Taxi driver buys Victorian terraced house for £1

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Don't be a mortgage slave all your life. Buy a house for £1. It's what 48-year-old taxi driver Jayalal Madde is doing under a Liverpool pilot scheme to reinvigorate the Granby Four Streets, Arnside Road and Webster Triangle East areas of the city.

Is a £1 bricked-up house in a run-down, crime-ridden area of Merseyside a good buy?

Madde not to

Given the rocketing price of UK property, it's difficult to see how it can't be. But this area was originally home to the 1981 Toxteth riots; violence again flared in the area in 2011. The area has been in managed decline for years.

But offering run-down, structurally sound Victorian terraces to those wanting to re-build their community has to be a good idea - for less than the price of a posh packet of crisps.

Maddes has the refurbishment finances lined up for his new £1 home - including raising some cash through his local credit union – in order to bring it up to scratch. He hopes to move in, with wife and two daughters, within the year.

Strict criteria

"It mustn't be forgotten," says Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson, "that bringing these houses up to a decent standard will be a real challenge. Those who are successful in obtaining a house will have to put in a lot of hard work, as well as their own finances. But we'll be there to support them in any way we can."

The applications process began in April. The city council set out pretty strict criteria, with applicants needing to live or work in Liverpool, be a first-time buyer and be employed. Successful applicants have to live in the property for five years and not sub-let it.

Up to £70,000 each

However, the area has been the target of government interference before: originally these homes were part of a John Prescott "Pathfinder" plan to blow £2.2bn of taxpayer cash, buying them up in compulsory purchase orders, then demolishing them in order to re-build fewer properties for the displaced.

And how much did Prescott pay for each Victorian terraced house? Up to £70,000 each. The £1 homebuyers, at the taxpayer's expense, have got themselves a bargain.

Take a look at the houses that £1 will buy you

Take a look at the houses that £1 will buy you


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