With wide, leafy streets, fine Georgian terrace houses and a plethora of cafés and pubs, Canonbury is just the sort of location first-time buyers often skip, believing they can’t afford it.
The rapid gentrification of an area that has historically played second fiddle to Islington means they’re probably right, unless they happen to run a hedge fund. An average home in this north London enclave currently costs £833,665. But a new scheme in the heart of Canonbury includes shared-ownership homes from just over £100,000.
Canonbury Cross is a boutique development in three low-rise blocks and Notting Hill Housing has homes there to sell to first-time buyers that will be move-in ready this summer.
Prices start at £105,000 for 25 per cent of a studio flat, and owners will need to factor in a monthly service charge of £110. With rent, mortgage, and service charge the estimated monthly cost will be £1,384.
One-bedroom flats start at £187,250 for a 35 per cent share, and the service charge for these larger properties is £150 a month, bringing monthly costs to £1,931. There are also some two-bedroom flats, priced at £201,250 for a 25 per cent share. The monthly service charge for these homes is £200, and the total monthly outgoings will be £2,239.
The location, in Canonbury Road, is hard to fault, just five minutes’ walk from Upper Street’s many bars, restaurants and boutiques, and the Almeida Theatre. Highbury & Islington Tube station, on the Victoria line in Zone 2, is also just moments away, and the flats are only half a mile from Essex Road station, with trains to Moorgate in a super-speedy seven minutes.
Downsides, to be really picky, are that Canonbury Road is busy, although by London standards not dreadful, and it doesn’t have a lot in the way of Upper Street-style boutiques itself. The walk to Highbury & Islington Tube will mean circling grotty Highbury Corner, although this traffic-clogged junction is in line for a revamp.
These negatives, though, are easily trumped by the sheer rarity of finding shared-ownership homes in Canonbury, where there is little building space for large developments. Such opportunities tend to be concentrated in east and south-east London, where major schemes are more commonplace.
“The location is a key selling point,” agrees head of sales Hopkin Man. “You’ve got a lot of boutiques and gastropubs in a concentrated, established area.”
Past: Canonbury has long attracted literary and artistic types. George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh lived in the area, as did the artist and designer Vanessa Bell, and Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas story about a Canonbury lamplighter.
Future: Islington council and Transport for London are considering a full-scale regeneration of Highbury Corner, turning it into a two-way junction with a smart central square.
Trivial pursuit: in 2014 actress Keira Knightley and rocker husband James Righton spent £3.9 million on a five-bedroom home in Canonbury.
What it costs: plenty. The average property in the N1 postcode costs £833,665 according to Rightmove, up from just under £806,000 a year ago.
Eat: feed a craving for red meat and flatbread at Black Axe Mangal. Veggies can tuck into broad bean falafel and not feel hard done by.
Drink: a nice glass of something chilled on a sunny afternoon in the garden of the Canonbury Tavern, where George Orwell wrote parts of 1984.
Buy: bid for a bargain at the Criterion auction house in Essex Road.
Walk: along New River Walk, a linear park which follows the route of a historic aqueduct.