Being bottom of the league tables is not always a bad thing. Barking & Dagenham, which has trailed every other borough since Land Registry records began, is seeing property prices accelerate as buyers head east to the limbo land between the capital and the Essex countryside.
The borough’s price growth may be outstripping the rest of London but an average flat is still less than £200,000 and you can pick up a good family house for under £350,000.
Transport links are already great but planned improvements are set to boost price growth further still. The alpha area right now is the Leftley Estate, a grid of leafy Thirties streets built in Victorian style near Barking.
Barking & Dagenham by numbers
- The average property costs £278,200 — less than half the London average price of £585,664.
- Prices rose 14.6 per cent in the borough last year. Across London as a whole, they rose 6.4 per cent.
- An average flat in Barking & Dagenham costs £196,695. An average terrace house is £310,445.
- Four out of 10 homes in the borough are sold to first-time buyers.
- An average property takes 40 days to sell — compared with 55 days across London.
- A quarter of home buyers in the borough already live there.
FAMILIES ARE FLOCKING IN
These are quality family homes, priced about £430,000 for a three-bedroom terrace, and there’s a trio of good local schools — Manor Juniors, Eastbury Comprehensive and Barking Abbey.
The estate is near Barking Park, with its boating lake, and also close to the town centre, which has a reasonable array of shops, pubs, and restaurants. There is a theatre, and London City airport is close enough to be handy but not noisy.
However, Kay Nevill, branch manager of Sandra Davidson estate agents, says: “There isn’t a great deal of nice nightlife — you’d have go into town for that.”
There is a choice of ways of getting to town from Barking, either via Upney station, in Zone 4 on the District line or Barking train station, which has 14-minute services to Fenchurch Street. An annual season ticket costs £1,860.
LIVE BY THE RIVER
Another option to explore is the area around Valence Park, Dagenham, where a two-bedroom Fifties ex-council house would cost £300,000-£320,000.
This area isn’t wildly scenic — the houses are boxy — but local Chadwell Heath station will become part of the Elizabeth line in 2018/19, giving fast links to the City and West End. Services to Liverpool Street now take 25 minutes and an annual season ticket costs £1,608.
Barking is also the focus of Barking Riverside, one of London’s biggest regeneration schemes, which will see up to 10,000 new homes built on a 445-acre site on the north bank of the Thames, just 12 miles from central London.
Currently, the big compromise here is transport, with Upney station two miles away, and Barking station nearly three miles off. But early adopters can expect a future price hike, as Barking Riverside will be served by a £263million extension to the Gospel Oak to Barking line, to be completed in 2021.
The development includes a waterside promenade, bars, restaurants, public squares, wildlife reserves and a marina with a riverboat service to and from central London.
New homes at Barking Riverside (barkingriverside.co.uk) will launch thick and fast over the next few years. L&Q will sell a tranche next year, and Bellway’s Caspian Quarter is due to complete in 2019, with prices from £237,995 for a one-bedroom flat.