Perhaps even more than Shoreditch, Dalston has become the epitome of east London’s swift transformation from working class to warehouse chic.
“Over the last ten years, Dalston has undergone a wave of regeneration,” says Richie Tramontana, director of agent Red Property Partnership. “It’s brought in new homes, two Overground stations, community gardens, fringe theatres, restaurants and a great mix of late-night bars, making it a thriving and trendy area that’s now home to a diverse mix of people.”
He points to established arts venues like the Arcola Theatre and Cate OTO, Dalston Superstore and Alibi, as well as new bars like Three Sheets, Untitled and Map Maison, for keeping the area buzzing.
As soon as young professionals and creatives started to be priced out of Shoreditch, they moved north into Dalston and a hipster village was born. Hamptons International data shows that 81 per cent of the high street is made up of independent retailers, with estate agents being the most likely business to open up.
Foxtons’ Hackney sales manager Chris Manderson says it’s really the diverse, former industrial housing stock that draws the artists to this manor. “It benefits from a selection of warehouse, school and hospital conversions that appeal to buyers who are more attracted to unique spaces and features that these buildings offer – mezzanine levels, high ceilings and larger than normal windows provide spacious and bright residences.”
A number of new build developments have proliferated over the past seven years, emulating their cool surroundings, from exposed brickwork to restored crittall windows. These have undoubtedly pushed up local house prices, with 20 per cent of sales last year from the new build sector.
“Prices along Dalston remain strong but stable, with the numerous blocks along Dalston Lane and Dalston High Street selling well,” says Martin Phillips from Fyfe McDade’s Shoreditch office. “Most properties average between £800-£850sqft, yet some smaller one and two beds are now pushing well beyond £900sqft due to their impressive location and spec.” According to Hamptons, you could snap up a place in Dalston for just over £250,000 in 2004, but the average house price now is around £517,000.
It’s so well-to-do, it’s even shedding its shabby chic rep; where once, young couples looking to have a family would move to Walthamstow, improving schools are persuading them to stay. Only 16 per cent of sales went to first-time buyers last year, with many investors looking to the prospect of Crossrail 2 improving access to central London.
“It’s now home to families seeking a village feel within proximity to the city,” says David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International. “With the average home costing over £500,000, unless your pocket is deep, some streets such as the beautiful Lavender Grove will already be out of reach.”
The Arcola Theatre on Arcola Street is one of the leading off West End theatres. It stages plays, operas and musicals and it’s currently showing The Plague, an updated version of the Albert Camus classic. For an authentic slice of Dalston nightlife, head to Dalston Superstore or Alibi, achingly cool basement bars, and the latter does film screenings and karoke too. Then grab a slice at pizzeria Voodoo Rays or pop into local Middle Eastern favourite Le Ziz for a kebab in a natural wood-furnished setting. For a calmer night out, perhaps the Dalston Jazz Bar is more your bag, and it’s easily spotted with its vintage transport signs. It’s on Bradbury Street and specialises in exotic meats serving up kangaroo, horse, crocodile, frogs’ legs and white shark to a soundtrack of live jazz. As the summer approaches, anticipation grows for the re-opening of Dalston Roof Park. Feeding off the success of the roof at Queen of Hoxton and Frank’s in Peckham, this is Dalston’s only rooftop venue with a stellar line up of DJs.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 28 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 17 mins
Nearest train station: Dalston Kingsland
Best roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive: Lavender Grove: £1,208,438
Best Value: Marcon Place: £300,161
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