Where do you start looking for a new home? London is brimming with building projects and transport upgrades that are creating new property-buying opportunities, whatever your budget.
Urban renewal is a constant in the capital — areas that have been forgotten are reawakened for many reasons.
Young homebuyers in search of under-valued property will colonise the fringe of a popular area, or regeneration projects will transform a district and make it suddenly desirable, as at King’s Cross.
The spur might be commercial, such as the tech sector sprouting up in Shoreditch, or cultural, such as the opening of Tate Modern at Bankside. New tribes settle, bringing vitality, hastening gentrification and pushing up prices. It is a familiar cycle.
IMAGE GALLERY: SEARCH FOR HOMES IN THE NEWEST LONDON HOTSPOTS
Image gallery: hot homes in London's hotly tipped growth districts
Image gallery: hot homes in London's hotly tipped growth districts
1/12 Tottenham, N15
£374,995: a two-bedroom flat with spacious open-plan kitchen and private balcony, close to Seven Sisters station.
2/12 Tottenham, N15
£800,000: a three-bedroom maisonette with 30 per cent shared ownership available from £240,000, close to South Tottenham station.
3/12 Old Oak Common, NW10
£358,000: a two-bedroom flat at New Stonebridge Park, a new neighbourhood with great schools and nurseries.
4/12 Old Oak Common, NW10
£1 million: a three-bedroom flat situated around a landscaped courtyard, close to Kensal Green Tube and station.
5/12 Royal Docks, E16
£275,000: a studio flat with balcony overlooking the Thames, with access to green space in Lyle Park.
6/12 Royal Docks, E16
£425,000: a stylish two-bedroom flat overlooking a spacious private garden square, next to Canning Town station.
7/12 Euston, NW1
£490,000: a one-bedroom, loft-style apartment in a former Edwardian warehouse, near Mornington Crescent.
8/12 Euston, NW1
£825,000: a modern two-bedroom flat with two bathrooms, 24-hour porter and in-house gym facilities.
9/12 Whitechapel, E1
£538,000: a one-bedroom flat with 410sq ft of living space in Whitechapel High Street.
10/12 Whitechapel, E1
£560,000: a fifth-floor, studio flat with access to business lounge, gym, cinema and indoor swimming pool.
11/12 Woolwich, SE18
£365,000: a two-bedroom flat with open-plan living area and private parking, near Woolwich Arsenal.
12/12 Woolwich, SE18
£900,000: this three-bedroom flat has two balconies with scenic views, on-site amenities and over 1km of riverwalk.
Looking into the crystall ball
Back in 2011, property consultant Knight Frank cherry-picked a dozen areas where property values would jump during the period up to this year.
At the time, the predictions appeared bullish but have proved broadly correct, spectacularly so in the case of Nine Elms, the booming riverside strip that wraps around Battersea Power Station, where values have increased by 140 per cent. Fitzrovia and Blackfriars, two more hotspots, actually exceeded the forecast.
The company is taking on the role of tipster again, predicting areas that will rise the most between now and 2018. And Crossrail figures prominently in the report. At the very least, such analysis is food for thought and a decent starting point for bargain hunters.
Whereas over the past five years, the biggest price rises have been in coveted areas ringing so-called prime central London, the new growth districts are further afield, in Zones 2, 3 and 4. This correlates with a demographic trend.
London’s population is rising fastest in these zones, and housing supply is failing to keep up with demand. And, as ever, people are hunting for well-connected, but more affordable areas.
So while new-build prices for London as a whole are expected to rise by 25 per cent for the period up to 2018, some areas are forecast to increase by as much as 67 per cent.
Buyers who take a punt on promising new frontiers often get rewarded for their boldness. It paid off handsomely for those who moved to Canary Wharf in the Nineties and for those who more recently spotted Dalston.
But be aware of false prophets. Areas take time to turn around and developers are prone to talking up values before they have got there in regeneration zones, where they are building. And, by offering new design ideas and lifestyle extras, they will talk up an area beyond its reality and command steep prices based on the promise of better things to come.
Regeneration normally takes a long time — five years at least, possibly 10 or even 20 years — for the full impact to be felt. So you have to weigh up whether the wait is worth it. Crossrail is scheduled to open in 2018, its impact is already lifting the veil on some areas while increasing the allure of others.
Slashed journey times are the great reward — 1.5 million more people will be within a 45-minute commute of London’s key business districts.
Current value: £450 per sq ft
2018 forecast: £750 per sq ft, a rise of 67 per cent
Its rough image deters many, but Tottenham is undoubtedly good first-time buyer territory, being relatively cheap and having quick transport links to the centre. Crucially, regeneration is beginning to make a difference.
Hale Village, next to Tottenham Hale station, is Haringey borough’s biggest development project since the Sixties — 870 new “green” homes to date, a 1,200-room student campus, a supermarket, a Diocese of London community centre and a specialist kidney care unit run by Royal Free Hospital. And there is much more to come, including a residential skyscraper, private rental accommodation, shops and offices.
Homes are proving popular with key workers and young career professionals — among them junior doctors and nurses. A high proportion of residents — 44 per cent — are in the 16 to 29 age bracket.
The 12-acre site borders protected parkland and the Lee Navigation, a once-vital canal route running into Docklands. The next phase of apartments is scheduled for release later this year. Visit halevillagelondon.co.uk or call 020 8808 4070.
Tottenham Hotspur FC’s new stadium project will bring flats, shops, a technical college and primary school, while Lawrence Square, close to Seven Sisters Tube station, replaces an industrial estate and has 260 homes priced from £249,950. Call Bellway on 0845 676 0261.
