Long the Cinderella suburb of west London, Acton is sandwiched between popular family neighbourhood Chiswick and the busy White City regeneration zone. But the advent of the Elizabeth line — formerly Crossrail — is finally eroding long-held prejudices against this sprawling, slightly down-at-heel location.
The prospect of fast new direct train links to the West End and City has driven up average W3 prices from £337,000 to just under £500,000 in five years, according to Rightmove.
Developers have also begun to notice Acton, with schemes including Countryside Property’s £600 million redevelopment of the 53-acre South Acton Estate. Private one-bedroom flats at Acton Gardens, as the estate is now known, are on sale from £435,000.
A key benefit of shared ownership, aimed at households earning less than £90,000, is that it helps buyers defeat the deposit trap. London first-time buyers currently put down more than £90,000 in deposit to get on the ladder, according to a study by Halifax.
A 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat at Acton Gardens costs £105,000, and a 10 per cent deposit comes in at £10,500. Some lenders will offer mortgages with a five per cent deposit, but rates will be higher.
Three-bedroom homes are also for sale, with 25 per cent costing £157,000. This means a 10 per cent deposit of £15,700. As well as mortgage repayments, buyers will pay monthly rent of £591 and £262 service charge.
Buying at Acton Gardens on a shared-ownership basis can be cheaper than renting locally. Buy 25 per cent of a one-bedroom flat and monthly costs will be £495 repayment on a £94,500 mortgage at 3.92 per cent over 25 years, plus rent of £328 and £169 service charge, totalling £992. However, according to the London Assembly, median monthly rent on a one-bedroom flat in W3 is £1,257 — so you could save £265 a month.
Where to find shared-ownership homes in London
Where to find shared-ownership homes in London
1/25 How to get on the ladder in London
The best way to find a shared-ownership property in London is to register with the First Steps programme, a gateway to affordable housing. Visit www.sharetobuy.com/firststeps.
2/25 Horizons Tower, Canary Wharf
Flats in this 26-storey skyscraper come with underground parking, a gym and 24-hour concierge service in addition to the stunning views of the cityscape. A 40% share of a one-bedroom apartment with floor to ceiling windows and a balcony can cost as little as £151,000. Call 020 3815 1234 for more information.
3/25 Beaulieu, Essex
Beaulieu is a new 3,600-home neighbourhood with schools, shops, parks and community facilities near Chelmsford.
Daisy Musto (pictured) purchased a 35% share of a two-bedroom flat priced at £260,000 and pays £585 a month - “less per month than the one-bedroom flat I was renting previously".
5/25 The Junction, Brixton
This new development in SW9 comprises 92 light-filled flats across three buildings with roof terraces and gardens. Call Network Homes on 0300 373 3000 for more information.
6/25 Loughborough Park, Brixton
Housing charity Guinness Trust has bulldozed a 1930s estate to make way for 487 new homes at Loughborough Park, available from March 2017.Call 0300 456 0522 for more.
7/25 City Mills, Haggerston
City Mills is the largest new development in the area, with 761 homes, including four-bedroom houses. Prices start at £171,500 for a 35 per cent share. Call 0844 406 9289 for more information.
8/25 Banbury Park, Walthamstow
Banbury Park is a development of 352 homes surrounded by green space. Located just 20 minutes from Walthamstow centre, Banbury Park is touted as a community in the making.
9/25 Banbury Park, Walthamstow
A selection of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses and apartments, totalling 72, are available under the shared ownership scheme. Call 0845 223 0000 for further details.
10/25 Fondant Court, Bow
Claire Harvey (pictured) bought a 30% share of a £310,000, one-bedroom flat at Fondant Court, a former chocolate factory in Bow, with a £23,000 deposit. Her total monthly outgoings are just £870.
11/25 The sky's the limit
Move into a luxury tower and live like a millionaire in one of these affordable homes that have been integrated into swish private developments.
12/25 251 Southwark Bridge Road
This new 41-storey skyscraper near Borough Market in zone one consists of 335 apartments that have glazed winter gardens for year-round living. The building boasts high-speed fibre-optics plus a wifi-enabled homeworking lounge, a private cinema, gym, and concierge.
