Where to downsize your home in 2019: best areas in and around London to trade in the family house for a city pied a terre or seaside home

Generally regarded as the kings and queens of the property market, downsizers are likely to have the biggest budgets of all buyers, giving them the widest choice of options at their fingertips.

Whether they want to return to the inner city now they are once again footloose and child-free, or enjoy a spot of coastal quiet, here are three winning areas to look this spring. 

Greenwich: for a London pièd-a-terre

Buyers looking to trade in a family home for a smaller lock-up-and-leave should see Thames Street, a five-minute walk from Cutty Sark DLR and Greenwich station.

The centre of Greenwich is 10 minutes away and has all the history and charm you might want. The market retains its independent spirit and there are lots of nice shops and restaurants.

For outside space there is the double whammy of Greenwich Park and Blackheath, and the regeneration zone at Greenwich Peninsula will bring more events and facilities to the area.

One-bedroom flats start at £487,500, with two-bedroom flats from £680,000. All have balconies and river views (thamesstreet.co.uk).

West Hampstead: downsize in Zone 2  

The vogue for supercool UGGs — urban grannies and grandads — moving into the centre of the city once the kids have left home, is well documented.

But unless they are LUGGs — that’s loaded urban grannies and grandads — a home in central London might be a stretch.

In Zone 2, however, there are some cracking choices, including leafy West Hampstead, with its well-stocked high street, wealth of lovely cafés and restaurants and a multigenerational feel.

There are good train links, too, whether you want to head to Bond Street in 15 minutes via the Victoria line, or Hampstead Heath, 10 minutes away on London Overground. 

This place is not nearly as expensive as Hampstead itself, but a two-bedroom portered mansion flat in West Hampstead will still cost between £700,000 and £800,000.

Leigh-on-Sea: retire to the coast

Many downsizers love to be beside the seaside, and fast-regenerating Southend-on-Sea has seven miles of coastline for jogging and walks.

There are good commuter links to London — about 40 minutes to Fenchurch Street — plus London Southend international airport for European breaks.

On the downside, this Essex town’s seafront and town centre are a bit run down, with clone chain stores.

But Leigh-on-Sea, three miles west, is a great asset, with boutiques, restaurants and wine bars.

A two-bedroom flat with front-row sea views would cost about £450,000, or a new two-bedroom flat in Leigh-on-Sea would be £350,000-£400,000.

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