Home buyers in the Washington area share at least one common complaint with their London area cousins - that of higher and higher prices.
New homes here are relatively searce, however. The British home building industry, never very robust, is in its third year of recession.
(The average price of the 66 new and used homes advertised in the London Evening Standard recently was $31,250, compared with an average of $69,674 for detached houses and $55,690 for detached houses, among 110 advertised in a recent weekend Washington Post.)
It must be remembered that houses here are about half the size of those around Washington, which average some 1,500 square feet of living area. And all but a handful of the houses here have only one bath.
Touring the London area one finds no new houses of wood frame. All are built of brick, with two walls of a single width of bricks tied together with metal or brick ties and with about a one inch cavity filled with rubble, or, in some cases foamed insulation.
Most new London homes have one fireplace, usually with an electric or gas log. Older homes have several fireplaces, since central heating was a long time coming to Britain. A processed coal product from which smoke producing elements have been removed is used in these fireplaces.
And the air above London is remarkably clear (except for fog) for such a large city.
Many new homes in London are sold without appliances, which are much smaller than their Washington counterparts and much more brightly colored. But British bathtubs are at least 25 per cent larger and deeper than those in the U.S.
A low-income family has little chance to buy a home. Most put their names on a long, long list for council (public housing) rental apartments or row homes. Great Britain started 54,967 new homes in the first quarter of 1977, 22,609 of them by local housing authorities.
Like their Washington counterparts, London home builders say they face excessive government regulation, shortage of land with utilities, lack of skilled and motivated labor resulting in poor quality, and other problems. London area material prices are inflated but, because of the building recession no shortages were reported.