OLD OAK COMMON
Current value: £600 per sq ft
2018 prediction: £950 per sq ft, a rise of 58 per cent
City planners have great ambitions for this little-known west London district lying just north of Wormwood Scrubs. It has been earmarked as the location for a transport superhub, where Crossrail and HS2 will integrate.
Mayor Boris Johnson has set up a development corporation to spearhead regeneration and deliver up to 24,000 homes plus offices and shops.
Old Oak Estate, dating from the Twenties, consists of houses grouped around greens, in a garden-suburb layout, and is surprisingly countryfied. Even Wormwood Scrubs, despite the prison compound, is an attractive open space incorporating, surprisingly, a nature reserve.
Rather than being an isolated triangle of land, Old Oak Common is beginning to merge with its neighbours. Park Royal, for decades a manufacturing and distribution base for companies, is part of the wider master plan. A branch of the Grand Union Canal passes through it, providing an opportunity for waterside living. First Central is one of the new residential schemes, with three-bedroom apartments priced from £499,995. Call Bellway on 0845 018 0716.
Current value: £600 per sq ft
2018 forecast: £900 per sq ft, a rise of 50 per cent
Equivalent in size to the area from Hyde Park to Tower Bridge, and with more waterfront than Venice, Royal Docks is set to become London’s next big business district, a centre for global trade and green technology.
The Greater London Authority’s vision is for tens of thousands of new homes and convivial waterside living. Several projects are under way or in the pipeline, including a neighbourhood called Silvertown, with up to 3,000 homes, a central piazza the size of Covent Garden, and “brand” pavilions for the leading companies to showcase their wares.
Royal Wharf is another new neighbourhood, mainly low-rise with a primary school plus a DLR station. The first of 3,385 homes will be ready next year. Currently for sale are townhouses priced from £990,000. Call 0808 118 1987. And in this part of Docklands, Britain’s first “floating village” will be built, consisting of 50 modern, eco-friendly houses, linked by pedestrian and cycle bridges to an “on-site” market square.
Current value: £1,000 per sq ft
2018 forecast: £1,500 per sq ft, a rise of 50 per cent
Euston Area Action Plan has been agreed to rejuvenate the area around the train station, itself the subject of a major redevelopment plan linked to the HS2 rail project.
Japanese-style “bullet trains” will not arrive before 2026, but Euston’s transformation has already started. Traditionally it has been a place to pass through rather than a place to live. Office towers loom over car-clogged Euston Road, the congestion charge boundary and once one of the capital’s most pedestrian-unfriendly thoroughfares. New homes are part of the mix at a big office complex called Regent’s Place, where Facebook has relocated to.
The project scooped top prize in the mayor’s 2014 London Planning Awards, and despite its corporate feel (14,000 employees) has become a convivial hub, with restaurants, cafés, a food market, art studios and a theatre plus a public space for performances, events and art installations. The district has strong academic and charitable links, with numerous university buildings and medical campuses, including Wellcome Trust.
This settled backbone gives the area character amid the scurrying commuters. Over time, the area will entice more people out of the West End.
Current value: £900 per sq ft
2018 forecast: £1,250 per sq ft, a rise of 39 per cent
Whitechapel remains the cheapest City fringe area — but perhaps not for much longer. The Overground extension gave the area a boost, and a new fairy godmother has descended in the form of Crossrail, which has helped trigger a building boom that will bring many hundreds of new homes.
The area is still quite rough around the edges, but that’s not a negative for a lot of young buyers and renters. And with London’s digital economy moving eastwards, Whitechapel is a logical extension to the Shoreditch tech cluster. Wickhams, a former colonnade-fronted Edwardian department store on Mile End Road, originally designed as an East End Selfridges, has been converted into a hub for tech and media start-ups.
Barts’ five-acre Whitechapel Estate next to Royal London Hospital is the latest chunk of land to be snapped up for development — a commercial and residential mixed use scheme with 550 homes. And Redrow’s launch of four penthouses at One Commercial Street is a telltale sign of where the area is heading. Prices start at £2,950,000. Call DTZ on 020 3302 3115.
Whitechapel Gallery, which is credited with helping to launch the careers of several renowned British artists, from David Hockney to Gilbert & George, is one of the area’s institutions. The gallery has linked up with developer Berkeley Homes to establish a new arts space at Goodman’s Fields, where 920 homes are being built alongside hotels, shops and restaurants. A public park and landscaped courtyard gardens are also being created. Prices from £735,000. Call 020 3217 1000.
Current value: £650 per sq ft
2018 forecast: £950 per sq ft, a rise of 46 per cent
Crossrail “throws Woolwich into a new demand bracket, morphing it into a serious commuter zone,” according to Knight Frank. When the station opens in 2018, no other place beyond Zone 1 in south London will be as well-connected. Locals will be able to travel to Canary Wharf in eight minutes, to the City in 14 minutes, to Bond Street in 22 minutes and to Heathrow in 50 minutes, without changing trains.
Though touted as “up-and-coming” for more than a decade, Woolwich has never really achieving that status — until now. Royal Arsenal Riverside is the address that will benefit most. The new Crossrail station is being built within the walls of this architecturally historic housing that once employed close to 80,000 people and has a collection of listed buildings. Developer Berkeley Homes is building 592 apartments in five tower blocks above the station. Prices from £425,000. Call 020 8331 7130.
The local council is lobbying Transport for London to make Woolwich a Zone 3 station (currently Zone 4), while another objective is to reconnect the riverside with Woolwich town centre, achieved via new pedestrian routes and a public square.