London Lite Wednesday, 8 July 2009 23London Lite Wednesday, 8 July 2009 23 itstimeyougrabbedthechancetogobiggerandbetter Zone 4 Three-bed period house in Beckenham, with two living rooms, one bathroom and a garden. Near Birkbeck station. 329,950, Zone 5 Three- bedroom house not far from Rayners Lane Tube with open-plan living room and kitchen, a garden and double garage. 324,999, Property Zone 3TOBUY& 3TOLET to Buy for 325,000 to rent for 325 a week Zone 2 Two-bed flat a short walk from Barons Court Tube with south- facing reception room and views over Queens tennis club. 325,000, Zone 4 Two-bed flat in Palmers Green with high- spec kitchen, two bathrooms, communal gardens and parking. 317pw, Zone 5 Ground- floor flat within gated, detached development in Bickley with off- street parking. The flat comes unfurnished. 323pw, Zone 2 Stunning, spacious one- bedroom flat in quiet street in Brook Green with separate kitchen and paved garden. 325pw, bective Beth Nicol, 27, moved into a new flat in Wimbledon at the beginning of the year. i used to rent in Wandsworth, and my new flat is twice the size of my old one. i didnt think id be able to afford Wimbledon, but my rent has only gone up 30 to 1,160 a month so thats been a nice bonus. there are really lovely shops, bars and restaurants to go to. having the extra space makes it much more comfortable when friends are over. its also good having so much extra storage space, which makes it easier to be tidy. i think its a great time to rent. i dont have to worry about being in negative equity or what the housing market is doing. i am saving and would like to buy eventually, but for now i really feel im making the most of the property market by renting. SALLY HOOKER, 30, shared a flat in the Woolwich Arsenal and now lives on her own in the same block. Ive lived in London for the past seven years, and Ive always wanted my own flat, but never been able to afford it. Now I pay 360 a month extra in rent -- thats 910 a month -- but its a lot less than what I would have paid a year ago for the same flat. My flat is perfect for me -- its all new and it overlooks the river. Id rather be renting a flat that I love than trying to buy something inferior. Renting at the moment means you can expand the quality of your life. I love the freedom -- sharing is great, but nothing beats living on your own. You dont have to worry about chasing anyone for the phone bill money or being annoyed at them for not taking their washing out of the machine. I couldnt go back to sharing now. Ilovethefreedom Going up: Beth Nicols Wimbledon flat is far bigger than her old Wandsworth pad Higher quality of life: Sally Hookers new flat Wepaythesamerentandgettwiceasmuch ANDReW StRANG, 30, and chantelle Willey, 21, moved into a new one-bedroom flat in South Kensington in April. i could see rents were going down so i knew it was a good time to improve what we were getting for our money, says Andrew. We already lived in a one-bed in South Ken, but our new flat is much bigger, in a better part of the area and has a courtyard garden. Before, we were paying 350 a week, before bills. Now we pay 405 per week including bills but were getting twice as much. the quality is extremely high-end in our new flat -- the bathroom has Philippe Starck fittings and weve got bleached birchwood flooring. theres also an outhouse with lots of storage space, and a washer and dryer. Without rents going down, we could have just about afforded to live here -- but it wouldnt have been comfortable. Now we can afford to live here and have money to go out too!South Ken savvy: a better deal in SW7 All-round winners: Chantelle and Andrew have traded up in South Kensington courtyard flat in South Ken .upgrade. .upgrade. twice the space .upgrade. a flat of her own Theextraspacemakesitmorecomfortable index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html