London is busy. It takes up just 0.65% of the total land area of the United Kingdom, but houses nearly 13% of the population. The appeal of the capital has led to overcrowding and the competitive nature of home ownership in this sought-after area has driven up house prices, but, if you can afford it, living there is exciting, rewarding and not to mention convenient. And there are still pockets of London that are not only greener than you’d think but also relatively affordable.
Barking and Dagenham
With an average house price of £300,517, Barking and Dagenham is the cheapest London borough to buy a property in. It has good transport links to central London, which are only set to improve with Crossrail and the Overground extension to Barking Riverside. The improvement in transport links will likely push up property prices as well, which means buying in Barking and Dagenham is not only affordable but also a smart investment. If being within reaching distance of central London wasn’t enough, Barking and Dagenham is also home to museums, manor houses and numerous parks, so there’ll be plenty of things to do to fill your weekend.
If you’re looking for somewhere green, Havering in East London might be the place for you. In 2017 just 39% of its land was built on, with the rest being parks, recreation grounds, farmland, and untouched natural landscape. Just a little further out than Barking and Dagenham, Havering has a number of tube stations connecting it to the District Line, and it is on the London Overground and London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. Its attractions include parks, nature reserves, zoos and even a secret nuclear bunker. And the best bit – with an average house price of £362,698, it’s the fourth cheapest place to buy a property in London.
For those who can’t afford to live in Camden or Shoreditch, Leyton has been described as a hidden gem for young professionals. Just ten minutes away from Liverpool Street on the Central Line and under the shadow of the London skyline, Leyton is lively East London district that will be brought even closer to the centre of London with the completion of Crossrail. The central pedestrianised street, known locally as ‘The Village’, is lined with unique and independent shops; it has its own football club and is round the corner from the Olympic Park; it has a buzzing nightlife ranging from music nights to drag nights; and it’s a short walk away from Epping Forest. There really is something for everyone, although you do pay a little more for it with an average property price of £468,000.
Located in the central London Borough of Wandsworth, Battersea is ideally suited for buying in if you’re looking to upsize to start a family. With an average property price of £840,062 it’s not cheap, but if a central location is what you need it’s arguably worth the extra spend. With the nearby Battersea Park being home to the famous London Pagoda, a children’s zoo, boating lake, bandstand, sports pitches and a visual arts space in a Victoria Tower, Battersea gives you the best of both worlds – you’re right in the centre of the capital with access to everything it has to offer, but you’re also never far from tranquil outdoor spaces where you can while away the hours of your weekend. And as the Battersea Power Station development has lots of new homes, shops, restaurants, a village hall and small business start-up units, there’s plenty for anyone looking for a buzzing social scene.
If money is no object and you just want to be central, Bloomsbury might be for you. Ideally situated within walking distance to Piccadilly, Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Northern Line stations, Bloomsbury is efficiently connected to virtually any part of London. This is set to improve further as the completion of Crossrail will link it to places further afield such as Reading and Shenfield. The new line is also resulting in a revamp of the nearby area of Tottenham Court Road. Often overlooked because of its close proximity to places like King’s Cross and Holborn, Bloomsbury could be ideal if you’re able to splash the cash. And it’s still about £500 cheaper per square foot than neighbouring Fitzrovia, and definitely considerably cheaper than nearby Camden.
Read our advice on moving house in London