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The Guardian: "The bubble that turned into a tide: how London got hooked on gentrification"

"Gentrification is a familiar story in the capital – but now even the 1% are being squeezed out. What do the stories of Peckham, Holland Park and Chelsea tell us about the new reality?"

Link to web site

"Earlier this month the Financial Times ran an article, as every newspaper has done many times before, headlined 'Has London's property price bubble burst?' The report was well researched and judicious, as you would expect. The conclusion, roughly, was “Probably not, but you never know”, which is all one can ever say safely. The only problem was the word 'bubble'.

"The South Sea Bubble, the all-time benchmark for market irrationality, lasted one year – 1720 – when shares in the South Sea Company rose tenfold and then collapsed. The London property market has been rising, with brief interruptions, since the end of the second world war, when top-end houses cost around £5,000.

"In the past 20 years, an era of low general inflation, the Halifax house price index shows that values in London have multiplied by almost six. The Office for National Statistics figures, which started later but dig deeper, suggest that in some of the richest areas of inner London, the 20-year increase is tenfold. Over 70 years, that £5,000 house might have gone up to £5m or £10m – one or two thousand-fold. This long ago ceased to be a bubble. A hot-air balloon? A barrage balloon? The metaphor doesn't work."

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