Most people think of London as an unaffordable city when it comes to buying property, especially if they’re a first-time buyer. While it’s true that England’s capital has the highest house prices in the UK, it doesn’t mean that every neighbourhood is too expensive.
There is still value to be had in the capital. Those looking for a home in London needn’t feel like they have to give up the dream and compromise on a move to commuter town in order to get on the property ladder. There are still affordable areas where hopeful homeowners can lay down roots.
So, say goodbye to the idea of lengthy commutes and hello to London living. In this article, we are bringing you the best places to buy in London for first-time buyers. Read on, and see which postcodes you might like to call “home” without breaking the bank.
Best Places to Buy in London for First-Time Buyers in a Snapshot
- Barking and Dagenham
Help to Buy Schemes
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the best places to buy in London for first-time buyers, it’s worth looking at the schemes to help you get on the property ladder… Help to buy is designed to offer incentives and get people the keys to their first home.
The government currently runs several schemes aimed at making it easier to purchase bricks and mortar. Available options range from help-to-buy ISAs, which can boost your savings by up to 25%, to equity loans, which are also available for people who already own a house.
Price Differences Between Flats and Houses
Everyone has their own view of what makes an ideal home. For some it’s a house with outside space; others prefer modern apartments with a view. The majority of first-time buyers opt for flats (especially in London), which are typically cheaper than houses.
However, not all flats are more affordable: pricing contains many factors, including location within the area, year of build, and whether or not the apartment has extras like on-site amenities.
During our research, we selected the most affordable areas that combined average median prices for all property types so that you can get the best idea of affordability, whether it’s a house or flat.
The Best Places to Buy in London for First Time Buyers
According to property portal Zoopla, the average house price in London is £640,600. Such a figure is enough to price most first-time buyers out of the market. Fortunately, there are plenty of sought-after neighbourhoods in the capital where the average price is significantly less than the £600k figure.
7) Bromley, South East London
Located in South East London, Bromley is becoming somewhat of a property hotspot in the capital. Its appeal starts with convenient travel links that take around 25 minutes to get into central London. In fact, there are six train stations in Bromley. Commuting will be the last of your worries.
But it doesn’t stop there: a range of new-build properties and period homes offer a good mix of housing styles, while the high street has a selection of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, including a large shopping centre. It’s one of only four South London towns that has been designated as Metropolitan Centre.
Median property prices in Bromley: £450,000
6) Bexley, South East London
You will find Bexley just eight miles from Bromley. The small South East London town has plenty going for it, with Bexley Village offering charming houses and independent shops. The area is popular for many who prefer quieter living in the capital.
Bexley train station has direct lines to Charing Cross and London Victoria, both of which take around 40-odd minutes. It’s also a short drive from Bluewater, which offers plenty in the way of shopping amenities for residents of Bexley.
Median property prices in Bexley: £412,000
5) Newham, East London
The borough of Newham put itself on the map with the 2012 Olympics and is also well known for UEL, otherwise known as East London University, the Theatre Royal Stratford East and Stratford Circus, a popular arts venue. In 2011, Westfield Shopping Centre, which is one of the largest in Europe, opened in the borough.
Improved travel links and a location that is just a stone’s throw away from London’s financial district, Canary Wharf, makes the borough of Newham a popular choice with young professionals. Towns in the borough include Stratford (£440k), Plaistow (£375k), and West Ham (£400k).
Median property prices in the Borough of Newham: £375,000
4) Redbridge, North London
Redbridge is home to one of the highest proportions of millennials in London. The district of Redbridge will also feature a stop on the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), which will see four stations at Ilford, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, and Seven Kings.
The new travel links mean there will be plenty of investment in building homes in the area, which is known for its excellent schools, green spaces and parks.
Ilford, in particular, is a draw for first-time buyers with median house price averages of £380k. The introduction of the Elizabeth Line in Ilford will mean residents can get to Tottenham Court Road station in a little over 20 minutes.
Median property prices in Redbridge: £375,000
3) Uxbridge, West London
Famously known as the constituency for prime minister Boris Johnson, Uxbridge has much more than its political roots going for it. With a stop on the Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines, residents can enjoy convenient links into the centre of London. The M25, M40 and M4 are also nearby, which gives the area excellent travel links for vehicle owners.
There is a range of houses built from the 1920s onwards: these come in the form of bungalows, cottages and detached homes. Redevelopment of RAF Uxbridge brings with it the St Andrew’s Park development, which adds to the recent spate of new homes constructed in the area.
Median property prices in Uxbridge: £365,000
2) Croydon, South East London
Affectionately nicknamed The Cronx in reference to its likeness to New York neighbourhood The Bronx, Croydon has seen sweeping changes over the years. Famous brutalist architecture buildings like Fairfield Halls remain, but they’re now joined by modern residential developments – most of which feature five-star amenities like concierge services, swimming pools and fitness centres.
Entertainment amenities are high on the agenda in Croydon, with Boxpark 2.0 opening in 2016 and providing pop-up eateries and bars. The area has also been referred to as the tech centre of South London, thanks to the number of emerging tech startups setting up in the CRO postcode.
Median property prices in Croydon: £350,000
1) Barking and Dagenham, East London
A major regeneration project is underway in the borough of Barking and Dagenham, which will see 50,000 new homes constructed in the near future. The area happens to be one of the cheapest in the capital, yet still offers sought-after features such as riverside living.
An increasing number of shiny new high rises are adding to the skyline. However, there is still a large number of period properties from the Victorian and Edwardian era. Recently, a new public square outside the town hall completed, offering a new shopping arcade and library.
Median property prices in Barking and Dagenham: £325,000
Finding the Right First Home
Many people think London has become a playground for the rich, but that’s not the case. First-time homebuyers can still source a good deal and enjoy everything the capital has to offer.
Whether it’s a house or flat to buy in the capital that’s on your agenda, the neighbourhoods on our list should give you a good indication of the cheapest house prices in London and provide an excellent pathway to your first steps on the property ladder.