Homes in Barking and Dagenham, Bexley and Newham offer last affordable options for London's first-time buyers

Aspiring first-time buyers need to load up their Oyster cards, because strong annual price rises mean that key areas affordable to those on an average budget are in the depths of Zones 4, 5 and 6.
The latest Land Registry house price index shows there are now only three boroughs in London where an average home costs less than £304,205 - which is the average budget of a first-time buyer, according to a study by Your Move and Reed Rains.
 
These are:
Barking and Dagenham, average price £274,173.
Bexley, average price £287,732.
Newham, average price £295,306.
 
The good news is that these areas offer great choice for buyers, whether they want a modern home with fast commuter links, somewhere to raise a family or an area with investment potential.

BARKING
This is an area to watch, thanks to Chancellor George Osborne, who has committed to funding an extension to London Overground to link the massive Barking Riverside regeneration project to the Gospel Oak to Barking line.
 
Transport improvements have a strong history of stimulating price growth, and Barking Riverside is a key London house-building project, with more than 10,000 homes to be built over the next couple of decades on a former power station site beside the River Thames, along with new schools, shops, offices and health centres.
 
The site is currently served by Upney Tube station or Barking railway station, with services into Fenchurch Street taking just 15 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £1,844.
 
The next phase of homes at Barking Riverside, by Bellway East, goes on sale next year. A spokeswoman for the company said that prices have not been confirmed, although two-bedroom flats sold in January were priced from £184,995, which gives a decent ballpark clue.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUY A HOME IN YOUR LONDON BOROUGH?


BEXLEY
A great choice for families. It was voted the best place to bring up a child in London in the last Family Hotspots report from Family Investments, thanks to its good schools, low crime rates, number of amenities and green space.
 
The reason parents love Bexley can be summed up in two words: grammar schools.
 
Children can try for places at Beths Grammar School (boys) and Bexley Grammar School (mixed), both rated outstanding by Ofsted, or Townley Grammar School (girls) and Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School (mixed), which are both rated good.
 
Trains from Bexley, on the cusp of Kent, go to either Cannon Street (43 minutes) or Charing Cross (36 minutes), and an annual season ticket costs £2,344.
 
The town has other attractive amenities. Danson Park is excellent and there are pleasant cafés along Bexley’s high street, along with some decent pubs and restaurants, and even a riding school.
 
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£350,000: head to Zone 6 and Ewell, south-west London, to find this four-bedroom house for a growing family
 
NEWHAM
This is an area for buyers with an eye to investment potential. It's not only affordable, but it has seen London’s strongest annual price rise, a hefty 17.2 per cent.
 
This growth is largely thanks to the cluster of new developments at Stratford, but Forest Gate, which will be part of the Crossrail line from 2018, is another great place to look.
 
The area has its share of roomy Victorian villas with £1 million price tags, but first-time buyers could buy a three-bedroom Victorian or Edwardian terrace house for between £350,000 and £400,000, or a two-bedroom conversion from around £250,000.
 
William Bond, assistant manager of Wilkinson estate agents, says that at least half his buyers are first-timers, many from Hackney, Dalston, Islington and Stoke Newington, and almost all are excited by the potential the new Crossrail link will bring.
 
They tend to buy two-bedroom Victorian terraces, priced between £350,000 and £400,000, or two-bedroom flats from about £300,000.
 
Homes north of the A118 Romford Road tend to be the most sought-after, thanks to their proximity to both the station and the expanses of Wanstead Flats. There are local shops in Woodgrange Road, although these have a way to go before they are any competition for Upper Street or Dalston Lane.
 
Bond’s belief is that as middle-class professional first-time buyers move in, things will start to change in Forest Gate. “It is already improving, with more cafés opening up,” he said. “It is not as it should be yet, but it is attracting people from all over, so things will change.”

 

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