A year after the 2012 Olympics, the first homes at the former athletes’ village are going on sale — 348 shared-ownership flats, priced from £67,500 for the minimum 25 per cent share (full price, £270,000).
East Village has been officially unveiled as the capital’s “newest neighbourhood”, with 2,818 homes and its own postcode, E20. The shared-ownership homes offer the only chance to buy at the site as all the other properties are for rent.
East Village was conceived and built as a showpiece development, one of the key “legacy” benefits of the London Games, with buildings designed by 16 world-renowned architects and a high-quality public realm of civic squares, parks and landscaped courtyards.
Celebration Avenue, the main boulevard running through the site, may sound Disney-esque and somewhat corny, but this is a smart new district, built to an exacting standard, and demand for the homes is expected to be high. Stylish, energy-efficient homes range from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses and are spread across 11 zones — 25 buildings in total, including a new school and medical centre.
Shared-ownership homes are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis to applicants meeting the eligibility criteria. The minimum deposit required is £6,700. Also on offer are 356 “intermediate rent” homes starting at £210 a week, 30 per cent lower than the private market rate. Call 020 3288 3280 or visit triathlonhomes.com.
The £10 billion rebuild
It takes a visit to the area to fully appreciate the change that has taken place over the past eight years. About £10 billion of public money has been pumped into the district.
Stratford is a mini-city in the making. The 500-acre Olympic park, now renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is the largest recreational space to be created in Europe for 150 years, while next-door Stratford City, which includes the giant Westfield shopping centre, is a new commercial centre for east London — 184 acres and 13.5 million square feet of space overall — connected by green infrastructure, and boosted by Europe’s fastest-growing cluster of digital and technology companies.
Westfield has helped inject fresh life into the area. As well as high-status retailers such as John Lewis and Waitrose, there is a focus on independent boutique shops and a street-market mix of cafés and restaurants. The main shopping boulevard — described as a “24-hour lifestyle street”— is the primary route into the park and East Village.
Five more new neighbourhoods with 8,000 homes are being built during the next 15 years. One of these is Strand East, a 26-acre waterside scheme with 1,200 homes developed by flatpack furniture chain Ikea.
More infrastructure and amenities are to come, which is expected to boost employment and prosperity. Stratford’s transport links are excellent — two Tube lines, overland rail (six minutes to St Pancras) and the DLR plus Eurostar trains and City airport nearby.
The Olympics was a powerful catalyst for growth in east London in general, according to property consultant Hamptons International, which has spotted a “concentrated focus of regeneration” in the E3, E14 and E16 postcodes, which cover Limehouse, Canary Wharf and Royal Docks.
Local councils want the Olympics bonanza to spread to surrounding communities in Bow, Hackney Wick, West Ham and Leyton. An “Olympic Arc” plan aims to create up to 12,000 new homes in these areas as well as better public spaces, 30 new bridges across waterways and a two-mile Lea River Park connecting with the Thames.
Stratford town centre has been transformed and it seems unlikely that the momentum will stop here. Developers and housing associations are continuing to promote new schemes, some with apartments ready to move into and others available to buy off-plan.
Stratford Halo, which looms over the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, has 704 homes in five buildings, including a 43-storey tower due for completion this year. Shared-ownership and private rental options are available. Call 0808 1182655 or visit genesishomes.org.uk.
Canning Town, where until recently housebuilders feared to tread, is worth watching because of its setting, between Stratford and Canary Wharf. Vermilion has 271 homes, part of a bigger 650-home scheme focused around revitalised Rathbone Market, one of the East End’s oldest. Prices from £350,000. Call 020 7758 8481.
Regeneration has helped restore Bow Back Rivers, a four-mile network of derelict waterways largely unused since the Second World War. Now they form part of the Olympic park, with the first stage of their restoration complete following a new lock and water control structure, which has returned the rivers to navigation and created a gateway for barges entering the park, reviving water transport in the area for the first time in 50 years.
Lime Quay, Poplar, has 60 apartments overlooking the Limehouse Cut. Prices from £225,000. Completion is scheduled for spring 2015. To register, visit telfordhomes.plc.uk/limequay.
Bullish estate agents speak of a “golden triangle” formed by the City financial district, Canary Wharf and Stratford.
According to Halifax, there are a number of postcodes close to the park where prices are 25 per cent below the London average, highlighting the area’s affordability.
Flats priced below the £250,000 stamp duty threshold are for sale, making it possible for some young Londoners to buy outright, especially developments offering the Help to Buy interest-free deposit. East City Point in Canning Town is one of these schemes. Prices from £185,000. Call 020 7473 1198.