Average property prices along the Central line: for a full tour of homes near key Central line stations, click here.
Covering 46 miles and serving 49 stations from Ruislip in suburban west London to Epping in Essex, the Central line is the Tube network’s longest route. It is also the busiest at peak hours, with the most intensely used stretch of rail track in the UK.
Liverpool Street is the only mainline station the Central line connects with, meaning it is used heavily by outer-east London and Essex commuters, but it is also convenient for west London residents who want a quick and direct link to the Square Mile.
Beyond the coveted Zone 1 section of the route property prices are fairly evenly spread - apart from a spike in values at Chigwell and Ealing - meaning there are good-value suburban areas as well as up-and-coming inner-London districts to be discovered by a new generation of buyers and renters.
On the Western front
Railway expansion in the Twenties put Ruislip and Northolt on the map, propelling them from sleepy villages to commuter suburbs. Both feed off the Heathrow commercial zone as well as central London and benefit from a lot of green open space such as Northala Fields, which has boating lakes, hiking trails and giant landscaped mounds created from landfill that was excavated during the building of the new Wembley Stadium.
Ealing, leafy and well-behaved, proclaimed itself the “Queen of Suburbs” in the 1880s. Today, the bustling Broadway is more like Oxford Street, but while other areas have seen big demographic changes and swings in fashion and status, Ealing has remained largely itself, with a middle-class old guard, an enviable common and tree-lined, spacious streets.
From £679,950: for a one-bedroom apartment in Dickens Yard, Ealing.
Dickens Yard, a town centre regeneration scheme bringing 698 new apartments, introduces a fresh ingredient in the shape of a Docklands-style complex of homes overlooking public squares and pedestrianised lanes brought to life with shops, restaurants, markets and street theatre. One-bedroom homes are priced from £679,950. Call 020 8568 1100.
Liberty Quarter is part of an ambitious regeneration project bringing 2,500 homes around a series of squares, courtyards, parks and play areas. Apartments, including four-bedroom duplexes, are priced from £450,000. Call Countryside Properties on 020 8993 6923.
Despite the BBC’s departure from Television Centre, Shepherd’s Bush and White City have wind in their sails. Outline plans have been agreed for the redevelopment of Shepherd’s Bush Market with 199 apartments, 13 mews houses, a new market square with stalls and small independent retailers plus an “artisans’ quarter”. Together, these elements will preserve the existing market’s eclectic personality, or “melting pot” image, and provide an antidote to Westfield’s chain stores and high-end fashion brands.
White City has a promising future - a huge regeneration zone where thousands of new homes and a campus for Imperial College are in the pipeline. Look out for a scheme of 1,300 homes on the site of a former a Marks & Spencer depot. More details will be available later this year. Call St James on 020 3675 1502.
Hectic, eclectic east
Once past Bank, the Central line slices through the heart of the old East End and continues on to Essex commuter towns.
Wealth and opportunity are spreading across east London. Hectic, eclectic and youthful, it is in the forefront of the new digital/design/creative economy, and is an engine of stylish entrepreneurship. It is a place for fashionistas, finance-sector workers and families alike. It has a rooted community of artists, a cultural scene with galleries, museums and pop-ups, plus new noted restaurants and fashion boutiques, homeware stores, farmers’ markets and designer hotels.
Estate agents speak of a “golden triangle” formed by the City financial district, Canary Wharf and Stratford. Within this area lie Bethnal Green and Mile End, where a high level of public housing has put a brake on property values, making prices cheaper than in Shoreditch.
The East End’s charitable housing roots run deep. St Clements, a listed Victorian workhouse in Mile End, is at the heart of a community trust housing project backed by Mayor Boris Johnson. This will bring 252 homes, a mix of private, shared-ownership and rental properties. To register, call Linden Homes on 0844 488 1678.
£106,250: for 25 per cent of a one-bedroom flat witha full price of £425,000 at Mondrian on the site of the old Mildmay MissionHospital in trendy Shoreditch.
Mondrian is a new development on the site of former Mildmay Mission Hospital in Shoreditch. One-bedroom apartments cost from £106,250 for a 25 per cent share (full price, £425,000). Call Genesis on 0808 118 3131.
Essential Living builds rental flats for young professionals who do not qualify for social housing yet cannot afford to get on the property ladder. Coming soon is a purpose-built scheme of 149 homes at Three Colts Lane, Bethnal Green.
A concentrated focus of regeneration in postcodes surrounding Stratford is benefiting Leyton, the second-cheapest area on the Central line.
From £499,000: new-build apartments at Highbeam House in Woodford Green
Highbeam House, at Woodford Green, is a new-build scheme of 14 two-and three-bedroom apartments set in landscaped grounds that were designed by a Chelsea Flower Show award winner. A show apartment is now open for viewing. There is underground car parking, too, and the Central line Tube station is a short walk away. Prices from £499,000. Call Galliard on 020 7620 1500.
Debden, a suburb of Loughton, is worth checking out for affordable family houses, typically less than half the price of those at Theydon Bois, the next stop down the line, according to local estate agent Stevenette on 01992 563090.
Epping, an attractive market town at the end of the Central line, has one of only five Tube stations outside the M25. It also has the biggest car park on the network - a boon for London-bound commuters who live in leafy avenues surrounding the famous forest.