Property: Stepping Stones

One Family's Property Story
DESIGNER CAROLINE Scott and charity director Carl Poll have bought three properties since 1985. They now live in a Victorian house in Telegraph Hill, south London with their sons Freddie and Billy.

Carl first considered buying back in 1977 while living in Edinburgh: "A studio flat was pounds 750 and a two-bed flat pounds 1,200, sums which were too small to be mortgageable. I considered borrowing from my mum but went to Paris instead."

The Eighties saw Carl living in a Peckham council flat and still reluctant to buy: "I fancied a more Bohemian lifestyle."

Eventually he tired of "putting money into renting" and felt he should take the plunge. Scouring south-east London, he found that the price of a two-bedroom flat in Brixton would buy a whole house in less popular Brockley: "I wanted enough room for someone to live in and help pay the mortgage."

In 1985 Carl bought a three-bedroom Victorian terraced house for pounds 39,000. Carl's partner, Caroline, was then living in short-life property, but the frenzy of increasing prices prompted her also to get a foot on the property ladder. In 1987, she moved in with Carl and together with her mother paid pounds 66,500 for a terraced house in Crofton Park which she rented out and believed was a good investment: "By completion it was worth pounds 78,000, I should probably have sold then."

After 10 years in Brockley, Freddie's birth prompted them to buy somewhere together and end the complication of running two households.

In 1995 they sold both properties. Crofton Park's value had slipped to pounds 60,000 and the Brockley house, valued in 1989 at pounds 100,000, sold for pounds 75,000. Selling in a slump meant modest profits but the large, and previously unaffordable, houses they had always coveted in Telegraph Hill were now within reach. They paid pounds 90,000 for a three-storey Victorian terraced house and estimate they have spent pounds 35,000 on restoration.

Roger Grover, of Halifax Property Services, says: "Telegraph Hill is the best part of New Cross. It's 15 minutes into the City."

Those moves in brief...

1985 - bought Brockley terrace for pounds 39,000, sold for pounds 75,000.

1987 - bought Crofton Park house for pounds 66,5000, sold for pounds 60,000.

1995 - bought three-storey house in Telegraph Hill for pounds 90,000 now worth pounds 220,000.

If you would like your moves to be featured, write to: Nic Cicutti, Stepping Stones, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. pounds 100 will be awarded for the best story