FOREST HILL: CONNECTED IN ZONE 3
Where is it? Next to über-cool East Dulwich, in south-east London.
How do I get there? From anywhere along east London’s “Ginger” Overground line. This Zone 3 district is also about 30 minutes from Cannon Street or London Bridge by regular trains. An annual season ticket costs £1,520.
First-time buyer facts: 40 per cent of homes sold in this area are to first-timers, paying an average £302,500, says Hamptons International.
What can I buy for £250,000? A well-located studio flat or a one-bedroom flat with a 10- to 15-minute walk to Forest Hill station. If you want to live closer to transport links, budget £300,000-£350,000 for a one-bedroom flat.
What’s it got to offer? Forest Hill is surprisingly leafy, and the Horniman Museum and Gardens are a family-friendly delight. The housing stock is mainly Victorian, with plenty of period conversions, and there are quality primary schools and a smart leisure centre.
“Forest Hill is one of the highest points in south London and the views are amazing, particularly from Canonbury Road,” says Javaid Ahmed, sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward. “On bonfire night and New Year’s Eve it is a car park with people coming out to see the fireworks.”
To Ahmed, the area is a bit of an undiscovered gem, with local pubs improving. The Signal, a gastropub with live music, is a welcome new addition.
What’s the compromise? It lacks good shops and doesn’t have much of a café culture, though the St David Coffee House is a bit of a local hangout. Never mind, trendy East Dulwich is five minutes away by bus.
LEYTONSTONE: PLENTY OF GREEN SPACE
Where is it? This is deepest east London, almost on the cusp of Essex.
How do I get there? It’s on the Circle line, in Zone 3.
First-time buyer facts: about a third of homes are sold to first timers, paying an average £394,778, says Hamptons International.
What can I buy for £250,000? You could get a studio flat in a period house, or a larger flat — possibly with two bedrooms — above a shop. Smart one-bedroom conversion flats cost from £300,000 and you’d generally need £400,000 for a two-bedroom flat.
Bush Wood, near Epping Forest, is the poshest part. You will get more for your money closer to Stratford.
What’s it got to offer? This spot is increasingly popular with buyers priced out of Hackney, prompting much-needed “gastropub-isation” of some of the old boozers, and the opening of new cafés and restaurants.
The green open space of Wanstead Flats is on the doorstep, there’s an annual summer festival, a weekly food and crafts market, good-quality Victorian terrace houses and good schools.
“People come across to Leytonstone because the type of period houses are similar to homes they are renting in Hackney,” says Foxtons sales manager Simon Hart.
What’s the compromise? The High Road is shabby, and there’s not a lot to do at night.
FOREST GATE: RIPE FOR A PRICE BOUNCE
Where is it? Just east of Stratford.
How do I get there? Trains from Forest Gate to Liverpool Street take 16 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £944.
First-time buyer facts: almost a third of homes are sold to first-time buyers, who pay an average £325,227, says Hamptons International.
What can I buy for £250,000? The best value is to be found towards East Ham where you could get a one-bedroom period conversion. Budget about £300,000 for a two-bedroom flat in this area. Closer to Stratford one-bedroom flats go for about £300,000, and two-bedroom flats at up to £375,000.
What’s it got to offer? Forest Gate is on the Elizabeth line, and will get Crossrail services to the City, West End and Heathrow late next year. A price bounce might well follow.
Proximity to Wanstead Flats and West Ham Park is a plus, the schools are very good and there are plenty of handsome period houses. The arrival of coffee shops and smart boozers like the Forest Tavern gastropub and Wanstead Tap suggest “Forest Great” — often listed as one of the most deprived parts of London — is on the up. “The number of independent cafés, and quirky bars under the railway bridges, show how it’s changing,” says Foxtons’ Simon Hart.
What’s the compromise? It gets endlessly confused with Forest Hill — and having Westfield Stratford City so close has done nothing to help local shops in the run-down high street.
WOOLWICH: GO FOR THE FARMERS’ MARKET
Where is it? Head east on the south bank of the Thames, opposite London City airport.
How do I get there? Trains from Cannon Street, London Bridge and Charing Cross all take just under half an hour to Woolwich Arsenal. An annual season ticket costs £1,860.
First-time buyer facts: a third of homes go to first-time buyers, who pay an average £224,319.
What can I buy for £250,000? Nothing at Royal Arsenal Riverside, with its £400,000-plus one-bedroom flats. Further from the river and moving toward Shooters Hill you could buy a one-bedroom flat in a period house for £250,000, or a two-bedroom ex-council flat.
What’s it got to offer? On Crossrail’s route, Woolwich has had £750 million regeneration thanks to the Woolwich Arsenal development by Berkeley Homes. This monster project has brought new homes, restaurants, bars and a regular farmers’ market.
A walk along the river to admire the Thames Barrier is great, and the area passes the green space test thanks to Plumstead Common and Barrack Field.
Julia Stone, director of London Stone estate agents, says: “The town itself is busy with lots of little shops and with the DLR, trains, river boats and Crossrail you have four different forms of transport, as well as buses.”
What’s the compromise? Regeneration has its downsides: Woolwich Grand Theatre closed in 2015 to be redeveloped into flats. Some local post-war social housing is very ugly, and you won’t go short of betting shops in the town centre.