There was a time when the postcode East 17 was tainted in the popular consciousness by a band of shirtless youths with odd taste in hats. But, thankfully, those days are gone, and it’s been restored to its rightful owner, Walthamstow in north-east London, and it’s one of the fastest-growing, up-and-coming places in the capital.
If you don’t believe me, take it from estate agent Savills, which marked the area out along with Lewisham, and predicted growth of 20 per cent over the next five years. Hamptons International also recorded year-on-year house price rises of 58 per cent since 2007.
It’s also benefiting from two pan-London housing trends; the City’s move eastwards and the push outwards from Londoners fleeing dramatic price rises.
Where surrounding areas like Chingford and Woodford have traditionally been seen as more desirable places to live, Walthamstow hasn’t just caught up, it’s even surpassing them in popularity, according to some estate agents. James Barton, a partner at Knight Frank, says, “Walthamstow has experienced steady but significant price growth over the past two years, with £psqf now achieving circa £650-700 for prime new build residential. This has encouraged a ‘ripple effect’ in neighbouring areas, with Waltham Forest as a whole experiencing positive price growth as a result of increased demand.”
So where is all this heavy demand coming from? Quite a diverse bunch, if Foxtons’ advice is anything to go by. Alastair Cochrane, its local sales manager, says that terraced three bedroom houses in the area typically went to young families moving out of inner boroughs looking for more space for their money. But the recent influx in buy-to-let investment has led to more houses being converted into flats, attracting a young professional crowd. Purpose-built flats that used to form part of the Warner Estate are also popular and unique to E17.
As a result, new build development is on the rise and a number of significant planning permissions have been granted recently. Only last month, plans to turn the former South Grove car park into 473 new homes by Hadley Property Group, with nearly 800 cycle spaces for residents, were approved with a view to completing in 2019.
There are also a number of Shared Ownership homes on the market in the area to help Londoners on smaller budgets onto the property ladder, including at the old, famous Walthamstow Dogs Stadium, which has been renamed Stadium Place by housing association L&Q.
There’s also a major regeneration planned for the Blackhorse Lane area, which has the potential for over 2,000 new homes, new parks, roads and schools.
For now, though, most of the competition centres around Walthamstow Village, a relatively tiny grid of streets – Orford Road being a particular social hotspot – where properties under £800,000 are fought over. “There is somewhat of a micro-climate in Walthamstow,” adds Jamie Burnhope, buying consultant at Black Brick, “with buyers still viewing properties at open houses, something which is rare for London now.”
Walthamstow’s story is still very much a city-wide story about exponential housing growth, especially in outer boroughs.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 40 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 26 mins
Nearest train station: Walthamstow Central
Best Roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive - Priory Avenue - £772,750
Best Value - Yunus Khan Close - £224,250
Wood Street Indoor Market is a great place to seek out vintage goodies, and London’s oldest signmakers, God’s Own Junkyard, is a warehouse packed with neon lights. If you fancy a bite to eat there’s Eat 17, which sources most of its produce locally, La Ruga for Italian food and the gastropub The Nag’s Head. If wine’s your poison In Vino Veritas is a great wine shop/bar, and if you’re looking for some accompanying cheese try Froth & Rind. For those sage arts & crafts lovers there’s The William Morris Gallery, which has been recently refurbished, full of this local celebrity’s inspirational prints and designs.