For cool, affordable city living, go east

Timothy Barber
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THE City may have a reputation for huge pay packets, but when you’re starting out the story’s somewhat different – most will begin their careers earning under £30,000. That makes getting onto the property market fiendishly difficult in a downturn. However, there are affordable options out there, especially in East London, the City’s nearest commuting zone. While the recession managed to put the brakes on many urban renewal schemes, the regeneration of London’s eastern zone has continued, driven by both the 2012 Olympics and the Thames Gateway project. The soon-to-open East London line and, in the longer term, Crossrail, will also be opening up what was once an inaccessible, neglected part of the capital.

The good news is that buying an affordable East London property doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a bit of style. There are a large number new developments, ranging from conversions of old industrial buildings to smartly-designed, new residential blocks, that reflect the best elements of cool modern living.

If you aren’t able to stump up the cash to buy outright but still want to get yourself into the property market, East London also has plenty of opportunities for buying into shared ownership schemes. That means if you’re earning between £20,000 and £60,000 you can enter into a part-buy/part-rent scheme in which you purchase a percentage of the property, taking out a mortgage on the share you buy and paying rent on the remainder to the housing association that owns it.

Once you’re set up in your groovy urban pad, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of living in the fastest-changing area of London.

It might once have seemed improbable, but Dalston has become one of East London's most vibrant and fashionable areas in the past few years, with a local scene including the Arcola theatre, the Ridley Road street market and a vast array of pop-up club nights. This new development on Arcola Street has 16 one and two-bedroom apartments available on a shared ownership basis.

From £94,000 for a 40 per cent share (minimum income £31,883 for a single person, £36,387 for a couple).

Call One Housing Group on 0800 2346 242 or visit

A stylish development in the Tower Hamlets area, surrounded by green space and a short journey into both the City and Canary Wharf. There are views over a churchyard and public gardens. There are one and two-bedroom apartments available, as well as a four-bedroom townhouse.

Apartments from £275,000, townhouse £439,000. Call Keatons on
020 8981 7788 or visit

Just 15 minutes Underground journey from the City, Barking is benefiting from both the Olympic project and the Thames Gateway regeneration further east. Mayesbrook Manor is a splendid 1930s art deco building that once housed the Barking campus of the University of East London, and has now been converted into 106 one, two and three-bedroom apartments. There are high ceilings, internal lifts and designer features, while many original features have been retained.

From £139,995 for a one-bedroom apartment. Call 0845 638 5013 or visit

Neighbouring the Docklands area, Canning Town is in a perfect spot for City or Canary Wharf workers, and is in the midst of a £1.7bn regeneration project. The last available section of the area's major Palette housing development, Aqua Apartments on Crediton Road consist of one-bedroom units available on a shared ownership basis. They’re smart pads with contemporary design features.

From £75,000 for 50 per cent share (minimum household income £28,000).

Contact L&Q Group on 020 7473 6035 or visit