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BUYING LONDON
Netflix’s Buying London premiered last week (Picture: Zoe McConnell)

Cinema rooms; gold-embellished ceilings; castle-like exteriors.

These are just some of the typical features the properties for sale in Netflix’s new series, Buying London, pose – a far cry from the mouldy walls, limited space and sky-high prices that characterise so many rental experiences in the capital.

With a set-up that attempts to focus on the agents as much as it does the glitzy properties, the series was likely marketed as the English version of the likes of Selling Sunset: there’s the boss at the centre of the company who has a close rapport with many of his colleagues, as well as a suitable amount of office eye-rolling and one-on-one gossips about the office politics.

But where Buying London is different is not just the stilted interactions between colleagues that feel borderline staged – it’s the fact that, amid a cost of living and property crisis, the series feels out of touch with reality.

Of course, just like Selling Sunset, these stories of the rich and famous and their other-worldly properties enthral us as regular human beings; these lifestyles are so out of touch with our reality that indulging in these stories is a guilty pleasure for many.

However, the overarching sentiment is that this show fails to take into consideration how dynamic the London property market is: and crucially, that for the 2.2 million people who live below the poverty line, it isn’t the ‘luxury property capital of the world’ that DDRE founder Daniel Daggers boasts it is in the first episode.

Undated handout photo issued by Netflix of property mogul Daniel Daggers, who has hit out at large real estate companies in a trailer for the upcoming Netflix property show Buying London. The reality series, which has a similar format to the US property show Selling Sunset, follows real estate agent Daggers, also known as Mr Super Prime, as his team navigates London's luxury property market. Issue date: Thursday March 21, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ BuyingLondon. Photo credit should read: Netflix/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
London property agency DDRE was founded by Daniel Daggers (Picture: Netflix/PA Wire)

Clearly, it doesn’t echo the true story of property in London – or, at the very least, fails to acknowledge the countless issues both property owners and renters alike face.

According to statistics from the London Assembly, less than a third of Londoners aged between 20 and 39 own their own home, compared to 41% of people the same age across England. London’s average house prices are the most expensive of any region in the UK, and in April 2023, rates reached averages of £534,000.

For many Londoners, the reality is a lifetime of renting. In April 2024, the average rent in the capital reached an untenable £2,121 per month, with prices increasing by 4.2% in the last year alone, according to figures from Zoopla.

Amid the current economic environment, many are rendered unable to afford these prices. There’s also the issue of dealing with nightmarish landlords, as well as potential structural issues like damp or mould. And for those that have purchased property through shared ownership, many face skyrocketing ground rents.

As such, Buying London has attracted a considerable amount of criticism online for its pitfalls, notably that it’s out of touch with the reality of accessing property in the capital – so much so that homelessness charity Shelter took to its socials to highlight its campaign for ‘everyone to have a safe and secure home.’

‘Watching Buying London (Netflix) in this economy makes you realise just how much money this country historically hordes,’ @GeminiDems wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

‘Over 600 years of cumulative property wealth in central London, meanwhile everyone else in this city is struggling.’

Uncleared grabs/Alex Bourne buying London
The show explores the city’s luxury properties (Picture: Netflix/Buying London)

‘I love reality TV as much as the next person but Buying London is too close to home, sorry. Wdym someone is dropping £10m on a penthouse when they want to double my water bill?’ penned @TFJ_x.

So, what does Buying London tell us about the property market? Is there anything at all we can take from it when it comes to buying a home?

‘When we take average rental and purchase prices in the top-of-market locations and compare them to the prices across wider London, it’s clear that the show is really out of touch with the reality of buying and renting in the capital,’ Jack Bristow, managing director of property funding and insurance firm, J3 Advisory, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘For homebuyers looking to get on the London ladder, the average price of a property is £569,405 according to Rightmove. When comparing this to the average price of a property in Kensington and Chelsea, these areas average at £1.9m – that’s just over double (+105%) what you could expect to pay in a more ‘affordable’ area of London.’

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Evidently, not only does the show wildly misrepresent the reality of owning and renting property in the capital, but it misconstrues what it’s like to work in the property sector.

‘Outside of these premium areas in London, the property market is extremely different, both in London and across the UK as a whole. Shows like this are designed to give audiences a view into this exclusive and luxurious lifestyle for entertainment purposes,’ Jack explains, while Arsh Ellahi, property investor and founder of The Property Investor app, says that it ‘glamourises the process without focusing on the issues that agents, sellers and purchasers face.’

‘Although it may provide some topline insight into the market, I’d say it isn’t necessarily educational for the average viewer,’ Jack concludes.

‘For those who are looking to expand their understanding of premium properties in the capital, it may provide some surface-level insights into the market, but not much more.’

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