To many, Islington is peak gentrification. It was at the forefront of the first wave of gentrification sweeping out of central London in the 1980s, which is why it seems so improbable that its neighbour, Finsbury Park, is still playing catch-up.
“Finsbury Park remained resistant to change,” says David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International. “Despite having some of the best preserved Victorian homes in the capital, it wasn’t until the late nineties that spill over from Holloway began creeping up Seven Sisters Road.”
And it’s still stubbornly old school, with mid-Victorian houses and conversion flats dominating the area. While there’s extensive work going on around the station and some smaller new build blocks along Seven Sisters Road, the largest development by far is Woodberry Down, where Berkeley Homes is building 5,500 new homes around a spruced up reservoir recently reopened by Sir David Attenborough. Telford Homes is also building City North, over 300 new homes next to the Tube station, which will run a new Thameslink service to the south coast by 2018.
“Looking ahead, prospects are positive,” says Simon Gerrard, managing director at Martyn Gerrard. “More money is being invested in local infrastructure and housing stock without changing the character of the area.”
For investors and first time buyers, the streets to the south of Seven Sisters Road are a good bet, while the streets to the south of the station bordering Highbury are more sought-after. Yet, these substantial, three storey homes have also attracted a crowd of young professionals, who can split two bed period conversions for under £1,400pcm. “It offers great transport links with a choice of Tube, rail and bus routes, and it’s still edgy enough to pick up a property deal before the gentrifiers start moving in,” says Jim Fryer, lettings director at Dexters’ Tufnell Park office.
The Land Registry puts house price growth at an average of 11.2 per cent year-on-year, with Foxtons valuing the average one bed garden flat between £500,000-£550,000, and family houses between £1.2m-£1.4m.
The mixed demographics means “there’s a nice welcoming atmosphere to the neighbourhood,” says Vikki Broad, Foxtons’ Crouch End manager. “Some areas closer to Finsbury Park are always buzzing, while others have a quiet residential feel to them.”
Finsbury Park itself has 110 acres of green space and sporting facilities, as well as being the home of Wireless Festival. Its enormous beer garden has made the Faltering Fullback a destination pub in the summer and the Old Dairy is another favourite. For a novel way to work out, visit The Castle climbing centre in an old Victorian pumping station, or have a retro time at Rowan’s Tenpin Bowl, where games are only a fiver. Then fuel up again at Jai Krishna a great vegetarian Indian restaurant.
House prices Source: Zoopla
TRANSPORT Source: TfL
Time to King’s Cross 4 mins
Time to Liverpool Street 21 mins
Nearest train station Finsbury Park