Dagenham tops the list of London's first-time buyer property hotspots

Exclusive new figures reveal London's most popular areas for buyers looking to get on to the ladder - and the districts where starter homes can still be found for less than £250,000...

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Dagenham is the capital's most popular district for first-time buyers, according to exclusive new data from Rightmove.

The report, which highlights the top 30 most-searched areas by those looking for a starter home of two bedrooms or less, reflects the growing trend for first-timers to expand their hunt to the outskirts of the capital, where pockets of value can still be found - including asking prices under £250,000.

Located in London's cheapest borough, Barking and Dagenham, it's no surprise that the Essex suburb - which offers 20-minute commutes to Fenchurch Street - continues to be a firm favourite of first-time buyers thanks to good-value homes and thousands of new-build flats. 

However, increased buyer demand has helped to push prices up 12 per cent over the past year, and the current asking price for a starter home is now £225,621.

Source: Rightmove (based on email enquiries sent September 2015)


East Ham
At £226,066, the cost of buying a starter home in East Ham, which is the second most popular area with first-time buyers, is less than half the average price of a first home in London as a whole, which has hit £460,000.

This up-and-coming east London neighbourhood offers a combination of solid Victorian stock and flat conversions for those priced out of neighbouring Hackney and Walthamstow. As well as good-value homes, would-be buyers are also tempted by good transport links - including both the District and Hammersmith & City Tube lines.

"Demand certainly exceeds supply," says Abdul Moqtadir, a sales negotiator for Bairstow Eves estate agents in East Ham. "And the council is investing in infrastructure. It's an exciting time - over the next five years the area is going to change a lot." 






The historic market town of Romford, thrust into the limelight by ITV's hit reality series The Only Way Is Essex, is third on the list, and with average prices of £225,751 offers some of the cheapest starter homes in the capital. First-time-buyer registrations are already up 17 per cent on last year.

The area's good-value housing ranges from new apartments in the centre of town to two-up, two-down Victorian cottages further out. From May 2019, the £15 billion high-speed Crossrail network will provide a direct link to central London. 

"Anything close to a Crossrail station is getting a lot of interest recently," says Terry Holmes, a director of Beresfords estate agents. "Buyers here are just beginning to realise it has been burrowing under their feet."

Booming house prices are not the only expected benefit. The local council also has a new plan for the town centre that will see a vibrant, mixed neighbourhood built around the train station. 

Hackney in the east and Camberwell in the south-east
Not all first-timers are confined to the outskirts. Hackney in east London and Camberwell in the south-east, both in Zone 2, make the starter homes top 30 - although both have average house prices of more than £400,000. 

The majority of housing stock in these areas is ex-local authority, but this doesn't put off the younger buyers who are attracted to leafy postcodes with hipster credentials.

With larger deposits required, these buyers typically have help from the bank of mum and dad, according to Jay Jethwa, a branch manager of Winkworth estate agents in Hackney. 

He says: "The perception of Hackney has changed over the last couple of years. It has a much more positive and artistic vibe that attracts the younger population."

It's a similar story in Camberwell. Stuart Baillie, the local branch manager of Haart, says all of the agent's sales last week were to first-time buyers. 

"The area has rocketed in price but still represents good value for those moving from Clapham, Battersea and Wandsworth," says Baillie.

Meanwhile, aspiring home owners from Streatham, Crystal Palace and Dulwich, with budgets between £200,000 and £250,000, are flocking to Croydon's lesser-known neighbour, Selhurst.

"The most popular types of accommodation for first-time buyers in Selhurst include one- and two-bedroom apartments, and we regularly see these properties purchased with the Help to Buy mortgage scheme," say Ashley Whitehouse, sales manager at Foxtons Croydon.



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