Whitechapel and Stratford: London’s new affordable live/work 'tech hubs'

Start-ups are being priced out of Old Street's ‘Tech City' due to residential and commercial prices soaring. But one area's loss is another's gain, as new hubs battle to attract the next generation...

With property prices near Old Street and City Road in east London increasing 43 per cent since 2012, an oft-repeated complaint about Tech City, set up in 2010 to support the emerging cluster of technological businesses in the area, is that it has become a victim of its own success.
 
Start-ups businesses, particularly those moving out of “incubator” stage, are being priced out and forced to move further afield, creating smatterings of tech hubs across London. Here, we take a look at two of them and point to more affordable property nearby for young Londoners.
 
Stratford
A huge park, enviable transport links, East Village and, of course, Westfield — it seems there is little that post-Olympics Stratford cannot boast about. And now it’s a tech hub, too.
 
Competitive price points are a draw, with Stratford being one of only three London sub-markets offering refurbished office space for under £40 per square foot, alongside Docklands and East City Fringe, says Carter Jonas.
 
Neighbouring Hackney Wick and Fish Island are already popular with startups but Stratford’s main tech business magnet is Here East, with 1.2 million square feet of commercial space remodelled in the former London Olympics Media Centre and holding claim to the most advanced digital infrastructure in Europe.
 
“Here East offers space in a form that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” explains chief executive Gavin Poole. “It’s a bespoke university-style campus where large and small companies can sit side by side and learn from each other.”
 
The Innovation Centre, due for completion next summer, is the hub within Here East that’s dedicated to flexible co-working spaces and incubation services. Official marketing starts in the new year, with Poole promising the spaces will be “very competitively priced”.
 
Stratford: where to live
The swathe of new developments in Stratford means supply is high, but so is demand, which has increased 60 per cent over the past year.

 


 
The E20 district, or East Village, which incorporates the Olympic Park, is particularly sought after, and the new Glasshouse Gardens development dominates this area. Homes are still available here, starting at £430,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.
 
Telford Homes’ Stratford Plaza is also here, where one-bedroom flats can be rented for £1,950 per month.
 
The Triathlon Homes development in E20 offers affordable housing. There are no more units for sale, but one-bedroom flats are available to rent for £1,500 a month.

Keep an eye open for Prospect East, a similar development due to launch in January with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, plus four-bedroom townhouses. Shared-ownership options will be available.
 
There are a cluster of developments near Pudding Mill Lane station, such as the new-build Stratford Riverside, with three-bedroom flats from £680,000. Central House, the 15-year-old development also along the canal is good for first-time buyers, with one-bedroom homes available for about £340,000.
 
Rental property around this area is also more affordable, and The Lock development currently has a one-bedroom flat for £1,275 per month.
 
By moving towards West Ham Park, buyers will find the cheapest homes, with one-bed, pre-owned flats from £180,000.
 
Average prices: houses and flats in Stratford

One-bedroom flat £295,553
Two-bedroom flat  £394,924
Two-bedroom house £411,573
Three-bedroom house £466,662
Four-bedroom house £555,476
Source: www.rightmove.co.uk


Whitechapel
Minutes from the City, alongside Bethnal Green and on the Tube, Whitechapel’s affordability has made it home to one of the newest tech clusters. Decent office space can be had for about £35 a square foot, says estate agent Michael Pain, partner at Carter Jonas.
 
Arguably more important to start-ups than cheap rent is a hub of like-minded firms — collaboration is vital when trying to get off the ground. In Whitechapel the “magnets” are Central Working and Barclays Accelerator.
 
At The London Escalator building in Mile End Road, Barclays Accelerator is a programme for FinTech start-ups, while Central Working Whitechapel offers co-working space for start-ups such as Kano, which makes computer and coding kits. Kano chief executive  Alex Klein says: “We’ve been here about a year and love it. There’s a café in the entrance where some of the coolest ideas in London tech are discussed on a day-to-day basis.”
 
 

Whitechapel: where to live
Buyer demand for Whitechapel homes has soared 53 per cent in the past year, and Crossrail’s arrival in 2018 looks set to boost it further.
 
The area around Aldgate, so close to the City, is dearest, but two-bedroom period conversions can be found around Whitechapel station for about £500,000. Foxtons has one in Myrdle Street, E1, for £595,000. Nearby Mount View has similar attractive properties.
 
One- and two-bedroom ex-local authority flats make up most of Whitechapel’s stock and can be picked up readily for £300,000-£400,000.
 
More affordability is found further east towards Stepney Green. There is an ex-local authority studio flat for sale in Tilman Street for £249,000 (easyproperty.com) and a three-bedroom renovation project is available in Ben Jonson Road (Peach Properties) for £410,000. Similar properties are available in Cooper Close and Mile End Road.
 
Whitechapel Vision, the 15-year regeneration project from Tower Hamlets, aims to deliver 3,500 new homes in the area, so big-scale developments are certainly in the pipeline, with planning being submitted for new builds around Raven Row, Varden Street and Cambridge Heath Road.
 
East Thames housing association also has a canalside development, East One, where two-bedroom homes are available to buy outright for £440,000, with shared-ownership options available.
 
Average prices: houses and flats in Whitechapel

One-bedroom flat £577,437
Two-bedroom flat £707,816
Two-bedroom house £800,000
Three-bedroom house £1.35 million
Four-bedroom house £1.6 million
Source: www.rightmove.co.uk

 


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