Pre-pandemic, all you needed for a good London location was a roof terrace, proximity to a vibrant social scene and a tube station. Or a river view. Then everything changed. Whilst central areas have pretty much fallen into the doldrums, a combination of more room, better value and access to green spaces has become essential.
If you had all the money in the world, you’d still locate around London’s greatest open green spaces. Hampstead Heath, Kenwood and Regent’s Park to the north, Hyde Park or St James’s Park in central London or Battersea, Richmond, Dulwich or Richmond to the south. For the rest of us, living in a shoe box with little space to work from home is no longer desirable. Can you get more value elsewhere? Are we falling back in love with the suburban idea, particularly if you only have to go into your place of work three or four times a week? The answer is yes.
For a few years property speculators have been raving about Victoria Park in East London. Yes, it’s vibrant and offers a younger and more exciting feel but with the average prices for flats at £530k, terraced houses at £1.1 million and detached properties at £1.375 million, it’s no longer a ‘cheap’ option. There are other areas in London that offer value, amenity, and investment opportunity. Here are my top five to look consider.
You would be mistaken in thinking that just because Blackheath is not on the tube map that it’s inaccessible. Blackheath has a great train service that will get you into central London in less than half an hour. But why bother? There’s an Ivy and a whole host of local shops and delis. Architecturally it’s very pleasing too - there are tree-lined streets full of grand villas and a high street with a village feel. Greenwich Park is just a short stroll away across Blackheath. And its property prices are below the London average too, despite an 8 per cent rise in the past 12 months. Average flat price is c. £475k, terraced properties at £755k and detached at £955k.
Three ideas in Blackheath:
A two-bed that’s a short walk from Blackheath:
A three-bed flat with high specifications and large shared garden:
Or for just over £1 million, here’s a nice little town house.
Pinner and Ruislip Common
Middlesex is to the north west of London but remains accessible via the Tube and has access to some wonderful open spaces. It’s far enough from the centre of town to mean that every amenity you’d require is at hand. And that includes sports too. Prices have gone up by 10 per cent over the past year but there’s still value to be had. Flats are £340k, Semi-detached houses are at £635k and a detached property has an average price of £930k.
Below the average flat price is this one-bed in an art deco block:
And listed at £975k a family house with garden and off-street parking.
Prices have risen in Wanstead by 9 per cent over the past 12 months. Often overlooked as not quite London but maybe a bit too far east, even for the fashionistas, you’d be missing out on some wonderful open spaces and should you be partial to a coastal getaway, it’s very convenient for all the resorts on the Suffolk and Essex coastline. But it also has one of London’s best high streets. Of course, we’ll have to see what the pandemic has done, but I guarantee once this is over, you’ll be wanting local shops selling local produce rather than national chains and international brands which you can find in abundance on the internet. Flats average at £360k, Terraced houses at £780k and detached at £988k. `There should be something for every budget. Sitting on the central Line, travel to central London is easy.
At £365k, this property may be on a main road but it’s opposite the expansive and open space of Leyton flats.
For £725k a very grown up two-bedroom house with plenty of entertaining space:
And if you want a striking ‘urban’ property for loft style living in a leafy suburb close to the tube and with a range of open spaces options, this is what £825k will buy you:
Prices in Sutton, like much of the London area have risen by 9 per cent in the past 12 months. Yet there’s a lot to be commended about this often-forgotten corner of south west London. Trains will take you to London Bridge in 45 minutes and there’s plenty of green spaces and sporting facilities available. With flats on average at £287k, terraced houses at £440k and semi-detached at £562k, there’s plenty of potential for prices to grow. Sutton offers old school suburban living with a myriad of open spaces and parks to choose from. And it’s very convenient to whip out to the south or west at the weekend should you wish to.
If you’re prepared to live above a post office, you can bag over 1000 sq. ft of liveable space for £285k. Perhaps not the most attractive area but you are just a few minutes’ walk away from Nonsuch Park. Or for £450k you could get a handsome flat, off street parking place and garden, again close to the park.
This linked terraced house is on the market for £595k in a conservation area and ticks every suburban box in the book. It's close to Rosehill park and all the amenities of the area.
Some months ago, I wrote suggesting that Acton would be one of the fastest moving markets in London. Maybe I was right because in the past year, prices have risen by 19 per cent in a year. But places like this are still below the London average. Flats are £470k, terraced properties are at £865k whilst semi-detached properties are £991k. Whilst more than other areas, Acton is far closer to central London and with 45 parks is one of the greenest boroughs in London. It has vibrant high streets, great schools, and good communications too. There’s still value and some wonderful architecture too.
For £475k you could go new with an apartment in Acton Gardens (site of the area’s 45th park, an 11-acre open space). This one-bed flat on the market for £375,000 may be above a charity shop but it's in the heart of Chiswick with great views over Turnham Green, with Chiswick Common just a few streets away.
Adding an extra 5 – 10 minutes on the train or the tube will get you a lot more for your money. And it’s not just about the inside space either. The benefits of a nice garden, proximity to park or woodland, an allotment or sporting facilities are all made more possible the further out you are prepared to venture.
Urban living will make a return. But for this cycle, I’d suggest the real growth is in locations that offer more space both indoors and out.