income, no longer have access to the social housing they so badly need. They cannot get on the property ladder so often have to rent privately and pay private prices for the privilege. Since minimum wages haven’t risen in step with rents they either live in the lowest of the lowest accommodation or claim housing and council tax benefits which cost us all. In the main these people are not freeloaders as we’d all like to tell ourselves – rather they have been robbed of the opportunity to support themselves through the rise in property prices. We need to keep them here if they want to stay. To have them working here, taking part. And to give them back their dignity. Kids are impetuous and work on simple logic. Is it any wonder some kids do the things some kids do when they see their parents working honestly all the hours God sends, living in a dump, getting nowhere year on year, spending all their money on child care, while five streets up the hill everyone’s gloating about their new-found property wealth?

I must say I do like your idea of hauling those pesky repressed Victorians to account for the current lack of appropriate housing for the modern family though. They were a dry lot, but certainly not forward thinking enough! They did build some fine looking houses round here though.

Certainly we should press for more change. I wholeheartedly agree. I do admire your enthusiasm that more pressure on the infrastructure will change it – I am not sure if I can share that enthusiasm yet tho. I don’t think there are enough people willing to stand up and exert the pressure needed for change. Or enough people with enough time. Or enough people with enough energy left in them after a hard week’s work to exert pressure. It’s not so much apathy as sheer drop-dead exhaustion that’s stopping people from caring about their community these days.

Having said that, I believe businesses like the Dolphin have certainly reinvigorated people and created a buzz. They do improve our quality of life in Sydenham on such a basic level. The down side is that no doubt estate agents are already selling properties off the back of the hard work of the Dolphin crew. Pushing up property prices in the area adjacent to the ‘Dolphin gastropub’ so that bar staff cannot afford to live too close to where they work. Again only the estate agents (and banks) make a packet. Really we should say no to their price hikes and refuse to be manipulated by them. Although I do understand everyone likes to see their property increasing in value.

To expect a decent standard of living – decent shops, nice cafes, breathable air, good, accessible health care, without having to pay for them in our property prices as well in as our taxes should be our right. I think we have forgotten in London that we and our children can demand as our right a good quality of life. It’s not a bonus – it’s a necessity for us to function. We should stand up and say no to paying inflated prices to estate agents. We should keep our property cash in our pockets and spend that cash with local businesses, on our own leisure time, our health, our families instead. Or use it to work less hours every week and actually start enjoy spending our spare time at home in the places we have bought.

People like Nork1 cannot lose – don’t diss him for admitting it and talking straight! His is a very wise caution to everyone. I don’t know but am guessing he bought when prices were affordable, likes his place so is a fairly happy sort of guy, wants to stay in Sydenham - so if prices go up that looks good on paper for him and he’s chuffed, but on the other hand feels secure because if property prices drop severely he won’t lose a fortune like it seems some people coming into the market now might. People in Nork1’s situation presumably have financial room to move if council taxes, water rates etc go up long term. They probably also have money to spend in their pockets with local businesses as they aren’t paying over the odds for their houses. Many people buying now at five times their income will, on the other hand, be perpetually skint, and are simply making the banks and estate agents rich. If they’re mortgaged to the hilt they ultimately won’t have any spare cash in their back pockets so they’re less likely to splurge at places like The Dolphin. They therefore have less to contribute to the local economy, and more to lose if prices drop. It is therefore surely in the interest of local businesses and buyers alike that property prices stabilise – and soon - at an affordable level.

The time to make a quick buck out of property has passed. We should stop harping on about it. If the price is right investing in property can be a great way to build a retirement fund and avoid throwing money away on rent. But rapid increases in prices, like the ones we are seeing at the moment, are no good to anyone long term. Time for us all to come back down to reality.
Greg Whitehead
Posts: 474
Joined: 11 Apr 2005 15:44
Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

Initally reading your post local lady the only sane prognosis I would have delivered would have been for you to completely move out of Sydenham as you're clearly not happy living here, perhaps that's not a luxury afforded to you however? Just an assumption and feel free to haul me to task if I'm incorrect.