13/25 251 Southwark Bridge Road
Private apartments within this skyscraper cost from £655,000 to more than £1.7 million, but a number of flats are available for shared ownership through Hyde Housing Association. Prices are from £133,500 for a 30% share. Call 0345 606 1221 for more information.
14/25 Queensland Road, Highbury
This 352-home development in Highbury features open-plan living, a communal terrace and sky garden, plus a play area for children. and a generous-size balcony with views across the capital.
15/25 Queensland Road, Highbury
Elisabete Cidre and her husband Mario bought a 50% equity share (£200,000) of a two-bedroom apartment at Queensland Road and say "the design quality is excellent".
16/25 Home on the waterfront
East London docks are being revived as new-world industries bring jobs, homes and transport upgrades to rival Canary Wharf.
17/25 Corsair House, Docklands
Corsair House, the latest phase of homes, has shared-ownership flats offering a great opportunity for first time buyers to live in a vibrant new community with excellent connections to central London. The launch is in autumn. Call 020 3553 7441 for more details.
18/25 Millenium Mills, Docklands
This giant derelict Art Deco structure, similar in scale to Battersea Power Station, is set to become the centrepiece of another high-profile scheme. The Silvertown will have up to 3,000 homes and a central piazza the size of Covent Garden.
19/25 Royal Albert Wharf, Docklands
This new “quarter” of 1,500 homes, lies alongside the airport’s island runway, a marina and boatyard, plus the elevated tracks of the Docklands Light Railway.
20/25 Royal Albert Wharf, Docklands
The raw and awesome setting of these 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments takes in the dock and a handsome Edwardian pumphouse. Two-bedroom flats start at £175,000 for a 40% share. Call 020 3553 7441 for further details.
21/25 Royal Docks
This is certainly the part of the capital to live if you like big skies and dramatic riverscapes!
22/25 Hello, Crossrail
Crossrail will stitch the Royals firmly into the city's transport network, making it easy for residents to travel into the centre of London.
23/25 Royal Dock Gardens, Docklands
Located next to Custom House DLR station, Royal Dock Gardens is yet another new housing scheme being upgraded for Crossrail. One-bedroom flats cost from £115,500 for a 35% share. Call 0300 303 7333 for more.
24/25 More for less
The attraction for Morwenna Blewett (pictured) is not only having a stake in a property, but having privacy and being in control of her space. "It feels like 100% yours for 50% of the price", she says.
25/25 Happy days
Shared ownership doesn't mean sharing your home with people you don't know. You live there as the sole resident, or with your partner or family, and all first-time buyers who can't afford to buy outright on the open market have priority.
Acton is gaining status now, fuelled by rising prices in nearby Chiswick and Ealing as well as the Crossrail effect, says Cathy Lloyd, sales and marketing director at L&Q.
“With reports showing that Londoners require an average salary of over £106,000 to purchase their first home, shared-ownership homes at Acton Gardens offer first-time buyers a chance to get on to the housing ladder in a sound investment area, with a considerably smaller deposit required.”
Acton Gardens is a mile and a half from the Elizabeth line at Acton Main Line station, while Acton Town Tube station, in Zone 3, is 11 minutes’ walk away, with Piccadilly and District line services into central London.
Gunnersbury Park is half a mile away, and the development itself features landscaped gardens and squares, plus sports facilities and some shops.
A downside of Acton Gardens, other than its location next to railway lines, is a lack of nearby cafés, pubs and restaurants. But Chiswick High Road offers plenty of nightlife and shopping a mile and a half away, 10 minutes by Tube.
WHAT ELSE CAN I BUY IN ACTON?
This area has streets of lovely Victorian and Edwardian houses. A one-bedroom flat in a period house would cost about £350,000 to £400,000. Foxtons is selling one, with modern interiors, in Birkbeck Road for £399,950.
Well-finished two-bedroom conversions range between £500,000 and £550,000. Barnard Marcus is selling a two-bedroom home in a leafy street, very handy for Acton Central station, for £550,000.
For the same money you might equally find a two-bedroom house, such as a property in Grove Place, currently on the market with Dexters.
For £320,000 you could buy a modern one-bedroom flat in a small development near North Acton Tube on the Central line, through House Simple.