Catford, Leytonstone and Charlton:the top three London areas for 'second steppers' to trade up

The average homeowner looking to buy a bigger home now needs to find more than £125,000. Here's three well-priced districts for young families selling their starter flat to buy a family home...

Young first-time buyers are competing with investors for smaller flats and houses, ahead of new stamp duty hikes for buy-to-let property that come into force in April.

The stampede to buy is great news for anyone ready to sell their first flat. However, moving up to a bigger family house is not so easy.

According to a report by Lloyds Bank, the average owner looking to make their second step up the property ladder needs to find an extra £125,694 to plug the gap between the sale price of their current home and the cost of their ideal buy, typically a detached property. That’s a lot of money, even taking into account the capital you have built up in your first home.

But if you are prepared to house-hunt in new areas, it is possible to make the jump to a more spacious house. 

Trendy Brixton or East Dulwich might be out of your price range, but you get an awful lot more for your money in south-east London if you head to somewhere like Catford. A really smart four- bedroom period house would cost from about £600,000, while three-bedroom Victorian houses — some with attics crying out to be converted — can be on the market at about £500,000.

Catford is the focus of regeneration, with plans to do up its tired high street and revamp some of its ugly estates. Barratt Homes is also redeveloping the town’s former dog track, building 588 homes and 113 retail properties.

Transport links in the town are excellent. It is in Zone 3 and commuters can be at Blackfriars in 22 minutes. There is green space in the form of Ladywell Fields, and schools include Rathfern Primary, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted. For seniors, Conisborough College gets a “good” report.

Charlie Reed, sales negotiator at Robinson Jackson estate agents, says the top address for families is the Culverley Green conservation area. A four- to five-bedroom Victorian semi in this enclave would cost a little more — about £750,000 to £800,000


The north-east London area of Leytonstone is gaining traction from buyers priced out of Hackney. Its benefits include having Wanstead Flats on the doorstep and some good Victorian terraces, while Davies Lane Primary is “outstanding”, according to Ofsted.

Trains from Leytonstone High Road will deliver you to Fenchurch Street in half an hour and an annual season ticket costs £1,520. Three-bedroom terrace houses cost about £500,000 — much of what you would pay for a modern two-bedroom flat in Stratford, less than two miles away.

Buyers priced out of Blackheath or Greenwich are looking further south east, with Charlton a popular choice, says Graham Lawes, a director at JLL. A mid-terrace Victorian house would cost £600,000 to £700,000.

£620,000: good schools nearby make this three-bedroom semi-detached house in Elliscombe Road, Charlton, a good second-stepper option. Through Conran Estates

“The area has very good schools, including All Saints School, rated outstanding by Ofsted and, as such, there has been a natural migration of young families to the area,” says Lawes.

Charlton has several lovely parks and, for summer, a really good lido. Its shops are ordinary, but there are some decent pubs. A key local landmark is The Valley, Charlton Athletic FC’s ground.

It is in Zone 3 and trains to Charing Cross or Cannon Street take less than half an hour. An annual season ticket costs £1,520.

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