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Will "Buying London" Hit During A UK Housing Crisis?

As the UK Housing Crisis Worsens, Will "Buying London" Appeal to Viewers?

Image Source: Netflix

I can't tell you the amount of times my friends and I have had conversations about the dire housing situation in the UK. Many of us are single women in our 20s and have hopped around different rental properties and believe me; we've seen it all. From unattainable price jumps, to damp and mould, to just flat-out not being able to afford it and moving back in with our parents with our tails between our legs.

Which is why when Netflix first announced the news of a reality real estate series "Buying London", I was instantly a bit confused about the premise of the show. I instantly thought: "Surely it can't be about selling luxury real estate in London?" But alas, that is exactly what it's about. The structured reality series is a spin-off of "Buying Beverly Hills" and follows estate agent Daniel Daggers and his team of agents at DDRE Global as they navigate selling luxury houses in London. Has anyone read the room?

Let's face it, in recent years the London housing situation has been bleak. According to the Office For National Statistics (ONS), in 2023, London's rental rates rose to the highest rate since records began in 2006. The ONS report revealed that "Londoners now account for a third of the money spent on private rental homes across the UK". The Centre For London's First Homes fit for Londoners report highlighted that one in four Londoners are living in poverty after paying for their homes, two in five live in unsuitable homes that have suffered from damp or mould in the last year, and the equivalent of more than one child in every classroom in London is living in temporary accommodation.

Image Source: Netflix

I couldn't help but feel like the premise of the show during such a bleak time in our housing market, not just in London but in the UK as a whole, felt a little bit out of touch. I'm a huge fan of similar reality real estate Netflix shows like "Selling Sunset" and its spin-off show "Selling The OC". In "Selling Sunset" the tanned LA agents strut around glistening multi-story mansions and infinity pools in over-the-top designer outfits, whilst they gossip about office drama and close deals. Even the way the show is shot is bright, glossy and vibrant whilst "Buying London" is just a little bit darker — maybe it's our gloomy weather or the show just doesn't carry that same sparkle. The agents are mostly showing town houses in Mayfair and Daggers himself even admits that you get "much less" for your money here.

Or maybe the show's just not hitting the same due to the proximity of the location. "Buying London" is filmed in my backyard and it almost makes it harder to swallow. When I'm watching "Buying London" it's just harder dissociate like I can with "Selling Sunset". As Brits, there will always be this fairytale of the American Dream or starting a new life in Hollywood Hills - it almost feels aspirational. However, with "Buying London" in each scene, I found it harder to turn a blind eye away from the glaringly obvious housing issues that effect the majority of us in the capital.

Perhaps this is just me looking too deeply into what is meant to be a light-hearted series and Brits will actually love the show. Maybe getting a closer look at the sheltered world of the most luxurious houses in London will still appeal to viewers. One thing I will say, is that the show itself and the cast they have chosen are interesting — even Daggers has charisma about him. It's not a bad show, it just feels like the premise of it misses the mark and doesn't reflect the majority of people living in London.

Some people might say, "Well that's the point, these shows are supposed to show the lives of the one percent." The reality of it is, for many of us in London we will never be able to own even a one-bed home in London. Whilst the buyers in Holland Park and Mayfair on the show are most likely on their third four-bed property purchase, many of us are still struggling to scrape together our deposit.

Aaliyah Harry (she/her) is the associate editor at PS UK. She writes extensively across lifestyle, culture and beauty. Aaliyah also has a deep passion for telling stories and giving voice to the voiceless. Previously, she has contributed to Refinery29, Grazia UK and The Voice Newspaper.

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