Where to buy in London 2019: Camden is top choice for renters in the capital looking to get on to the property ladder

With the average property in London now selling for £474,000, it’s little surprise that the number of people moving out of the capital when they can finally afford to buy a home is rising.

The number of Londoners buying outside of the city is up 17 per cent compared to five years ago, according to figures from Hamptons International.

“House prices in the capital have grown significantly faster than incomes over the past few years,” said Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at the estate agent. “Now it takes a single buyer about 17 years to save up for a 15 per cent deposit.”

That said, moving out isn’t for everyone. In fact, almost two thirds (62 per cent) of London renters who bought in 2018 did so within the capital.

So where are these renters who take the plunge managing to buy?

First choice: Camden

With an average house price of £821,000, Camden is one of London’s most expensive areas for home buyers. Yet this north-west London borough has seen the highest proportion of homes sold to London renters

A third (33 per cent) of Camden home buyers have been renting somewhere in London before they bought in the borough, something which is in part attributable to the older profile of many buyers in the area – often in their 30s or 40s.

“Well-qualified young professionals working in law or the media will come in rent in London, trade in for something better as they’ve moved up the food chain in their work and eventually decide to buy in the area,” says Guy Russell of Salter Rex in Kentish Town.

Despite its pricey reputation, Beveridge also points out that around 30 per cent of homes in the borough sell for under £600,000, which is also the Help to Buy cap.

The figures also look at all renters who buy, not specifically first-time buyers.

“A lot of people are doing this ‘try before you buy’ thing, renting in an area to see if they definitely like it before they decide to settle down there,” says Beveridge.

“They’re more cautious about investing huge sums of money in their homes so they might rent in an area to make sure they know it really well before they make that jump.”

Suburban stunner: Kingston-upon-Thames

The next most popular borough to buy in for London renters is Kingston-upon-Thames in south-west London, where 29 per cent of buyers already been renting in the capital.

This Zone 6 borough in south-west London attracts buyers moving further out of more central areas to get more home for their buck.

With an average price of £487,000, Kingston is not one of the capital’s cheapest boroughs, but buyers can expect to get more space for the same price as in more central parts of south-west London.

With people buying older and transaction costs such as stamp duty increasing, buyers are opting for larger homes to live in for longer.

“Kingston’s not a cheap place to live but, whereas in Battersea, for example, you’d get a flat for £600,000, in Kingston you might scrape a small house,” says Benjamin Wear, branch manager of Curchods in Kingston.

“Before the crash, people were moving every two to five years. Now people are staying put, so if you have got a young couple who might be thinking of a family one day, they’ll be looking for that family home now, rather than in a couple of years.”

Help to Buy hotspot: Tower Hamlets

The borough where the third highest proportion of renters buying is the east London area of Tower Hamlets, where 22 per cent of buyers were previously renting in the capital.

With an average sold price of £413,300, the Zone 2 borough is home to the financial district of Canary Wharf and the hipster hotspot of Shoreditch.

It also encompasses less expensive areas such as Poplar and Bow, where a significant amount of new building is taking place.

Beveridge attributes the borough’s high proportion of renters buying in the area to the use of Help to Buy, thanks to the amount of new homes building happening there.

Tower Hamlets was named one of the top 10 boroughs in London for Help to Buy with schemes including Bow Garden Square where flats cost from £390,000.

The remaining areas in the 10 most popular for London renters buying in the capital were Brent, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Islington.

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