Stoke Newington, a leafy north London borough untroubled by a connection to the London Underground network, has become a byword for the kind of middle-class urban elite that drives UKIP voters round the bend.
Once dismissed as a undesirable destination, the gentrification of Hackney has seen Stokey’s fortunes turn full-circle, and while it doesn’t yet command the prices of Shoreditch, things are certainly heading that way. It’s benefited in recent years from the overhaul of the Overground’s East London Line, which reopened in 2010, and further improvements to the National Rail network.
The area has a reputation for being a hotspot for young creative types, with the average age just 33 and local businesses including an indie knitting shop (you may say twee, I say charming). In a telling coffee shop to charity shop ratio, Stokey is 7:1 in favour of the black stuff, with the number of betting shops falling, according to Hamptons International. House prices have risen meteorically; the average in 2000 was £164,000 – the same home today would cost more than £630,000, with a 93 per cent gain since 2007.
David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International says: “While Stoke Newington has benefited from the emergence of east London, it’s only been in the last decade it has become firmly established as one of London’s sought after villages. Victorian Villas, rare outside Hackney, are a big draw to families. Smaller three bed Victorian terraces that can be seen in many London streets change hands for around the £1m mark, a figure which is still well below the zone two average.”
Jamie Burnhope, buying consultant at Black Brick, says: “Stoke Newington is popular with families who are looking to upsize from nearby locations, such as Islington and De Beauvoir, at a slightly more affordable price. The most popular roads are those around Church Street and these still represent good value compared to similar areas like Victoria Park Village. Clissold Park and the variety of independent shops contribute to a suburban lifestyle, despite being so close to the City.
“One downside of Stoke Newington is the limited transport links; this tends to mean that it attracts people who work locally and can cycle or take a bus to work. The area attracts those in a creative profession, with the high end furniture boutiques of Clerkenwell, and media companies of Farringdon being within an easy cycle. For the same reason, residents’ social lives largely exist in the nearby areas of Clerkenwell, Shoreditch, and Hackney and so transport isn’t an issue.”
The area also boasts the 55 acre Clissold Park, which has herds of deer, lakes and sporting facilities including tennis courts.
If you’re considering a move there, one option is the upcoming Woodberry Down project by Genesis Housing Association and Berkeley Homes, which will provide 4,600 homes.
When you move in, you’ll be neighbours with comedian Stewart Lee, who occasionally does stand-up in local venues. Previous tenants include Edgar Allen Poe, who went to school there, and Harold Pinter, who lived in Hackney all of his life.
Stoke Newington – or Stokey to its mates – doesn’t have a reputation for being an enclave of middle-class creative types for nothing. It’s home to such local businesses as Knit With Attitude!, an indie knitting shop that specialises in ethical and eco-friendly yarn (name suggestion for a spin off : Knitting it to the Man). If you like a shot of caffeine with your dose of twee, try The Haberdashery, a restaurant and coffee-shop that boasts about serving its food on mismatched dishes like it’s still 2010. To keep you sustained through a mammoth arts and crafts session, there’s The Good Egg, a former pop-up selling delicious all day breakfasts, burgers and loads of nice veggie food. For a more boozy vibe, there’s Stokey Bears, an American diner with a speakeasy cocktail-bar from the team behind Hoxton's Happiness Forgets in the basement. One local business that’s been in Stokey since long before it was cool is the Stoke Newington Bookshop, established in 1987.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 36 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 21 mins
Nearest train station: Stoke Newington