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First Time Buyer - Budget Areas In London

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Hi all

I'm hoping for some advice on areas to consider buying in in London. A bit about me, and my criteria:

- looking for a property under £250,000 (stamp duty and affordability purposes)

- preferably with two bedrooms

- zone 2/3 - hopefully close enough to cycle to work

- I currently work in the city and am in my mid-twenties

- planning on living here for at least the next 5 years, if not more

Areas I am considering, from general searches on property websites:

- Bethnal Green (and nearby East London spots)

- Brixton

- Stockwell

- Camberwell

- Peckham

- Walthamstow (though perhaps not young enough for me?)

If anyone has any other ideas, or can seriously recommend / warn me off the above, I'd be very grateful n.b. I grew up in North London and don't know any of the above that well.

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Hi all

I'm hoping for some advice on areas to consider buying in in London. A bit about me, and my criteria:

- looking for a property under £250,000 (stamp duty and affordability purposes)

- preferably with two bedrooms

- zone 2/3 - hopefully close enough to cycle to work

- I currently work in the city and am in my mid-twenties

- planning on living here for at least the next 5 years, if not more

Areas I am considering, from general searches on property websites:

- Bethnal Green (and nearby East London spots)

- Brixton

- Stockwell

- Camberwell

- Peckham

- Walthamstow (though perhaps not young enough for me?)

If anyone has any other ideas, or can seriously recommend / warn me off the above, I'd be very grateful n.b. I grew up in North London and don't know any of the above that well.

Well, for £250k unless you are prepared to live in a grim ex-council property, you can forget the first three areas on your list. If your looking for convenience for the City, with that budget I'd be looking along eastwards along the Central Line or the DLR for something commutable, affordable and habitable.

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For an easy commute into the city, try an ex-council flat in the East End. For a while it will be fun, although eventually the realisation that you have every urban-hell cliche on your doorstep will get to you a bit.

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Would house sharing work out cheaper for the next 5 years? If so then the money you save could buy you a more suitable proper elsewhere.

When you say housesharing, do you mean renting with others or buying with others?

In terms of renting, I don't think that I'd be in a much better position in 5 years' time. Average rent is so high in London that I wouldn't be saving that much, whereas on my current salary and with my deposit, I could get a mortgage for around the same price as rent, and then additionally get a lodger in (if I get a two bed), meaning my spend on accomodation would be significantly lower. If I did just rent for 5 years, house prices would probably rise in that time anyway - so I wouldn't be saving that much more, and what I did save may not count when it comes to buying.

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Thanks both.

What do you think the upsides are of renting in the East End, compared to finding somewhere in, say, East Finchley? Looks like there decent and reasonably priced properties there. I know the area would be safer, though would it be further out (depending how far East I'd end up going), and less suited to someone my age?

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You could probably find somewhere alright in Streatham (not ex-council) for that kind of money.

A friend bought a reasonable new-ish build 2 bed flat very close to Streatham station this time last year for £216k.

Some of the roads towards Tooting Bec common are quite nice, but get more expensive the closer you get to Tooting and Balham.

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Thanks both.

What do you think the upsides are of renting in the East End, compared to finding somewhere in, say, East Finchley? Looks like there decent and reasonably priced properties there. I know the area would be safer, though would it be further out (depending how far East I'd end up going), and less suited to someone my age?

Only you can say that. I know people who were quite happy living in Guildford throughout their 20s and went out a lot both locally and in London, but it wouldn't suit everyone. On the other side of the coin, I know plenty of older people who still won't accept there is anything to do outside of zone 1/2.

Like anywhere, the East End is an acquired taste, so I'd definitely rent there for a while before committing to buying.

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I live in Leytonstone. Great place and getting better all the time. You might get lucky with an ex-council flat in Bethnal Green - but Leytonstone is full of people priced out of there (and Hackney), ourselves included.

You could probably still find a house with garden for 250K in Lstone - although prices have gone a bit bonkers in the last few months. I would imagine the best areas of Upper Leytonstone and Bushwood might have flats for that budget, but South Leytonstone is worth a look for houses, round Cann Hall Road (stay on the Waltham Forest side though - the Newham side is as scruffy as you like).

Leyton just down the road has traditionally been slightly cheaper. It was very grim but is showing definite signs of improvement. Groovy new pub opening in what was part of the town hall and a new dim sum place has been getting some food writers in a froth.

