For parts of London 2014 was a very good year for property values, some rising as much as 20%. Concerns about the property bubble, affordable housing, and the potential mansion tax in 2015 meant that London was always in the forefront of UK property news, and indeed UK property growth.

Some such articles concerned the unbelievable price of London’s tinier, more unique living spaces. Various ‘semi studio’ flats were almost under the minimum property size for a residential space. Mezzanine sleeping areas and ‘rabbit hutch’ properties seemed to indicate the desperation of London’s buyers and renters who were willing to pay standard prices for sub-standard living arrangements.

In other ‘unliveable property’ news, numerous homes had to be investigated by London councils or even condemned for being ridiculously unfit for safe human habitation. A Barnet landlord was fined for renting out a property with rooms inaccessible except by crawling which posed a serious fire safety hazard as well. It was a disturbing trend in London of landlords seeing how much they could get away with in a climate of desperate tenants and increasing London property values. A landlord in Clapham was able to earn £40,000 a year in rent from a property that had a living tree growing through the wall, and other safety violations that made it “the most dangerous site” that the electrician had seen in 35 years.

There were numerous bizarrely-sized and proportioned properties for sale as well, including a 7-foot-wide 2-bed home in Haringey on the market for almost £250,000. A home in Islington (according to the estate agent, “the smallest in the world”) where the ‘bedroom’ had to be accessed by climbing the kitchen counter when on the market for £270,000. An even smaller home (206 sq ft in total) with a similarly odd layout went on for £120,000. Even old parking garages and undeveloped ‘gaps’ are selling for high London prices including a 0.016 acre space (with planning permission) in Battersea for £250,000. Proving the importance of location in the London market, six garages in Fulham sold for £700,000 which was ten times the guide price.

Perhaps one of the most surprising properties was the £650,000 home for sale in Teddington that was put on the market with the understanding that the former residents would have to stay… as they were buried in the garden and too expensive to exhume.

Will the madness of London’s property market in 2014 continue into the New Year? Forecasts vary, with both price rises and falls predicted by different groups, but certainly London’s weird and wonderful properties will always be popular news and an always-surprising market.

Read more at The Guardian.
http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/dec/29/london-property-house-prices-rents