London is like many other major world cities that have grown massively outwards for over a century: it offers almost endless possibilities when it comes to suburban living, with new areas regenerated and gentrified with each passing year. The upside is that there are plenty of lovely places to choose from; the downside is that the house prices in these suburbs can rival some of the smarter central areas, pushing them out of reach of many would-be buyers.
However, buying a soon-to-be-regenerated area can mean that you can bag the home of your dreams for a price you can afford. It can take patience and foresight to choose an up-and-coming area which might not seem like much when you move in, but will have become desirable in a matter of a few years. So, if you want to settle in London, but can't afford the areas you like, it may be worth investigating further and buying somewhere that has potential. Here are our top four areas to consider.
1. The East End
The old East End is changing: Hackney has been gentrified (and is now pretty much unaffordable), but Whitechapel and Bethnal Green are still clinging on to their old East End identities.
Inevitably, things are going to change: Whitechapel will have its own Crossrail station soon, and Queen Mary University has a new campus in the pipeline, which will mean more housing and an influx of people that will transform the area. Bethnal Green, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly popular with small entrepreneurs and the art crowd (think both residential and commercial conversions).
The less fashionable cousin of Greenwich, Lewisham is up and coming. Its period housing stock is just as pretty, with lots of new housing planned. The biggest problem in this area used to be its poor transport links, but this is set to change with mayor Sadiq Khan's recent commitment to a £3.6 billion plan to include Lewisham in the planned Bakerloo line extension.
Look up Hounslow, and you'll probably find something about it being the only London borough that still has stamp duty exempt homes (that is, homes under £300,000). There's more to this neglected west London area. For one, it contains lovely Chiswick with its bustling high street. While Chiswick is as expensive as anywhere else that's smart in London, it's a different story in the quiet Brentford, which is currently being regenerated. Quiet and somewhat uneventful, it's close to the river and could well become as trendy as Chiswick in the coming years.
4. South Kilburn
Kilburn is posh, and only less so than the neighbouring Hampstead and Maida Vale. South Kilburn is not so posh, currently sporting brutalist concrete blocks and the railway. This is changing, though, with a £600 million regeneration programme under way, promising new housing and a more coherent layout. This really is one to watch, and if anything, we're surprised this well-located area hasn't been regenerated already.
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