Families stay in London - finding bigger homes in cheaper boroughs

Huge commuting costs have reversed a decade-long exodus from London, with families preferring to stay in the capital but in better-value burroughs
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St Catherine's Place
£1.05 million: 2,254 sq ft homes at St Catherine's Place, a new scheme in an attractive conservation area at Telegraph Hill, south-east London (020 3326 1550)

Families priced out of central London are still finding the capital too good to leave. High fares are making commuting an expensive option and have helped reverse a decade-long trend that saw homebuyers seeking better value in the suburbs and country towns.

Research based on Land Registry and government data and prepared exclusively for Homes & Property by Winkworth, London’s largest estate agency chain, shows that 62 per cent of London families who sold up last year remained in London.

Londoners are now much more likely to make comparisons between boroughs in their search for better-value family homes, than to look further afield. Popular and cheaper locations are being found in west London and south of the river — up-and-coming areas previously out of sight and out of mind. A new generation of modern family houses in these areas is another enticement.

While the phenomenon of international buyers has fuelled the market for expensive homes in the core central London areas — Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Mayfair, Kensington and Chelsea — buyers can still go beyond the gold-plated territories to find space and affordability. While some movers are cashing-in equity and trading up or down, the hunt for more affordable locations is seeing Fulham residents crossing the river to put down roots in Battersea and Balham; others are moving from Parsons Green to Putney, from Hammersmith to Shepherd’s Bush, from Islington to Blackheath, and from Clapham to Dulwich.

Brockley, Sydenham and Crystal Palace.

Telegraph Hill in south-east London, nine houses with up to 2,254sq ft of space have been built on a former Thames Water reservoir at the top of the slope, part of a leafy Victorian conservation area with wide tree-lined roads, two refurbished parks, a church, community centre and café and a highly rated state secondary school — Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College. St Catherine’s Place prices start at £1.05 million. Call 020 3326 1550.

Emerald Square
From £770,000: three-storey townhouses at new Emerald Square in Roehampton
Developer London Square aims to capture Chelsea movers with its Farm Lane townhouses in Fulham. The two-acre site is set to become a traffic-free retreat with 40 homes. Residents will park their cars in an underground private garage with direct access to the houses. Four-storey Georgian-style terrace townhouses are grouped around communal gardens and have large front doors and railings to give a sense of grandeur.

Pedestrians arrive via a listed Edwardian double-arched entrance, flanked by smaller two-storey houses. Construction is under way. No prices yet. Call 01895 627 300.

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'We needed space to grow into'

Whether opting for a modern house or a period lookalike, most buyers want their new property to have exciting design elements. Focus-group research by developer St James, part of the Berkeley Group, shows that light-filled open-plan interiors, usable outside space and energy-saving “green” features to reduce bills are highly valued.

Anne-Laure and Scott Coby
© Carl Everingham
Anne-Laure and Scott Coby, and daughter Sophia, in their family room
These elements were crucial for Scott and Anne-Laure Coby, who are moving from a flat in Kensington to a new house at Lime Grove Mews, Shepherd’s Bush, with their six-month-old daughter Sophia. Their Regency-style, five-bedroom, four-storey house has a large, ground-floor, open-plan family room that connects to the garden through wall-to-wall glass doors. Prices from £1.6 million. Call 020 3002 9460.

“We wanted a house that was large enough for us to grow into,” says Anne-Laure, 31. “We love the way inside and outside space is integrated. As well as the garden, there’s a roof lounge and terrace on the top floor.”

Similar three-storey townhouses are being built at Emerald Square, Roehampton. Prices from £770,000. Call 020 3004 4113.

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