Anyway, re-reading it I think you make some very valid points, albeit they're endemic to the United Kingdom and not isolated to our small corner of it. Sydenham is leafy, quiet and stunning in many parts due to it's vast stock of large and imposing Victorian villas and terraces, it's been agreed many times before that both Lower, Upper and Hill has these streets, conservation areas and views in abundance. House prices are becoming such that when one of these larger houses come onto the market it's only the few that can afford the 500K upwards for the house and the seven-figure sums for the Villas.

Frankly whilst these large 4+ beds are better served in family-owner hands for maintenance reasons I fail to see what's wrong with a good Victorian conversion? Done correctly it's surely better to have the the house continue to beautify the area, even if it comprises two 2bed flats rather than a whole family home? OK, done poorly (the recent one on Lawrie Park Road with it's horrid windows being a prime example) they serve the opposite function. What's the alternative? Become an identi-kit bit of London with swathes of new-build rabbit-hutches (think the beginning of Silverdale - not the warehouse flats though, they're rather good. It's the flats by the P.O. are the ones I dislike) It's pure market economics. People are playing a dangerous game and are being forced to take on multiples of FOUR and FIVE times their income to buy rather than the accepted comfortable multiple of 2.5.

Consider also that with more swanky new conversions there'll be even more couples with high disposable income moving in which should have the desired and clearly required effect on the high street. I appreciate with increased population comes huge infrastructre pressure and Nasaroc has kept us well informed with the impending ELLX and the future living with that but we're hardly being forced daily onto the crowded, crime-ridden, polluted/dirty, un-reliable and inhumanely hot 'true' underground. As for sewerage, it's a UK-wide problem but you get your views across well.

About this rising water table. Perhaps my basic laws of physics fail me but given that 'London' rises as soon as you leave Central London, well as soon as you pass Elephant you rise when heading south. On this clay ridge we live on, the water will collect only when the ground levels? If so, it's blatant NIMBYism but I'd imagine the water will continue to follow a similar route to that of the Effra were, quite frankly, it will become the problem of those utterly stupid enough to buy property on a flood-plain (i.e. almost everyone who lives north of the river and most places in West London).

To paraphrase, I disagree with you. Sydenham is very much on the up. Have you had a good walk around lately? Yes, avoiding the High Street for the moment. Take a walk up and down, left and right and I think you'll agree that it's actually a rather smart area with good middle-class families living in handsome Victorian stock proliferating in the main. The fact that if you drive through it you'd be mistaken for thinking it was Hounslow is not my problem but the owners of the imploding business' on the High Street - I shall not be buying their ghastly wares and judging by the amount of people in them at any given time I'm not alone (the organic shop, Gurkhas and the such left to one acceptable side).

Our problem is that we are just so terribly, terribly bad at marketing ourselves. How many times when you're asked where you live do people look at you blankly? Everyone knows Dulwich Village and East Dulwich though...

To finish. Could anyone please enlighten me as to the allure for C.P.? Is it the two trains an hour? Perhaps the Gents ablutions in the BlueBottle? Maybe it's the Woolworths or the derelict Safeway's that packs them in? Are they calmed by the constant hiss of the traffic snaking around the triangle or do they love the quickened step they feel the need to take when negotiating the rough part of the Triangle...I just can't see it. I know the Thai place and Joanna's are OK and they have Domali's but come on - As for the bar's and restaraunt creating demand where do they think a large proportion of the people out in C.P. PRE-DOLPHIN came from? That's right, Sydenham. I just don't see the pull of C.P. and much prefer it here.

Can I have some Valium also? Oh, and local lady, are you sure you're not Leaf under a new name? Your prose and points are very similar.
Last edited by Greg Whitehead on 4 Mar 2007 11:47, edited 2 times in total.
raymondus
Posts: 92
Joined: 14 Feb 2006 16:49
Location: Middle Sydenham

Post by raymondus »

Our problem is that we are just so terribly, terribly bad at marketing ourselves. How many times when you're asked where you live do people look at you blankly? Everyone knows Dulwich Village and East Dulwich though...
Precisely! When I tell everyone that I live in Sydenham, I have to sigh and quickly relate that it is between Crystal Palace and Dulwich!
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