London's population boom means housing an extra borough every three years
* The popular suburbs are where the population is predicted to grow
* Transport for London is set to gain more control of suburban commuter routes, from Liverpool Street through east London to Stansted airport and Cambridge, taking in Hertfordshire commuter towns such as Bishop’s Stortford and Cheshunt.
* 23 train stations will be upgraded. Areas and new developments to benefit include The Mission in Hackney Wick;Stanmore Place near Canons Park; Kidbrooke Village in Kidbrooke and London Square in Ruislip
London’s population jumped by more than 100,000 last year to a new postwar high, and at the current rate of increase the capital will grow by the equivalent of an extra borough every three years, hitting a total of nine million people by 2019, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.
As a result the city needs a more extensive transport network for commuters, says London Mayor Boris Johnson, and 400,000 new homes over the next 10 years.
The popular suburbs are where the population is predicted to grow. After past flirtations with locating offices out of town, the mood is now for commerce to cluster in the centre of the capital, though this will inevitably put extra strain on the transport system. So London will not just have more people — predicted eventually to reach 10 million by 2030 — it will have more people travelling longer distances to work.
Private car use in London is falling, while journeys by Tube and bus are soaring. Once-quiet public transport routes are crammed, with 3.7 million people using the Tube each day. The Docklands Light Railway carries 100 million passengers a year, up from 66 million in 2008, while the recently completed East London line is already feeling the strain — though its capacity is being boosted by 25 per cent.
Beyond Crossrail: new transport routes to link the suburbs and outer London areas
Of course, where railway lines go, homebuyers are sure to follow, with the inevitable effect on local property prices. Since the Overground came to Tube-starved Hackney, for instance, they have risen 25 per cent. Transport strategists are looking ahead for ways to solve the commuter crush. They are looking beyond Crossrail — the east-west train link arriving in 2017 — to find efficient ways to integrate rail and Tube lines in the suburbs and outer London areas. And new transport routes equal new homes.
Transport for London is set to gain more control of suburban commuter routes currently run by rail operators. In 2015 TfL will take over the West Anglia rail franchise. This route runs from Liverpool Street through east London to Stansted airport and Cambridge, taking in Hertfordshire commuter towns such as Bishop’s Stortford and Cheshunt.
One to watch: Hackney Downs
Part of the deal involves upgrading 23 stations, one of which is Hackney Downs. While forlorn now compared with nearby Hackney Central, a shiny new Overground station surrounded by trendy bars and cafés, Hackney Downs is likely to be transformed.
Another Overground station is Hackney Wick, which enjoys a much higher profile since the 2012 Olympics. Previously off the radar of homebuyers, the area is smartening up, with regeneration reversing decades of industrial decline. The cathedral-size church of St Mary of Eton is at the centre of an ambitious project bringing 25 new homes, including a spectacular triplex apartment in the listed tower. The church is being renovated and two new “wings” built either side.
Loft-style apartments with up to four bedrooms and patio-style terraces are being carved from a separate double-height mission hall, while a new vicarage is being built alongside and a café created in the cobbled courtyard.
Called The Mission, the development looms over the roaring Eastway dual carriageway, but it is only a five-minute walk to Hackney Wick station, while all the Stratford amenities are on the doorstep. This district has a bright future and artists priced out of high-rent Shoreditch are already settling. Completion is due in summer 2014. Prices from £250,000. Call estate agent Fyfe Mcdade on 020 7613 4044.
Get in the zone: London's 19 outer boroughs
Outer London is where families used to go but it is enormously varied in terms of wealth, ethnicity, education, housing stock and culture. Home buyers have had a poor deal in the past from unimaginative building. The Mayor is calling for higher quality, more imaginative architecture and design for the suburbs. Buyers priced out of central and inner London are a ready audience for something special.
London has 19 outer boroughs — from Sutton in the south to Enfield in the north, from Havering in the east to Hillingdon in the west, created by railway expansion in the early 20th century. During the interwar years, the pioneering Metropolitan Railway built its own housing estates to the north-west of London in Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Hertfordshire, and marketed the area as Metro-land, later famously celebrated by the poet John Betjeman.
North-west London: Canons Park
Built on the site of an industrial estate, Stanmore Place is a welcome arrival in the style-starved north-west London suburbs. This 798-home community is set in award-winning landscaped grounds which include a lake, cycle paths and play areas. There is also a gym, plus a car club and 24-hour concierge services.
Home buyers here can “shop” at the on-site interior design studio, and various fixtures, fittings, furnishings, fabric and colour choices are available. Prices from £401,500 for two-bedroom apartments. Call 020 8952 2853. Nearby Canons Park Tube station is in Zone 5 on the Jubilee line.
A new garden suburb: Kidbrooke Village
At Kidbrooke station in SE3, a new transport interchange providing a 15-minute commute to London Bridge is part of a “new garden suburb” that eventually will have 4,000 homes and more than 10,000 residents. The train service is operated by Southeastern, another TfL takeover target.
Called Kidbrooke Village, the development is split into four attractively landscaped neighbourhoods and borders Sutcliffe Park, which has a lake and wetlands. Flats and townhouses with roof terraces overlook this green expanse. Properties are a step up for the area, with smart, space-efficient interiors that would not be out of place in trendy parts of Islington or Bermondsey. Prices from £277,500. Call Berkeley Homes on 020 8150 5151.
Ruislip: commuter hotspot
The Metropolitan Railway propelled Ruislip from sleepy medieval settlement to commuter suburb. Now in Hillingdon borough, the area feeds off the Heathrow commercial zone and has five Tube stations to the West End and City.
Developers are bringing fresh ideas to an area dominated by interwar housing. London Square has a scheme of 60 flats in low-rise blocks surrounding communal gardens. From £374,995. Call 0333 666 2636.