If you want to take a punt on the future, have a look at Forest Gate around the Woodgrange Estate. It's getting Crossrail which is unlikely to do Forest Gate (or South Leytonstone) anything but good, but it's a few years away.

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I don't live in Leytonstone but agree with barberossa. It's the best affordable area in London and is getting better by the day, a lot of people working in the city/canary wharf are buying here as it's easy to get to work. Although Leyton is cheaper, I think it's much better in Leytonstone. East Finchley is ok but you won't be able to cycle into work and you'll also need to travel to either Muswell Hill or Highgate for decent pubs, cafes, restaurants etc. I like Peckham Rye too but overall think Leytonstone is your best option.

Also I wouldn't bother with ex-council in any area within London.

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Hi all

I'm hoping for some advice on areas to consider buying in in London. A bit about me, and my criteria:

- looking for a property under £250,000 (stamp duty and affordability purposes)

- preferably with two bedrooms

- zone 2/3 - hopefully close enough to cycle to work

- I currently work in the city and am in my mid-twenties

- planning on living here for at least the next 5 years, if not more

Areas I am considering, from general searches on property websites:

- Bethnal Green (and nearby East London spots)

- Brixton

- Stockwell

- Camberwell

- Peckham

- Walthamstow (though perhaps not young enough for me?)

If anyone has any other ideas, or can seriously recommend / warn me off the above, I'd be very grateful n.b. I grew up in North London and don't know any of the above that well.

If you don't mind ex-council hi-rise, you can pick something up around the Canada Water area for well under your budget.. For example this 2 bed with great views of London is on at what seems a reasonable 185k. Though of course given most ex-Council 2 beds fetch 250k and most non-ex-Council flats cost about 400k, you'll have to look closely yourself to see if there's any problems with this flat itself...

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-40520468.html

I used to live around the area and it's a quick commute on the tube (about 15 mins to city and 5 mins Canary Wharf), Cycling to the city took about 15 mins.

Edit: Just seen the catch... You need to have saved up the entire 185k in cash, assuming that no credit it available :blink: ... (And possibly some big reason why the banks won't lend against it).

Then you're stuck with things like this at 250k:-

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-27746274.html

or this at 200k:-

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-42064232.html

Edited by jcpricewatcher

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Hi all

I'm hoping for some advice on areas to consider buying in in London. A bit about me, and my criteria:

- looking for a property under £250,000 (stamp duty and affordability purposes)

- preferably with two bedrooms

- zone 2/3 - hopefully close enough to cycle to work

- I currently work in the city and am in my mid-twenties

- planning on living here for at least the next 5 years, if not more

Areas I am considering, from general searches on property websites:

- Bethnal Green (and nearby East London spots)

- Brixton

- Stockwell

- Camberwell

- Peckham

- Walthamstow (though perhaps not young enough for me?)

If anyone has any other ideas, or can seriously recommend / warn me off the above, I'd be very grateful n.b. I grew up in North London and don't know any of the above that well.

Have you checked out Woolwich? There is a new-build development at the Royal Arsenal where you can get a 1-bed flat by the river for around £200K or a 2-bed for around £250K. If you go on the other side of Woolwich, which is older, 2-3 bed houses can be found for around £200K too. The town centre has gone through lots of improvements recently, with the largest Tesco store in the UK, railway, DLR, and soon to come Crossrail.

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I live in Leytonstone. Great place and getting better all the time. You might get lucky with an ex-council flat in Bethnal Green - but Leytonstone is full of people priced out of there (and Hackney), ourselves included.

You could probably still find a house with garden for 250K in Lstone - although prices have gone a bit bonkers in the last few months. I would imagine the best areas of Upper Leytonstone and Bushwood might have flats for that budget, but South Leytonstone is worth a look for houses, round Cann Hall Road (stay on the Waltham Forest side though - the Newham side is as scruffy as you like).

Leyton just down the road has traditionally been slightly cheaper. It was very grim but is showing definite signs of improvement. Groovy new pub opening in what was part of the town hall and a new dim sum place has been getting some food writers in a froth.

If you want to take a punt on the future, have a look at Forest Gate around the Woodgrange Estate. It's getting Crossrail which is unlikely to do Forest Gate (or South Leytonstone) anything but good, but it's a few years away.

