ACCORDING to 2009 statistics from the Office of National Statistics General Household Survey, the number of single women has more than doubled over the past three decades.
Singleness is on the rise and London is increasingly being divided into two camps: buzzy, occasionally gritty singleton hotspots stuffed to the rafters with bars – and family areas, where the pram (not the drunken ramble home) rules.
Still, with prices sky-rocketing all over central London and the din of your smug married friends making it feel like a maisonette in Putney or Wandsworth are the only options worth aspiring to, we thought it worth glancing at the city’s best options for single buyers.
Islington continues to attract the well-off singleton – often, according to Nik Stylianou, of Chesterton Humberts’ Islington office, funded by the bank of mum and dad. It’s no secret that Upper Street and the other areas between Angel and Highbury are heaving with nightspots, boutiques and restaurants. But with prices at a high, “Islington” is expanding outwards, with the area east of Cannonbury stretching towards Dalston – de Beauvoir in particular – attracting the single person’s pound. Improved transport links – with revamped routes straight to the City – help, as do a preponderance of gastro-pubs. The Alma, the Talbot, the Marquess Tavern, the Wellington and the House are all favourites among a young, hip crowd in this area.
Balham has also come of age as a singleton’s hotspot – replacing the now-expensive (and family-happy) Clapham. Toby Turnage, of Douglas & Gordon in Balham, says his office is being inundated with requests for one-bedroom flats.
“You’re still getting a bit more for your money down here – which is important if you’re not raising a deposit with anyone else,” he says. There are family-oriented pockets here but off Balham High Road, the good-timers rule.
Soho is the biggest story in the rise of the singleton – simply because many former offices have now been acquired by developers and turned into flats for sale. A decade ago, only the most hardened gritty city types would have contemplated living in Soho – now, according to Rob Hill, of Soho-based estate agents Greater London Properties, both the pink and straight pound are trickling in. There’s more stock, but massive gentrification of the area (the number of top-flight restaurants and swanky bars to open in Soho the last few years is staggering) have made it more tempting. That said, it’s far less expensive than Mayfair, so offers a perfect location in the heart of Zone One, with options for boozing, partying and eating 24 hours a day.