Q. I have a big decision to make and I am wondering if you can help? I am about to make an offer on my first ever property but I am torn between two. They are both in the same postcode but my preference is for the four bedroom house with a garden, the other is a two bedroom apartment within a gated development with facilities. The house I must add is ex local authority. The question is although I am not bothered that the house is ex local authority what will happen when I come to sell? Will it make a big difference?
A. You are not alone in your quandary; many sit in your same place knowing that they can get a far larger perhaps more suited to your needs property possibly even in the same road for the same price as a much smaller private apartment located within a fancy development. So when the chips are down does it really matter? Most buyers are aware that buying private is the best option and given the choice I think the vast majority would, given the stigma that still surrounds ex local authority properties versus the private sector. I think when exploring the ex-local market as an option each property needs to be looked at individually as in some areas you would never actually know that the property was formally owned by the local authority, there are also some areas like St. Johns Wood for example where that type of property is just as sought after as location seems to matter more than anything else for buyers around that part of the city. Ultimately when it comes to selling if you have bought in the private sector you are likely to have a larger audience of purchasers given some can be quite snobby and would never consider looking outside the private sector. You are also likely to see a higher capital growth in the private property than you would if you decided to run with the ex-local option. Historically that’s just how things have always been the demand for private is likely to be the drive behind this. Ultimately the choice is yours, you certainly will not lose any money buying ex local and the space could be a real asset to your lifestyle, it’s a trade off, but you may find that investing in the private sector will serve you better in years to come if capital growth is high on the agenda along with popularity amongst buyers when it’s time to sell.