Best London areas to buy a home: on the Crossrail route with high street regeneration is where you’ll profit in a sluggish property market
The secret formula for finding growth potential in a sluggish London property market is revealed today and it’s pretty simple — you need to find a dreary high street with Crossrail on the horizon.
Knowing where to look for a home in London is tough enough in a stable market but in these uncertain times buyers looking to make a profit from price growth, which has been all but crushed by current political uncertainties, need to follow certain rules.
Government data this month shows values in London have fallen 1.6 per cent.
However, there are pockets where prices are expected to climb, perhaps 20 or 30 per cent in the short to medium term.
In almost every one of these cases, buyers will benefit from transport improvements that will come with Crossrail, and long-overdue regeneration in shopping streets.
Acton and Southall in the west and Ilford, Woolwich and Maryland in the east are undergoing comprehensive regeneration.
If all goes according to plan, they will have fast connectivity to London’s major employment hubs thanks to Crossrail, and buzzing town centres. As a result house prices will surge, according to a report published today by Savills.
“A well-curated retail and leisure offering, when partnered with quality housing, is key to creating vibrant and lively places to live and work,” says Ed Green, head of research at Savills.
“When people make decisions about where to live, whether to rent or buy, they want to know how they’ll get to work, and they want to come home to a place that meets their lifestyle needs.”
In peripheral areas in need of big improvement to amenities, the price growth journey will not finish when Crossrail finally arrives.
London’s new-look high streets
Ten to 15 years ago, when high streets were being upgraded the focus was on shopping. “Now it’s all about entertainment and experience over traditional retail,” explains Craig Hughes, head of real estate at PwC.
The leisure factor: new-look high streets that focus on wellbeing and leisure as we shop increasingly online are boosting home values, providing growth potential (Getty Images)
“It’s those recreational components that will help drive footfall and stimulate local economies.”
Food markets, health and wellbeing businesses — for example, CrossFit Gyms and HiT Studios that are springing up across London — and pop-up shops that change regularly, are all becoming staples of the new-look high street.
The Savills study, London Development Residential Spotlight, shows the consumer is spending less in “real” shops.
Online shopping was up 14 per cent in December compared to the same month the previous year, and household spend on recreational activities has risen 2.5 per cent since 2009.
Higher-quality high streets where leisure and activity-based selling take on increased importance, and traditional retail is a smaller element, will drive up house prices.
New homes for old shops
London has plenty of retail units but a severe undersupply of homes. Office and industrial-to-residential conversions have seen period mansion blocks in Mayfair returned to their original residential purpose and huge regeneration schemes built around redundant power stations, including Battersea and at Barking Riverside.
Lifestyle boost: SE1 food market Mercato Metropolitano is setting up an Ilford hub (Alamy Stock Photo)
But the next era of housebuilding will be dedicated to the retail-to-residential conversion in cheaper districts, according to the Savills report.
Strict planning laws have kept a lid on it, but Cushman Wakefield’s head of planning, Ian Anderson, expects it will soon be made easier to build on top of commercial premises.
Far cheaper than nearby Chiswick or Ealing, the patient buyer should consider Acton and watch it grow up around them. It is set to benefit from the £26 billion, 1,600-acre Park Royal regeneration in North Acton.
- Bond Street: 9 minutes
- Liverpool Street: 16 minutes
- Canary Wharf: 23 minutes
The 30-year vision includes 40,000 new homes, a new high street, two major campuses for Imperial College and London’s only high-speed transport interchange where HS2 meets Crossrail.
Rows of popular Victorian terraces have boosted the average house price in Acton 69 per cent since 2008 to £663,995, but new developments offer cheaper homes.
North Acton is getting Portal West, with 578 new homes in four buildings ranging from nine storeys to a 42-storey skyscraper named One West Point.
City & Docklands’ scheme is set above commercial space in courtyard gardens and completes in 2021.
From £475,000 for a one-bedroom flat. Residents have access to a yoga and meditation suite, gym and co-working space.
From £475,000: apartments at One West Point, a 42-storey tower, part of developer City & Docklands’ Portal West scheme in North Acton
In Redbridge borough, Ilford has seen house prices rise 59 per cent to £368,004 since 2008.
The main drag will be upgraded in a £15 million face lift to ensure the town centre is worthy of a Crossrail station.
- Bond Street: 24 minutes
- Liverpool Street: 14 minutes
- Canary Wharf: 25 minutes
There’ll be new granite paving, trees, pocket parks and green walls, public art, playgrounds, event space, bike storage and a new entrance to the station.
Mercato Metropolitano, the company behind the Elephant & Castle street food market, is setting up a new hub in Ilford this summer bringing produce from small-scale farmers and local suppliers to this urban environment.
NU Living is building The Paragon at Ilford Hill, with one-bedroom flats from £70,000 for a 25 per cent share of a home priced £280,000. Two-bedroom flats start at £96,250 for 25 per cent of a £385,000 home. Call 020 3369 0393.
From £70,000: for a 25 per cent share of a flat worth £280,000 at The Paragon in Ilford by NU Living
At the western end of the Elizabeth line in Reading, house prices are up 47 per cent to an average £312,426.
- Bond Street: 54 minutes
- Liverpool Street: 61 minutes
- Canary Wharf: 68 minutes
After 10 years of change, the Berkshire town is a first-class employment hub, home to John Lewis, PwC and The Prudential.
Haslams Estate Agents predicts another 75 per cent uplift for homes within half a mile of the Crossrail station when the line is fully operational.
Verto will be Reading’s tallest residential tower. Overlooking the River Kennet, prices for the 103 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats start at £270,000 with Help to Buy available.
For sales info call 0118 9601 010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is still a lot more retail to come at Canary Wharf. New high streets are being designed as part of the new Wood Wharf district, where there will also be 3,600 new homes.
- Bond Street: 13 minutes
- Liverpool Street: 6 minutes
- Heathrow: 40 minutes
Average local house prices have increased by 38 per cent over the last 10 years to £559,245.
Kevin Tang, an interior designer, and his husband Geoff Parsons, a banker, have bought at 58-storey One Park Drive in Wood Wharf.
From their flat on the 53rd floor they can watch Canary Wharf continue to change beneath them. Similar flats are available at £932,500. Call CBRE on 020 7182 2477.
High life: Kevin Tang and Geoff Parsons bought on the 53rd floor at One Park Drive, Wood Wharf, E14