Let's play PROPERTY Snakes & Ladders! Up? Down? Or flat? House prices are all over the place - but our experts reveal it's the long game that works
By Eve Mcgowan and Annabel Grossman for Mail On Sunday
House prices across the UK are set to cool in the coming months, so those trying to scramble up the greasy rungs might want to take a second look
Whether it’s a sprawling country farmhouse or a derelict two-up two-down in need of some TLC, we all know British property is one of the best investments you can make.
Those fortunate enough to get a foot on the ladder have mostly done exceptionally well.
Yet there are pitfalls. The seemingly relentless rise in values has been punctuated by dangerous slumps, as our graph of British house prices, left, makes all too clear – threatening the unwary with negative equity or repossession.
Even our panel of celebrity property addicts has discovered that the timing of purchases and sales is a delicate art. And that applies to London and the South East, too. There, the influx of foreign money has ensured soaring prices, but mistakes are still possible – and costly.
Our columnist Liz Jones made a solid, if shabby, start with a house in Brixton, South London, next to a prostitute. But she then lost out by selling two properties in what were to become some of the trendiest districts in the capital.
Lucy Alexander has had a smooth rise up the ladder, thanks in part to her footballer husband’s wise decision to invest in a home at just 19 – aided, of course, by the continued buoyancy of the Home Counties.
In contrast, comedian Paul Elliot of the Chuckle Brothers waited until his 30s to buy. He has made steady progress, with a series of spacious houses in South Yorkshire, but the weakness of the northern market means he is currently struggling to sell.
Celebrity builder and Ground Force presenter Tommy Walsh has made impressive profits from holding on to properties after wholesale reshaping – often reconstructing houses from the inside out.
There’s a more colourful approach to climbing the ladder from TV presenter Anna Ryder Richardson, whose portfolio has included a seven-bedroomed Glasgow mansion and a wildlife park in Tenby where, for a while at least, she lived in a log cabin in the grounds.
Like many, she has found the market tricky to play: the recent recession means a big paper profit on the house Glasgow has been impossible to realise because part of the property, which she split up has failed to sell, despite costly renovation.
But this is as nothing to the £450,000 soaking that Liz Jones suffered on her dream farmhouse in Somerset.
House prices across the UK are set to cool in the coming months, so those trying to scramble up the greasy rungs might want to take a second look. The snakes are coming out again, and they bite!
Watch our comprehensive three point guide to buying a house
There's a more colourful approach to climbing the ladder from TV presenter Anna Ryder Richardson, whose portfolio has included a seven-bedroomed Glasgow mansion and a wildlife park in Tenby where, for a while at least, she lived in a log cabin in the grounds.
Liz Jones and Tommy Walsh
Lucy Alexander and Paul Elliot