Hi - thanks for your post - just noticed it. I went to have a look at Leytonstone this evening. Looks really good to be honest - not at all what I expected. Any general advice? What do you think of Upper Leytonstone and how would you map the area? It seemed a lot less upmarket than the Bushwood area to me (more upwards mobility)?

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East Finchley is ok but you won't be able to cycle into work and you'll also need to travel to either Muswell Hill or Highgate for decent pubs, cafes, restaurants etc. I like Peckham Rye too but overall think Leytonstone is your best option.

Also I wouldn't bother with ex-council in any area within London.

Don't know what you're talking about re East Finchley, I lived in Highgate for 3 years and Finchley Central for 3 years (still do) and visit East Finchley regularly as it has a lot of very nice pubs & restaurants (including the excellent Cochin), a better selection than Highgate for certain. I often head there for lunch at the The Old White Lion just behind the station.

As to cycling I've personally been cycling in London for 10 years now (averaging about 70 miles a week) and when I lived in Highgate it took me 31 mins on average to get to Southwark Street in SE1 and it currently takes me 43 mins on average from Finchley Central to Victoria so you could easily get to the City in 30-40 minutes form East Finchley depending on where exactly in the City your work is.

A friend lives in Leytonstone and it's ok (though very green at all compared to Finchley areas) but not if you plan on kids.

Bow is where I first lived in London and you could easily run to work in the City in 30 mins or less (I did) though it is a bit gritty. Bow Quarter is one of the nicer enclaves but again don't even think about it if you plan on kids.

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Aj, Upper Leytonstone is fine. Quiet and residential. Parts are a fair walk from the tube though, some very nice properties on well kept streets.

Ourkid - baffled why you think Leytonstone unsuitable if you've got kids? It's stuffed with families. The relative affordability of three-bed houses might be a factor.

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Not sure why you focus on Bethnal Green in particular for East London. Fair enough, it's next to Hipster Central i.e. Shoreditch and it has itself become a bit of a place where creatives congregate (and then the non-creative wannabe hipsters tag along).

There are plenty of "nicer" and safer and possibly more reasonably prices places in E1 with a location that is just as convenient and central.

Places like Whitechapel, Shadwell and Stepney Green that people would not have considered previously are starting to be in demand. Sure there's not much of a "scene" for rich middle-class hipster kids but there are decent areas where if you look close enough.

I've lived in a part of Whitechapel for almost 10 years and it was initially a place where young City professionals would simply walk down one road to their place of residence and leave the same way and not venture anywhere else. Since then, more restaurants have opened, fancy cafés have appeared and the choice of small supermarkets has exploded. It's not quite the place where all these kids want to hang out. Most of them, once they've finished their internship/grad programme disappear and there's quite a lot of churn of such people, but it has definitely transformed.

I'm just stating this to make sure you're not considering Bethnal Green just because it's the only (central) East London district that some friend told you about. When speaking to people who live in West London, the conversation usually goes something like this:

- Oh you live in East London? That's a bit far from the centre

- No actually I live in Zone 1. We're currently in Zone 3 here in West London

- It's a bit desolate though right?

- Well I live next to Shoreditch/Old St/Brick Lane (take your pick)

- That's East London? Oh I've been out a few times there but those are the only places I would ever venture to in East London.

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Have you checked out Woolwich? There is a new-build development at the Royal Arsenal where you can get a 1-bed flat by the river for around £200K or a 2-bed for around £250K. If you go on the other side of Woolwich, which is older, 2-3 bed houses can be found for around £200K too. The town centre has gone through lots of improvements recently, with the largest Tesco store in the UK, railway, DLR, and soon to come Crossrail.

I second this. A lot of people won't automatically think of a place like this because it's on the DLR (which a surprising number of Londoners have never used)

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Woolwich: there's something about those areas of London that don't really appeal to me. I'm used to somewhere that is quite busy and feels like a community, and I always got the impression (and when visiting friends living in places like Woolwich Arsenal and Canada Water), that the areas are very quiet on the weekend, and that people keep to themselves?

Bethnal Green: I am considering other areas in the East like Shadwell, Whitechapel, Bow etc too - like you say, I'd considered BG first because it had been recommended to me by people living there.

Does anyone have an opinion on Streatham or West Norwood? On my searches around the Brixton area these are coming up very cheap, though I'm not sure if that's because they should be avoided (?!)

