Property: Stepping Stones

A Writer's Property Story
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The Independent Culture
CHILDREN'S WRITER Lorna Read has bought seven properties since 1979. For her first purchase, Lorna plumped for a first-floor flat opposite a pickle factory in Ealing which cost pounds 16,000.

Lorna soon found her patience stretched by a barman neighbour who "played bongo drums until dawn". In 1983, she sold for pounds 24,000 and moved on to a two-up, two-down in west Ealing for pounds 35,000.

Three years later, after "a broken live-in romance and daily hell beneath Concorde's flight path" Lorna sold for pounds 59,000 and, for the same price, bought a one-bedroom flat in Belsize Park. Within days it was back on the market: "I found myself living beneath `the elephants'."

A year later Lorna sold for pounds 75,000 and bought a tiny one-bed attic flat in Hampstead. Here she "churned out several novels" in three years.

The Northern Line at the bottom of the garden proved a disruption, though, and in 1990 she sold for pounds 94,000, moving up to a brand new house in a cul-de-sac in Crouch End for pounds 160,000. Unruly neighbours made her regret this purchase and a year later she sold for pounds 140,00, moving the next year to a pounds 118,000 maisonette with roof terrace in Dartmouth Park

Five years later Lorna made what she describes as her second big mistake: "I'd passed 50 and yearned for a detached suburban house." She paid pounds 165,000 for a property in Uxbridge but, just two weeks later, Lorna's dream turned into a nightmare of "boredom and hellish late night journeys home from London".

Last September she sold for pounds 168,000, and is currently looking for a house in north London.


1979 - bought Ealing flat for pounds 16,000, sold for pounds 24,000.

1983 - bought Ealing cottage for pounds 35,000, sold for pounds 59,000.

1986 - bought Belsize Park flat for pounds 59,000 sold for pounds 75,000.

1987 - bought Hampstead attic for pounds 75,000, sold for pounds 94,00.

1990 - bought Crouch end house for pounds 160,000, sold for pounds 140,00 in 1991.

1992 - bought Dartmouth Park flat for pounds 118,000, sold for pounds 215,000.

1997 - bought Uxbridge detached for pounds 165,000, sold for pounds 168,000 later that year.