Islington is moving in with Shoreditch
The development bug is spreading from Islington and Shoreditch to meet in the middle. These were once two distinct markets, one noted for gentrified townhouses, the other for designer lofts. But a crop of fashionable schemes has sprouted up around Upper Street, still the heart of Islington's café society, and now City Road, which links Angel to the Square Mile, has become a development corridor.
The Link is a boutique scheme of 17 apartments in City Road. Prices from £375,000. Call 020 7559 5169.
Developer Mount Anvil and housing association Affinity Sutton are offering 307 new homes, 69 for shared ownership, at The Lexicon, three canalside buildings including 36-storey Silicon Tower, the highest in Islington. Other residential towers include 27-storey Eagle House, with 276 apartments, and Canaletto, with 28 storeys, launching in September 2013, ready in 2015. Prices from £430,000. Call 020 7608 1825.
Berkeley Homes is working with architect Foster + Partners to redevelop an industrial estate into 800 homes at City Road Basin, while Folio, in Micawber Street, bordering the basin, has 71 apartments and townhouses in low-rise blocks. Prices from £595,950. Call 020 3657 7341.
Victorian gems are a work of art in Chelsea, SW10
Thirty "hidden" artists' studios in the exclusive Boltons conservation area of SW10 are for sale for the first time in more than 100 years.
Built in the late 19th century the studios are a remarkable example of entrepreneurial Victorian property development, being tucked away on a linear strip of land between grand stucco-fronted houses in Gilston Road and Redcliffe Road.
Now in the single ownership of developer Realstar Group, the studios are being renovated into double-height, galleried one- and two-bedroom apartments on 999-year leases. White-walled modern interiors have between 620sq ft and 1,220sq ft of space, lots of storage and bespoke carpentry plus iPad-controlled audio-visual equipment.
Extras include a 24-hour concierge, communal gardens and the right to a coveted parking permit from the local council. Prices from £1.26 million. Call 020 7409 8756 or visit bolton-studios.com.
Clever families hand-pick homes near good schools
Home counties estate agents report that buyers are co-ordinating their moves carefully, making off-plan purchases at new developments, which guarantees they get the house they want close to the school of their choice, ahead of this autumn's new term.
"Most families seeking the perfect combination of a manageable commute and a good-value home also want a quick dash to the station and an easy school run," said Jonathan Cranley, director of Millgate Homes. Its summer launches include Victoria Mews, a scheme of three- and four-bedroom semis in the village of Wargrave, Berkshire — prices from £649,950 — and Alderbourne Place in Gerrards Cross, where eight imposing country houses and four townhouses are priced from £900,000.
A show home has opened at Wootton Place, Esher, where Octagon is building seven detached family houses close to the spot-the-famous-face high street. The houses have full basements with cinema rooms and terraces linking the garden-level kitchen and family rooms to landscaped outside space. Prices from £2.75 million. Call 01372 460117.
Stepney Green is a big surprise for newcomers
Vivo is part of a "new" district at Stepney Green, where a council estate has been bulldozed to make way for 462 private and rented homes.
Thoughtful new architecture is enhancing an inner-city district that is easier on the eye than many newcomers expect. Upgraded Regent's Canal and Mile End Park are among the well-used amenities.
Buyers are also waking up to Stepney's location — close to two Tube stations and equidistant between the City and Canary Wharf.
Positioned at the edge of a conservation area, Vivo is a group of apartment blocks set around landscaped courtyards.
Developers First Base and East Thames Group have released a "Rooftop Collection" of penthouse-style apartments with Canary Wharf views from their terraces. Prices from £420,000. Call 020 3069 2073 or visit vivolondon.com.