Rejoice, Londoners, for we have entered the long-promised golden age of wealth and prosperity for all! (Please note: prosperity for anyone who doesn't own their own home not guaranteed.)
In the year to July, according to official figures out today, the average house price in the city rose by more than 19 per cent, and topped half a million for the first time. For those keeping score at home, this means that, for a couple to buy an average property, they would need a deposit of £50,000 and a combined income of £100,000. Here is a fine example of the sort of luxury property they could get for their money:
That's it, that's what you get. I mean, it's alright, I guess, but... half a million? Christ.
At the end of the day, of course, we're talking about a lot of money here. Aren't there much better things you could get for your half a million quid?
Well, yes, obviously. In the Highlands of Scotland, for example, you could get yourself this 12 (yes, 12) bedroom property with a view of a monster.
Alternatively, if you fancy something a little less far flung, in the suburbs of Los Angeles you could get yourself this “ranch house”:
5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms... Okay, it’s not enormous as big American detached houses go, and it is in the Angelino equivalent of Orpington. But compare it to what you get in the actual Orpington and it still looks like a good deal.
Annoyingly, of course, this one’s a good 10 miles from the ocean. If you prefer something a little more convenient, down the road in Huntingdon Beach your $800,0000 will net you a mere 2 beds and 3 bathrooms (this is, presumably, in case you all need to go at once).
Yeah, so this one is smaller, but it does look nice. So nice, in fact, that the realtor has become a bit over-excited about selling it, and their caps lock key has become stuck.
Talking of Tuscany (DYSWIDT?), if you take your money to the Italian hills, you could acquire this 6 bedroom villa. In fact, it’s a trio of villas, with 2-bedrooms apiece, set around a central swimming pool. They also come with their own vines, fruit trees, meadows and woodland.
Again, though, no beach. (Hills? Meh.) So let's nip over to Thailand, where for a mere £457,000 you can get 4 beds, 4 baths, a private swimming pool, access to a private beach, and oh god sod journalistic objectivity I really want this one or even just to spend maybe a month there how can I make this happen how how how.
As we said earlier, of course, half a million quid is a really quite enormous amount of money – so let's go all out. According to the ever-useful Private Islands Online (“Islands for sale worldwide”), there are no fewer than 120 different islands which could be yours for price of an average London home.
Not all fit the definition of a tropical paradise, however. They include this tiny landmass in Maine which, in defiance of the first rule of branding ("Don't give your product a name reminiscent of famous nuclear disasters"), retains the evocative name "Two-Mile Island". It is, however excellent value for money:
If you prefer something warmer and more reminiscent of the hit HBO series True Detective, you could instead acquire this lovely shack, set in 17 acres off the Gulf coast of northern Florida.
But if you really want to leave the rat-race behind, you might as well go full-on supervillain. Six miles off the coast of Belize you'll find Morris Caye.
"As you approach this Caye you are mesmerized by the captivating shimmer of deep blue morphing to turquoise crystal clear water with a bountiful myriad of living corals right off the edge of the island...
"If you are looking for the ultimate statement that you have arrived, acquisition of this island assuredly punctuates that fact."
Here’s a picture:
All this – yours for about the same as a one-bed flat in a not-too-shitty part of inner London.
You do have to build your own house, though.
Anyway, to sum up, the London housing market’s screwed.
Image credits: Screen grabs from Rightmove or Private Islands Online.