Up For Auction

Yesterday’s mystery print was of a brass steam dome reflecting the rest of its engine.

This morning I watched part of my least favourite television programme. There I was, minding my own business upstairs while Jackie was watching one of her choices, ‘Homes Under The Hammer’, when she called me to come and watch it. Some of my American and continental correspondents have commented about how crazy are the real estate prices in UK. One of the reasons for their escalation is the ‘Buy to Let’ practice which enables people to buy homes specifically for the purpose of renting them out. After the exposure of Peter Rachman’s exploitation of tenants in the 1950s and ’60s, various rent acts have protected tenants, and for a time it was not possible to obtain a mortgage on a property bought for the purpose of letting it. Since the late 1990s, however, the practice has burgeoned.

‘Homes Under The Hammer’, follows the progress of largely neglected dwellings through the auction houses to their refurbishment or demolition and redevelopment of the site. The programme focusses solely on profit, bringing in local estate agents to weigh up the benefits for developers of resale as against rental. Some people, of course, make the improvements to turn dilapidated houses into family homes for themselves. That is a different matter.

‘You’ll never guess what’s in ‘Homes Under The Hammer’, Jackie cried. She was right. I didn’t. But as soon as she told me, I was down the stairs like a shot, pausing only to grab my camera from my desk.Homes Under the Hammer Derelict house 1Homes Under the Hammer Derelict house 2Homes Under the Hammer Derelict house 3

In several posts, including ‘Derelict’, during our time in Morden, I wrote about an uninhabited dwelling. This boarded up house suffered more and more graffiti and vandalism whilst we lived in Links Avenue. Today it featured in the programme, which, following the normal formula, began with the presenter investigating the property on offer.Homes Under the Hammer PresenterJPG

Normally, the young woman would have toured the inside of the building, but access was denied her by the measures taken to prevent people from sleeping, or worse, in there.Homes Under the Hammer AuctioneerHomes Under the Hammer Auction 1Homes Under the Hammer Auction 2

Viewers are the taken to the auction rooms to watch the sale, hyping up the escalating bids and pointing out by how much the guide price has been exceeded. The packed Savills venue demonstrates both the popularity of this method of sale, and the multi-cultural nature of this part of London.Homes Under the Hammer Buyers at auctionHomes Under the Hammer BuyersHomes Under the Hammer Buyers and presenter

At the end of the proceedings the camera focusses on the successful bidders who are then congratulated by the presenter who discusses their plans with them on site.

Homes Under the Hammer Plans

The original intention had been to demolish the wreck and replace it by four new attached buildings. After two unsuccessful applications to the Council’s Planning Department, the buyers settled for one larger, more luxurious, dwelling. Letting this out was not in their minds, as they intended to sell what they built.

Allowing a reasonable amount of time to elapse, the film crew return to see what has been achieved. In this case, after two unsuccessful applications to the Council’s Planning Department, who had paid attention to neighbours’ objections, the developers had settled for one larger, more luxurious, dwelling.Homes Under the Hammer Buyers outside newbuildHomes Under the Hammer NewbuildHomes Under the Hammer Buyer indiside newbuildHomes Under the Hammer Inside newbuild 1Homes Under the Hammer Inside newbuild2

Although not yet finished, it was now possible for the filming to take place inside.

This new build has been estimated by local estate agents on completion of the work to be valued at £800,000 – £850,000. I imagine, looking at what’s on offer, my readers from abroad may be rather shocked.

This evening Jackie produced a dinner of succulent Muscovy duck breasts roasted in redcurrant jelly, crisp roast potatoes, and crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with a tasty gravy. I began the excellent 2010 claret from Fortnum and Mason given to us in a hamper by Luci and Wolf for Christmas 2013.



  1. I have seen that programme – often enjoyed it in the days when I watched TV! And yes! I’m always shocked by the price of real estate – everywhere really. Even though when we compare it is so much more reasonable here than just about anywhere else. That amount of money would purchase a large dwelling on a largish amount of land [5 – 6 acres] with fabulous views here………… But then this isn’t anywhere near London! 🙂

  2. How fun to see a place you recognize on T.V.! The new house is really expensive. Real estate where I live is very high – it is the land that costs so much, not that the houses aren’t pricey, as well.

    We have similar programs here in the U.S. about buying and flipping houses for resale. If it can be auctioned off, they turn it into a television program. Storage lockers and cars are also popular auction shows.

    Most of the homes that are auctioned off in our county are delinquent in paying taxes and they are sold from the courthouse steps. Buyers have to register in advance for the auction and show up with the minimum deposit for the property (cash in hand) and proof they can pay the rest.

  3. Wow!!! That is expensive. I read your posts on that property. To my eyes, that was so much more appealing than what has been built. We have a similar show here. The buyers renovate homes using lots of granite , stainless steel and expensive wood floors. In the end, everything turns out looking like all their other high end renovations. In 10 years, everything will look “dated”. Annoying .
    My guess of a toasting marshmallow was way off, lol!!

    1. You are so right Cynthia – our average modern house is ghastly. The original house was solid enough to have been refurbished, Thank you, also for reading the older posts.

  4. Nothing is shocking about real estate in today’s world. We hate the idea of demolishing old property if it can be refurbished. Despite the graffiti the old structure doesn’t look too bad.

  5. Looks like the house in which I grew up. I wasn’t sure to start with as it is such a wreck and so overgrown – it used to be such a sweet little home – but your comments referring to Links Avenue and “although it is in the corner of a park” may have tipped the balance, and it is certainly NOT Morden Hall Park, if it is my old home

  6. Looks like the old house could have been the one in which I lived as a child. I doubted it at first when a friend sent me the TV link because it was such a wreck – and it used to be such a sweet little home, with a beautiful beech hedge, rhodos around the front door and a very large and productive fruit and vegetable garden – but your comments about Links Avenue and “it is in the corner of a park” seem to clinch it. But it is certainly NOT Morden Hall Park. Our home phone was the “Cherrywood” exchange back in the late 1950’s.

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