Buying in Bow: Zone 2 first-time buyer homes from £140,000

Regeneration is heading to the well placed East End district of Bow, with first-time homes from £140,000.

Until recently, Bow was overlooked in the great east London property boom, which is strange, since its well-placed location — midway between Stratford and Canary Wharf, with the fringes of the City just to the west — is hard to better.

However, regeneration is finally coming to Bow in the shape of new developments such as Merchants Walk by Peabody (, which will give first-time buyers the chance to buy into homes in  Zone 2 from £140,000.

Over the next three years some 549 homes will be built, plus shops, cafés, studios and offices, to create what Andrew Peglau, marketing manager at Peabody, describes as a “complete community”, built on the site of a former industrial estate with private and shared owners, as well as renters, all living there.


The first phase of 40 shared-ownership homes at Merchants Walk go on sale tomorrow, with prices starting at £140,000 for a 50 per cent share of a studio flat with a full market value of £280,000. One-bedroom flats are priced from £147,500 for a 50 per cent share, and a half-share in a two-bedroom flat costs £232,500.

Priority will be given to people who are already living and working in Tower Hamlets and the maximum household income for eligibility is capped at £71,000.

For most buyers, first-time or otherwise, proximity to transport is a major selling point. Merchants Walk is close to Devons Road Docklands Light Railway station — which is in Zone 2. It is just five stops away from Canary Wharf where, from 2018, it will be possible to pick up fast Crossrail services to the City, West End and Heathrow. 

While the local shops aren’t fantastic, you can be at Stratford’s huge Westfield shopping centre in less than 10 minutes via the DLR. 

Alternatively, it is a 15-minute walk to Bromley-by-Bow station to take the District line to central London. 


Light and airy: new Merchants Walk flats

Peglau is confident that the flats will impress buyers — they are light and airy, with modern bathrooms and kitchens, and most have balconies.  A number of the homes overlook the DLR tracks, which might be an issue for some buyers, although there are others that will look on to new landscaped gardens. 

At the moment, the area has little in the way of facilities, save for some basic shops and old-fashioned East End boozers in Devons Road. 

Peglau says: “Eventually, this will change and there will be a community with shops and cafés for the planned 500 new home owners — which is crucial for the development of this part of east London.”

Past: in the 17th century, Bow’s slightly creepy claim to fame was as the home of fine porcelain made from the ground-down bones of cattle slaughtered at nearby abattoirs. 
Future: St Clement’s Hospital, a former mental health unit, is due to become London’s first Community Land Trust, which will deliver affordable homes for local people.
Trivial pursuit: living in Bow won’t make you a Cockney — the adage about being born within earshot of Bow Bells in fact refers to a church in the City.
What it costs: the average property in E3 will set you back £421,696, up 5.6 per cent in the past year, while the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom flat is £1,728, says Zoopla.
First-time buy: a two-bedroom, two-bathroom modern apartment, which has a balcony with river views, is on the market with eMoov for £360,000.
Landmarks: the sadly dilapidated Art Deco Poplar Town Hall.
Eat: superlative pub food at The Morgan Arms in Morgan Street.
Drink: at one of the moderately traditional East End boozers on the A11 — try The Bow Bells.
Buy: polish up your bartering skills at Roman Road market.
Walk: in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, a restored Victorian cemetery with nature reserves and woodland — not nearly as unnerving as it sounds.

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