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I'm just stating this to make sure you're not considering Bethnal Green just because it's the only (central) East London district that some friend told you about. When speaking to people who live in West London, the conversation usually goes something like this:

- Oh you live in East London? That's a bit far from the centre

- No actually I live in Zone 1. We're currently in Zone 3 here in West London

- It's a bit desolate though right?

- Well I live next to Shoreditch/Old St/Brick Lane (take your pick)

- That's East London? Oh I've been out a few times there but those are the only places I would ever venture to in East London.

Yes - the superior west London attitude (£400k for a shoe box) is quite comical. I have lived in east London most of my life - and I consider Shoreditch to be the City and not really 'east' London at all. Its like saying Knightsbridge is west London.

There are some nice areas of east London - try Wanstead and South Woodford (E11 and E18) for example. Neither are cheap - but there are plenty of affordable flats on offer. Leytonstone is fine too. They all have excellent tube links - the city in less than 15 mins on the central line. South Woodford even has a Waitrose.

If you are looking for more budget areas then why not somewhere near a Crossrail station - perhaps the Aldersbrook/Wanstead flats area near Manor Park but technically Wanstead. Or head into Redbridge on zone 4 - tolerable enough but with decent schools including grammars.

Depends if you want edgy or quieter?

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To the OP: I can't comment on East London, I'm more of a Westerner, but my only advice, from experience, is if you don't need 2 bedrooms, then use your budget to get the best location you can, and if that means having just 1 bedroom, trust me, in the long run you'll be happier. It will also open up a lot more area's and properties in London to you. Also, the idea of "just getting a lodger" might seem idyllic, but once you have your own place, and then suddenly some stranger is leaving their cr*p everywhere and there's people you don't know in your living room all night, you'll be craving your space back. It's very different renting and flat sharing, to having your own place and renting out to a sharer. Good luck.

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Been a long time lurker but only just signed up, I noticed the heads up for Woolwich Arsenal area in this thread, is this area considered ok now after everything that have happened there earlier in the year?

Other area I was looking at was Isle of Dogs but only offputting about that area is transport links as its only really served by DLR

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Been a long time lurker but only just signed up, I noticed the heads up for Woolwich Arsenal area in this thread, is this area considered ok now after everything that have happened there earlier in the year?

Other area I was looking at was Isle of Dogs but only offputting about that area is transport links as its only really served by DLR

Isle of Dogs is very, very well connected, which is why my partner and I are looking down towards Island Gardens and up to around Poplar/Westferry. From Island Gardens you can be at London Bridge in under 20 minutes, Canary Wharf in under 10 minutes, Bank in 20 minutes, Bond St in 30 minutes and Stratford in 25 minutes. Not to mention Greenwich High St in a grand total of 2 minutes! Unless you're going to West London you can be almost anywhere in no more than 30 minutes. I personally think it's one of the best connected parts of London (unless you're a driver who regularly uses the A40/A4 etc. Then you're kind of stuffed :P)

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Isle of Dogs is very, very well connected, which is why my partner and I are looking down towards Island Gardens and up to around Poplar/Westferry. From Island Gardens you can be at London Bridge in under 20 minutes, Canary Wharf in under 10 minutes, Bank in 20 minutes, Bond St in 30 minutes and Stratford in 25 minutes. Not to mention Greenwich High St in a grand total of 2 minutes! Unless you're going to West London you can be almost anywhere in no more than 30 minutes. I personally think it's one of the best connected parts of London (unless you're a driver who regularly uses the A40/A4 etc. Then you're kind of stuffed :P)

In the case of the Isle of Dogs, proximity to Canary Wharf would be a big thing. If you can walk to CW even better.

Sure, for the whole of the Isle of Dogs, you can get to a DLR station quickly enough and either change at Canary Wharf or Bank but it does involve quite a lot of changing.

Even the Jubilee Line cuts through the West End rather than crossing London so if you don't mind endless tube changes, you can indeed get to anywhere in London fairly quickly.

Then again, most people are far more tolerant to public transport and changes than I am...

The N550 and 551 night buses are pretty handy too i.e. you can get to/from Trafalgar Square very quickly especially at the weekend as most of the City is completely dead.

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The N550 and 551 night buses are pretty handy too i.e. you can get to/from Trafalgar Square very quickly especially at the weekend as most of the City is completely dead.

What are the night buses like out of curiosity? I remember when I lived in Leyton the Night buses were every 15/20 minutes but took the best part of an hour to get back...

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