Rob - I have places in Leeds and Croydon, but was permanently exiled in Leeds for a while; I guess updating my APUG profile wasn't top of my priorities ;-).

As to the credit crunch - if you're buying to invest, now is not a good time. If you are buying somewhere to live on the other hand, the value of your property is irrelevant as long as you can keep paying the mortgage and now is as good a time as any - you can drive a harder bargain now than at any time in the recent past. If you're a good credit risk the banks will bite your hand off to give you a mortgage - it's people who overextended themselves, lied about their incomes on self-certify loans and people buying homes assuming the market would pay instead of them who are the main casualties of the 'credit crunch' ('return to sane lending' being a more accurate phrase.)