What to pay for a London home

By : Nick Marr

With property prices in Westminster averaging close to the £2m mark, we look at more affordable areas of London to live

It’s a sobering thought that one fifth of London properties currently up for sale carry a list price of £1m or more. This means even those with sizeable funding will still struggle to get a foot on the capital’s property ladder. In fact, less than half of homes available are either at the average figure or below.

Belgravia-based estate agent Best Gapp reports that prime central London has the most expensive properties for sale, with only 6% of homes for sale in the royal borough of Kensington & Chelsea priced at £550,000 or below.

Homes are equally sought after in neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham, where just 7% of properties for sale are priced at £550,000 or below, reports local estate agent Lawsons & Daughters.

It’s more encouraging, however, to see 25% of all homes for sale in ever-popular Islington slot into the average price bracket, but buyers can expect to pay at least £700,000. Here, you’ll discover good schools and services alongside some great parks, restaurants and bars. Those prepared to look in busy Croydon will find an average property price of £320,000, and a thriving part of South London.

You may be pleasantly surprised to see leafy Kingston Upon Thames, with its renown shopping centre, excellent leisure facilities and superb services. Open to ambitious buyers. Here, the average cost of a home is £528,000, with South West London a great place to live for families. With a little leg work it may be possible to find desirable home for even less.

It’s a similar story in glorious Greenwich with average price tags of £524,000. Here, you’ll find a good local university, some popular schools and colleges and lots of green areas.

It’s a similar story in North London with an average property in Enfield setting you back £359,000. This may not be one of the most affluent areas of the capital, but it’s very family orientated. The canal and parks are a big drawing point and there are some good schools, but the catchment areas are small. There are excellent libraries, impressive leisure facilities and terrific transport links into central London. You’ll also find more than 20 new housing developments.

And then there’s good old Harrow with the average price of bricks and mortar here standing at a very reasonable £420,000. Rail links are impressive, it’s fairly peaceful and there’s excellent shopping facilities in the area. You can reach the countryside within half an hour, and there’s an interesting choice of schooling here aside from the most famous name of all.

For the record you’ll need financial backing to the tune of almost £2m for a pad in Westminster and of course prices are highest in Zones one and two. For the cheapest property prices you’ll need to take a look at Barking and Dagenham. With average prices of £289,000, it’s a favourite for first time buyers with central London only 15 minutes away by train. There are lots of new houses and flats here.

There’s little doubt those searching for their perfect home in London with a budget of well under £1m will immediately need to take out more than half of the properties available. But with a little research and some savvy planning, it’s still possible to find the ideal family base.

On the other hand, rent guarantee specialist Assetgrove says many people moving to London spend at least one year renting a property to ensure the area they settle in is right for them.