Sunday, June 03, 2007

House Boats & the Property Ladder

It is well known that us Brits are absolutely obsessed about property. An Englishman's home is not just his castle but his once little nest egg that has increased by [enter huge number here] in the last 6 months alone.

The TV schedules are full of programs from self-build to how to buy abroad - and last week one such called Property Ladder covered an interesting project to convert an abandoned barge into a houseboat (above you can see a photo of the barge during the program shoot).

A house boat is a lovely idea - to be actually on the river, rising and falling with the tide, gently rocking in the wind, hearing the lap of waves and cry of gulls can be magically. And it can make great sense costing less than the equivalent in bricks and mortar (or even steel and concrete).

However there are problems that the program skirted round. The developers want a reported £ 270,000 for a sixty year lease of the mooring. However the Port of London Authority reserve the right to evict anyone with just 3 months notice. And the thought of a quarter of a million vanishing into smoke is not exactly the best way to encourage prospective buyers.

But the risk might be low - look at this property sale - and note the comment about the lease length.

Its a shame as there are empty berths and house boats looking for places. But the annual charge of £ 9,000 for the boat above is again too high for many tastes.

But then again property prices in London seem to be able to only head in one direction - upwards.


Katinka said...

The PLA can evict someone with just 3 months notice? Good heavens, why would anyone take such a risk?! (Mind you, living on a houseboat does sound lovely)

JP said...

I suppose the PLA doesn't do it that often but yes, I'd be worried about that.