We all know London isn’t exactly a hotbed for affordable housing, but there are still a few places where you can get more bang for your buck. Here are the top five places for millennials to live in the capital right now, whether you’re looking for a foodie vibe or a first-time-buy bolthole.
While many of these areas are a far cry from the likes of hipster Hackney to trendy Shoreditch, these top five locations are definitely on the up, benefiting from huge regeneration projects, new transport links and a focus on community, which is often a rare thing to find in London. House prices are on the rise, so you’ll need to get in there quick if you want to snap up cheaper rent or a bargain buy.
These are the top five millennial hotspots, according to TheHouseShop.com, and some might surprise you…
4. Barking & Dagenham
5. Tower Hamlets
TheHouseShop.com’s co-founder Nick Marr said: ‘The results from the London report revealed that Redbridge is the best borough for affordable housing, has benefitted from regeneration and is within an easy distance of Zone 1 and trendy Shoreditch, proving the area is ideal for cash-strapped millennials.
‘All of the top five boroughs featured in our report are experiencing significant investment and regeneration, so while prices are affordable now, they may not stay that way for long. For millennials who want to enjoy the same type of value appreciation and neighbourhood improvement that many of their parents’ generation enjoyed, these areas are some of the last locations in London that can offer a similar experience.’
So what are these areas really like to live in? Here’s a handy round-up of the pros and cons for each of these top hot spots:
1. Redbridge – Best for culture vultures
Rent in a four-bed home: £490 pp/m
Average two-bed house price: £314,997
Average age: 34
– It’s bidding to be the next London Borough of Culture in 2018, which should give the area a huge boost if the council suceeds.
– Redbridge is one of the most affordable London boroughs with an average rent of £490 a person per month for a four-bed.
– The 2012 Olympics had a massive impact on the areas of Ilford, Wanstead and Woodford, all of which have benefited from regeneration and a 20% increase in house prices over the last five years (but they’re still affordable).
– There’s a bit of a housing shortage so you’ll face some tough competition, plus the greenbelt land is at risk of being developed if this isn’t resolved.
– Unemployment is higher than average at 11.8% compared to 6.8% for London as a whole – weirdly, female employment in the area is significantly low at 57.3%, compared to the London average of 65%.
2. Croydon – Best for young families
Rent in a four-bed home: £492.50 pp/m
Average two-bed house price: £352,157
Average age: 36
– There are a healthy number of startups in the area, which will suit entrepreneurial types who don’t fancy the commute into the centre of town.
– It’s definitely having a revival as a trendy hotspot with the opening of Box Park and local brewery Cronx (ex-locals David Bowie and Kate Moss would be proud).
– The Croydon Growth Zone regeneration project means a big boost for transport links – it’s a £500 million scheme in partnership with Transport for London and there are plans to pedestrianise part of the high street, so it’s a good place to be for savvy investors looking to get a return on their first buy.
– This is a good spot for young families as the borough is planning to offer a school place to every child, with three new free schools being developed.
– Understandably, there’s a bit of tension between long-standing locals and the newcomers – as house prices rise, more people are being pushed out, leading to increasingly unstable communities.
3. Newham – Best for a neighbourhood vibe
Rent in a four-bed home: £458.75 pp/m
Average two-bed house price: £310,092
Average age: 31
– For those who want a diverse and welcoming multicultural community, East Ham, with its lively artisan and creative scene, is up your street.
– This previously overlooked area incorporating Canning Town, East Ham, West Ham and Manor Park really is one of the best places to buy if you’re happy to wait for the regeneration projects to take off – East Ham is for those looking to play the long game.
– It’s pretty too, with charming Victorian houses, tree-lined streets and no less than eight parks to choose from.
– East Ham is home to a number of primary schools that have been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, so good for families.
– The borough still suffers from high levels of crime, poverty and unemployment, plus it also has one of the worst levels of problem debt in the capital.
– Newham has also lost a lot of its core grant funding, which means less money for education and social care and housing.
4. Barking & Dagenham – Best for first-time buyers
Rent in a four-bed home: £462 pp/m
Average two-bed house price: £292,611
Average age: 32
– A year ago, this borough was considered one of the most attractive investment areas in London according to the Land Registry and the Office for National Statistics.
– It’s ideal for city workers, offering a very good commute into Canary Wharf and the finance quarter.
– There are plans for 50,000 new homes over the next 20 years and there’s plenty of development already under way.
– The council has promised to safeguard its existing community with regeneration work benefiting the social housing shortage and providing more commercial opportunities.
– There are already plans in place to extend the London Overground to Barking Riverside in 2018, so millennials moving to the area will be even better connected.
– Sadiq Khan has backed the council’s plans to invest in a new film studio, which should contribute £35m to the local economy.
– It’s not all rosy – it’s been labelled as one of the ‘worst places to live in the UK’ in a survey for resident happiness.
– There’s a severe housing shortage in the borough at present, which has driven up rents in the area.
– There’s been a recent rise in unemployment as two major manufacturers have closed in the area: Ford and Sanofi.
5. Tower Hamlets – Best for hipsters, foodies and festivals
Rent in a four-bed home: £629.50 pp/m
Average two-bed house price: £507,636
Average age: 30
– There’s a good startup community in the area and it’s also one of the best places for above-average weekly earnings.
– It’s one of the most wide-ranging and ethnically diverse boroughs, which incorporates Canary Wharf, Aldgate and the newly desirable area of Poplar.
– It’s full of trendy areas such as Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Brick Lane and Spitalfields, boasting a huge range of foodie hangouts from artisan restaurants to ethnic stalls, vintage markets and a cool art scene.
– It’s great during summer for festivals, with Victoria Park on your doorstep – it’s one of the biggest parks in the capital and has played host to numerous gigs including the Field Day and Lovebox festivals.
– You’re paying a premium for being hot on the heels of the likes of Shoreditch and Hackney – house prices and rents are considerably higher here compared to the other four hotspots.
– It’s still one of the most economically deprived boroughs in London, with many locals being driven out due to recent gentrification.