Things You Should Know Before Choosing Where to Live in London
Choosing a new area to live in London can be difficult. There are numerous options available, various factors to consider from crime rates to transport links, schools, and medical facilities. Plus, there is always the question of the area’s resale value in case you have to move once again.
Asking the right questions and doing your research can save you a lot of hassle. From being unhappy with your choice to investing in a property that will lose its value over time, these are all things you can avoid. The answer to how to choose the best area to live in London is only a few questions away.
What Type of Neighbourhood Are You Looking For?
The first question you should be asking yourself is “What type of area do you want to live in?” This will help you narrow down your options and focus on London neighbourhoods that tick your area type wish-list. You should take into account:
- Do you prefer a suburban area or a vibrant city centre?
- Do you prefer more social forms of entertainment like pubs and restaurants? Or lush green areas with sports pitches and outdoor activities?
- How often do you shop and what type of shopping do you prefer? Large chain stores or independent local shops?
- Do you prefer to walk or bike to work? Are you willing to accept a commute?
- How long do you want your commute to be?
This is, of course, only a shortlist to help get you started on what London areas could suit your needs. It’s up to you to ask yourself other questions you feel can help you make a decision.
How Are the Transport Connections?
Assuming that the questions above have led you to focus on a few London areas you would like to live in, you should go on to researching more about each of them. Especially in terms of transport connections.
How well an area is linked to the City Centre or your place of employment, your family, or your friends will greatly impact your social life. It will also impact the price you will be paying for a property in that area and how much potential for growth the area has. So, you should definitely not leave this matter to chance.
There are several London areas that offer better transport connections than others.
Neighbourhoods such as Stratford, Forest Gate, Ilford, Seven Kings, and Romford already have great transport links and also have Crossrail stations planned. This translates into great access to all major London areas and short commute times everyone will appreciate. They also have more affordable properties since they are further from the centre.
Areas that are already popular with London residents for their accessibility, like Dagenham, Beckton, Barking, or Canning Town will also offer good value for money but property prices here will be higher due to increased market demand.
Transport-wise, you should also ask and research the following questions:
- How crowded are the public transport routes?
- How easily is the area reachable by car?
- What transport fares can you expect?
- Are there any new public transport investments underway or announced?
- How far from the public transport stations would you like the property you choose to be?
The further out of the city centre you will go, the more you’ll be paying on fares and the less you’ll be paying for a property. In the end, it’s all about finding the right balance for you.
What About Schools, Medical Facilities, Crime Rate?
The other important aspects to consider when choosing an area to live in London are access to good amenities and a low crime rate.
If you already have children or plan to have them soon, you will need an area with well-ranked schools. Where a property is located will dictate what schools you will be able to choose from. School boundaries are also subject to change. So, always do your homework on this topic before making a final decision. You can find information on school rankings for different London areas on the Ofstead website.
Easily accessible medical facilities should also be on your important amenities list. Smaller medical centres are widely available in all London areas. However, larger hospitals with a wide range of specialized medical services are concentrated in a few London hotspots. For instance, Bow, Bromley-by-Bow, and Mile End are areas that benefit from close proximity to three major hospitals: Mile End Hospital, the BMI Independent Hospital, and the Royal London Hospital.
As for crime rates, you can use the police.uk website’s interactive map to find out how different areas compare.
What Is the Area’s Property Market Like?
When buying a property, you also need to consider its resale value. Apart from the home’s particular characteristics, the area’s property market will also dictate how much you can expect your new home’s value to grow over time.
You can use the local authority websites to find out if there are any planned projects in the area that you should take into account. The best areas to live in London are the ones that already have local regeneration projects underway.
Areas like Barking which is expected to have 10,000 new homes delivered over the next 5-10 years are undergoing very dynamic developments but still offer good property prices. Buying a property in such an area now can translate into a big return on investment.
Public transport improvements developed by the city or local authorities will also have a very positive long-term impact on the value of your new home. Short-term, they could mean a lot of construction dust and noise and this would affect your ability to sell fast. However, investing in an area with new or upcoming transport improvements means you will be able to pay a very reasonable price for a property until the market prices catch up with the transport improvements.
Spot Up-and-Coming Areas
Choosing to live in an up-and-coming area in London will have more than one benefit. The most important one is how much your property’s resale value will grow over time. It will also help you climb the property ladder by paying less for a property that others will soon be paying extra for in an area that will continue to rise in popularity.
Here is how you can tell which London areas may be on the rise:
- Are there any regeneration plans in progress in the area or in nearby areas?
- How popular are the areas you are researching with younger residents?
- Have property prices in the area been rising steadily for the past few years?
- Are there any announced local authority or private development projects like community centres or shopping centres?
- Are more and more new homes being built in the area?
- Are the neighbouring areas thriving?
- Are new transport links planned or in progress?
- Are there several good schools in the area?
- Are there any major new employment opportunities?