Wapping is a gift for young City workers

Improve your work-life balance with a new shared-ownership flat that is close to the office
Quatro in Wapping Lane
£81,900: for a 30 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat at Quatro development in historic Wapping Lane
The average Londoner spends almost an hour and a half getting to work and back each day, which, depressingly, adds up to more than seven hours a week (and well over 300 hours in the course of a working year) - all spent cheek-by-jowl with strangers on the train.

And since London also has the most expensive commuter fares in the world, with increases of up to eight per cent since January, minimising journey time makes sense financially as well as personally.

'The high street looks really quite Dickensian and there are lots of converted wharf buildings'

For City workers, a move to Wapping could be the answer. Notting Hill Housing (www.nottinghillhousing.org.uk) has just launched Quatro, 31 shared-ownership flats in a 379-home Ballymore development, 21 Wapping Lane. Most of the shared flats will be move-in ready by the end of this month, with one-bedroom properties starting at £81,900 for a 30 per cent share.

Buyers need a household minimum income (hmi) of £35,500 to apply. Two-bedroom flats start from £120,000 for a 30 per cent share (hmi of £53,410), while three-bedroom flats start from £130,000 for a 25 per cent share (hmi £57,510).

The homes are handily within five minutes' walk of Shadwell DLR (Zone 2), yet Wapping is one of those areas that consistently flies slightly beneath the radar of buyers. Until now it has been rather overshadowed by more fashionable central east London addresses such as Limehouse and Shoreditch, perhaps because until the advent of the East London line it was served only by the Docklands Light Railway.

Now that the area is plugged into the Tube network and also within easy reach of Tower Bridge, it is starting to look like an excellent bet. "It's a really interesting area," says Lucy Glynn, of Notting Hill Housing. "The high street looks really quite Dickensian, it is partly cobbled, and there are lots of converted wharf buildings that are really pretty, as well as modern housing developments. It is very quiet compared to other parts of east London and it also feels safe."

For green space the development borders Wapping Woods, a littleknown urban park that lies next to Spirit Quay, one of the many historic canals that criss-cross the area.

The Wapping Project is an arts centre, restaurant and bar and well worth a visit; there are some great riverside pubs, such as The Prospect of Whitby, to explore, and you are within an easy walk of the bars and restaurants of St Katharine Docks, next to Tower Bridge.

Battersea Reach
From £80,000: for a quarter share of flats at Battersea Reach

Coming soon: Battersea Reach, Wandsworth Bridge

Meanwhile, in April, Notting Hill is launching another 27 shared-ownership flats at another extremely central scheme - the huge Battersea Reach development, close to Wandsworth Bridge. They will be ready in early summer.

Prices have yet to be confirmed but Notting Hill has said that full market prices will be about £320,000 for a one-bedroom flat, and thus a 25 per cent share should be about £80,000. Two-bedroom properties will be priced in the region of £420,000, or a little over £100,000 for a quarter share.

As well as proximity to the river, Battersea Reach is less than five minutes' walk to Wandsworth Town, and the great cafés and independent shops on Old York Road. Trains to Waterloo take less than 15 minutes.

The development is one of the largest in the area, covering more than 13 acres and with planning permission in place for 1,350 homes as well as shops, bars, cafés and restaurants on site. It is due to complete in around 2018.

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