Property: So what would pounds 100,000 get you today?: Anne Spackman surveys current prices, compares them with those of 10 years ago, and takes a shuddering glance at the peak of 1988

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The Independent Online
Ten years ago, pounds 100,000 would have bought you a three- bedroom flat in Kensington, an old rectory in the country or an island off Scotland. Four years later, when the market peaked in the last quarter of 1988, pounds 100,000 was just below the average price for any house in Greater London and the South-east. That average has now fallen to pounds 77,000. So what would pounds 100,000 buy you today?

In Central London, not a lot. Prices have returned to their pre- recessionary high, with pounds 150,000 the entry level for any half-decent flat. Below that, your choice is between a very short lease or a very small studio or basement.

In the most absurd case, pounds 100,000 will buy you an 18-month lease on a two-bedroom, two-reception room, fourth-floor flat at 34 Cadogan Place SW1. This is equivalent to paying pounds 5,500 a month rent - plus a service charge of pounds 3,200 per year and pounds 300 per year in ground rent.

Yet however short-term the lease, buying gets you a more permanent foothold: when the lease expires, the new owner will have a right to remain as a statutory tenant and can apply for a new 90-year lease after three years' residence. The flat is for sale through Chesterfield (071-581 5234).

One of the only other pounds 100,000 properties available in a smart neighbourhood is Flat 7, 65 Cadogan Gardens SW3. This unmodernised studio flat on the second floor of a red-brick block is for sale at pounds 92,500 through Beaney Pearce (071-589 1333).

In 1984, pounds 100,000 would have bought you a very respectable address in London. But a three-bedroom flat in Kensington or a two- bedroom flat in Belgravia would now cost upwards of pounds 300,000. Moving out a little, pounds 100,000 would have bought a whole house in Westbridge Road, Battersea, in 1984. Now it will buy you a one- or two-bedroom flat. John D Wood in Battersea (071-228 0174) is selling a one-bedroom mansion block flat in Prince of Wales Drive for pounds 93,000. The firm has a similar property in Albert Bridge Road, overlooking Battersea Park, for pounds 98,000.

If you want a house in London, you will have to go to the Edwardian suburbs. In Wimbledon Park, John D Wood is selling a typical three-bedroom terrace house, with very small rooms, for pounds 115,000.

Comparisons across the rest of the country are most easily measured by the standard Thirties semi. In Epsom, Surrey, one of these would take all your allotted money, as according to the Halifax Building Society the average price is pounds 102,250. In Stockton-on-Tees, Sheffield, Oldham, Stafford, Loughborough or Northampton, you could have two semis for that price. A new detached house in Scotland (average pounds 99,187) or a Thirties detached house in the West Midlands (average pounds 100,620) would also be within your grasp.

One of the most romantic options in the pounds 100,000 bracket is at Kilmuir on the Isle of Skye. Even by Scottish island standards, its position is pretty special. The house stands by the shore at Camusmore Bay, with its own private slipway and pier. On one side it looks across the water to the Outer Hebrides, on the other to the Trotternish Ridge mountains.

Inside, the whitewashed cottage is no spartan croft. It has central heating, two bathrooms, a modern kitchen and an enormous living- room as well as three bedrooms. The house is being sold by Murray & Co in Portree (0478 612982) with an asking price of pounds 110,000.

There are plenty of other whitewashed cottages worthy of urban fantasy. One of the prettiest is White Cottage at High Hutton outside York. It has batten doors, exposed beams, a lush garden and good views - all prerequisites for city escapers. It also has three bedrooms, a sitting-room, dining-hall and study. Carter Jonas in York (0904 627436) is asking pounds 99,000.

Carter Jonas in Bridgnorth, Shropshire (0746 761711) has a similarly picturesque but slightly larger cottage in the hamlet of Quatford. The Old Post Office is for sale at pounds 110,000.

The Pottery at Chantry, Devon, a converted outbuilding of a period house near the village of Aveton Gifford, is in the same price bracket. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage has an unusually large, deep pond in the garden, with an island described as 'suitable for wildfowl'. The asking price is pounds 105,000 from Marchand Petit in Kingsbridge (0548 857588).

If you fancy something completely different, you could take your pounds 100,000 to Manhattan and buy a one-bedroom condominium on East 57th Street, priced at dollars 149,500 or one on Park Avenue for dollars 145,000. (Contact Beaney Pearce on 071-589 1333 for details.)

Alternatively, you could have a villa in Spain or a farmhouse in France. The International Property Tribune (0525 375319) is advertising a three-bedroom flat overlooking the sea at Fuengirola for about pounds 100,000, and a restored country house in the Haute Vienne for Fr720,000. In 1984 it would probably have gone for a song.