Would you buy a £78,000 house on 'Benefits Street'?

Benefits Street

For just £77,950 you too can live on Benefits Street. A two-bed property is selling for just under £78,000 on James Turner Street. There's two receptions rooms - potentially a third bedroom - and the property agent advises "early viewing" due to its "relatively low" price.

Could it be a savvy buy, once all the TV notoriety dies down a bit? %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

Location, Location, Location

The average Birmingham house price is around £160,000 so the sub £80k asking price, on the face of it, looks a bargain. No stamp duty as it's under the £125,000 threshold. Further down the street is a three-bedroom house for even less.

But the last house to be sold on James Turner Street went for £56,000 early last year. The inner-city Birmingham road remains one of the poorest streets in Britain. Despite its trashing on TV, there's no shortage of community spirit, kindness and... entrepreneurialism.

"James Turner has had its 15 minutes of fame," Jim Singh, a local estate agent told the Express and Star, "but I don't think it's going to affect house prices on the street."

"At the end of the day people know what they are getting into when buying in the area. This will most likely be bought by a landlord who will rent it for around £400 to £450 a month, which isn't a bad return on the investment. We have already had a fair bit of interest."

Big numbers

The TV show has gleaned more than 5m viewers, but there's also been considerable concern for residents' safety after threats of violence; death threats even.

Despite the negative headlines on Benefits Street, it's typical of many inner city UK streets. The TV show is about a handful of people who happened to end up there, in a place with a lack of pride. Very ordinary.

Should property prices, then, be out of whack? The TV notoriety will hurt short-term. But Birmingham City Council has a Big City Plan, with some major neighbourhood regeneration cash washing around.

Long-term, could Channel 4 be back with a re-make: Benefits Street Transformed, Prices Up? Currently it looks unlikely.

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Would you buy a £78,000 house on 'Benefits Street'?
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