The east London Crossrail effect: from Stratford to Ilford

Good-value homes and faster links are keeping the Olympic flame burning in east London for a new crowd of arty young buyers house hunting from Stratford to Ilford.
Crossrail is set to have just as much impact on east London as has the recent extension of the Overground through Hackney and the Jubilee line to Stratford.

“Home values within a 10-minute walk of the east London Crossrail stations have jumped six per cent more this year than those in surrounding areas,” says Johnny Morris, research director at estate agents Hamptons International.

“Increasingly, buyers are searching in travel Zones 3 and 4 for more affordable areas with upside. The prospect of better transport connections is perhaps the biggest dividend of all.”

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Both inner and outer east London already have quick connections to the City via Liverpool Street, and Crossrail brings something more — equally fast links to the West End plus a direct route to Heathrow and the M4 commercial corridor, an important hub for businesses. For the first time, Ilford will be on the Tube map.

Districts between Stratford and Ilford continue to benefit from the 2012 Olympics legacy. For many years these good-value areas have been associated with the bottom rung of the property ladder, a staging post that leads to somewhere else. But steady improvements are encouraging buyers to settle. They may not be the most elegant places in London but they border huge green swathes — Hackney Marshes, Wanstead Flats and Epping Forest.

Artists priced out of Shoreditch are also moving in, a sign of an area on the up. Street cafés and late bars are opening, signalling the arrival of a new wave of young home buyers who have brought their lifestyle with them.

Investment-wise, it looks a decent bet. Values are still among the lowest in London, with pockets of reasonably priced Victorian and Edwardian housing, though there are far fewer new developments than in Stratford, now a “minitropolis”.

IMAGE GALLERY: BROWSE HOMES FOR SALE ALONG EVERY STOP OF THE CROSSRAIL ROUTE

 

STATION STORIES
STRATFORD

There was a fear that after the 2012 Olympics, stratford might struggle to live up to its post-Games plan. After a brief plateau, though, the area is picking up again, with an increasingly settled community of young families and professionals attracted by the already impressive transport links and the new amenities and sporting facilities. The UK’s largest indoor ski facility is the latest addition.

Over £9 billion of public money has been pumped into the area. Nowhere else in the capital has anywhere near as much new infrastructure, and it is the nerve centre of Newham borough. The 500-acre Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the largest recreational space to be created in Europe for 150 years. Stratford City, which includes Westfield shopping centre, is the biggest retail-led mixed-use regeneration project ever undertaken in the UK.
 
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From £275,000: flats at Stratford Riverside tower, with a residents' roof garden on top of a connected seven-storey block

Previously, Stratford was associated with bad architecture and a high crime rate. It has a hard urban face and lacks metropolitan-village charm. But pleasing new neighbourhoods are being built and big businesses are relocating there. Crossrail, it seems, can only enhance Stratford’s fast-improving status as a decent place to live as well as visit. From 2016, the area will be reclassified as Zone 2.
 


Stratosphere, a new 36-storey tower, has 307 flats. Two-bedroom apartments start at £560,000. Call Telford Homes on 020 7538 2591. Stratford Riverside, another tower, has 202 flats plus a seven-storey connected block, on top of which is a residents’ roof garden. Prices from £275,000. Call Weston Homes on 01279 873300.

Manhattan Loft Gardens is a shimmering 42-storey tower with 248 apartments that incorporates a hotel and three open-air sky gardens. It is a step up in quality for the area. Homes ranging from studios to penthouses are double-height spaces with expensive interior design that spells class, a  look that might be described as “Milan-modern”. Prices from £425,000. Call 020 7531 2512.

Stratford resales start at £220,000 for conversions and about £330,000 for modest houses. Increasingly, it is a place for renters, attracted by purpose-built homes such as those in East Village, the former 2012 Athletes’ Village, where flats start at £395 per week. The deal on offer there includes free broadband and furniture packs. Call 020 3714 8083. 

Rents in the high-rise Stratford Halo tower, overlooking the Olympic Park, start at £1,300 a month. Call Genesis on 0800 954 1041.
 

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MARYLAND
Named after a rich merchant who bought land after returning from the American colony of the same name, Maryland is a somewhat ill-defined neighbourhood that fades into Leytonstone. Check out the leafy Bushwood Estate which has handsome Edwardian houses and wide streets. 

The average local property price of £378,478 is 34 per cent below the London average, according to estate agent  Foxtons, which is selling a bay-fronted three-bedroom Victorian terrace in Hartley Road for £595,000. A similar home in  Maryland Square is priced at £430,000, also through Foxtons. Call 020 8150 8585.
 


FOREST GATE
Forest Gate retains much of its Victorian character and is considered one of Newham borough’s best addresses. 
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Journey times from Forest Gate to Tottenham Court Road will take just 17 minutes when Crossrail trains start

Woodgrange Estate, a coveted conservation area that has acquired “village” status, comprises a pleasant cache of orderly streets with 1880s villas, some with front drives, distinctive original glass porches and decorative wooden detailing akin to the canopies of Victorian railway stations. Elsewhere, there are plenty of family houses on offer for under £500,000.
 


MANOR PARK
Manor Park is less fashionable, more brash and bustling, but has some quiet backwaters such as Little Ilford. Parks and playing fields - and the huge City of London Cemetery - form a welcome break from row upon row of terrace housing. Streets south of Romford Road, from First to Seventh Avenues, offer well-priced four-bedroom houses, while the comparatively sleepy area to the south of the high street has ever-popular streets named after poets Browning, Coleridge and Shelley.
 


ILFORD
 
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With the advent of Crossrail, Ilford will appear on Tube maps for the first time and the station is getting a new façade and forecourt

Ilford, in Redbridge borough, is experiencing a population surge at the same time as regeneration is improving the fabric of the town centre. Developers are targeting first-time buyers who cannot afford to live near the commercial hubs of Canary Wharf or the City, or in higher-priced Stratford, arguing that people who buy now while prices are lower can expect good capital growth.
 


Crossrail is the spur the town needs in order to keep momentum going. Currently, Ilford is served only by overland trains on the Great Eastern main line, but Crossrail will put Tottenham Court Road 23 minutes away and the journey to Heathrow will take 51 minutes. Reconstruction of the existing façade and a new forecourt will improve the station area, where flats cost from about £180,000.
 

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