As the average price of a home in London skims the £600,000 mark, the hope of ever owning a property in our capital seems to be becoming an increasingly distant dream.
Of course, the secret is to sniff out those hidden gems that have been overlooked by nearby gentrification, and invest your cash before their excellent credentials make them the next hottest ticket in the city.
We spoke to the London property experts at Peter Barry to find out where a modest budget will go farthest in the capital. If you’re chomping at the bit to get your slice of the capital, read on.
Based in Ealing, West London, Acton is already teeming with trendy cafes, restaurants and bars catering to every taste. There’s a market three times a week on Acton High Street, and Acton Park boasts a number of family-friendly facilities to enjoy when the sun is shining.
At the moment, Acton is accessible via underground or Overground service. and its five tube stations (straddling Zone 2 and 3) are served by the Central, Piccadilly or District line.
A journey from Acton Town into the heart of the city currently takes around 40 minutes, but this is set to change in 2018 with the arrival of the new Crossrail route. The wide range of housing stock means that the quality of available property can vary, but an attractive 2-bed apartment is likely to set you back at least £350,000.
You really can’t get much closer to the action than Hackney. Bordering the City, Islington and Tower Hamlets, Hackney somehow manages to offer the sweet spot of urban living while keeping its price tags extraordinarily affordable. On top of that, Hackney is littered with gorgeous period architecture and green open spaces, making it easy to turn a corner and forget you’re in the capital at all.
Getting around will likely involve Hackney Central, a hub of Overground activity, or a short train ride from Hackney Downs to Liverpool Street. Alternatively, reaching both the A10 and A12 is a piece of cake, making short work of a commute into Essex.
There’s a good variety of flats available in Hackney, and with a bit of shopping around you might be able to steal a cosy 2-bed for less than £375,000, or something with a nicer finish for closer to £400,000. Hackney house prices are on a sharp incline though, so make sure to snap one up quickly.
Secreted away between Peckham and East Dulwich, the village of Nunhead, Southwark, is slowly being recognised for the leafy hidden gem that it is. No doubt in part by house-hunters being priced out of its neighbouring areas, buyers are also drawn to the sheer number of green spaces, welcoming pubs and local businesses that can be found here.
Perhaps one reason that Nunhead has stayed so well-hidden is that it’s not accessible via tube; to reach the centre of London you’ll want to catch a national rail service from Nunhead station or Queens Road, Peckham, or Brockley.
Nunhead offers a fantastic selection of properties, from gorgeous period homes to crisp, modern apartments. £450,000 will snag you an exceptionally enviable 2-bed, although you can find homes with a rougher finish for £350,000.
Now, Woolwich might not be the most central of locations, but bear with us. Over the last couple of years the area has undergone significant regeneration, with residential and recreational development showing no signs of slowing.
Despite being way out in Zone 4, property values in Woolwich are forecast to soar with the arrival of Crossrail in 2018. The new line will zip commuters into Canary Wharf in just 8 minutes, and reach the City in less than 15, making the area a veritable haven for anyone working around the centre of London.
The £1.2bn Royal Arsenal Riverside development is ticketed to be the heart of this boom, comprising of 5,000 new homes and an on-site Crossrail station, alongside shops and entertainment venues. Properties here are starting at £320,000, although if you’re not fussed about a premium location, there are plenty of 2-bed flats around the £250,000 mark.