Go old school:where London first-time buyers should look for a good value period property
An older home can be a brilliant buy for younger entrants to the housing market.
Period homes offer the best value for money you will find; DIY can be deeply satisfying when you really are doing it for yourself and there’s no substitute for an elegant sash window, a lovely old fireplace or a proper bit of garden rather than a balcony.
London’s rich history means there is a huge choice of locations to start looking for that Victorian cottage or fabulous Art Deco flat.
With a tight first-time-buyer budget in mind, these two locations are well worth exploring.
Kingston Upon Thames
Here is a west London suburb with handsome, tree-lined streets that you can afford — though admittedly you’ll have to ripple right out to its borders with Surrey for the best offers.
Kingston has a good stock of Victorian housing, a busy town centre (with awful traffic) and a riverside location with lots of open space.
“Kingston is a real hotspot for first time buyers, with a healthy stock of properties within reach,” says Matt Aboud, associate director at Featherstone Leigh estate agents.
He estimates that a one-bedroom flat in a period conversion would cost about £350,000, with a two-bedroom conversion at about £400,000.
“First-time buyers typically look for homes nearer the town centre, due to its proximity to the train station and the lively high street,” he adds.
“The hugely popular Bentall Centre and John Lewis store offer ample choices for shopping, while the restaurant and bar scene is brimming with activity.
The Riverside Walk area provides a picturesque setting for a meal, exploiting Kingston’s position on the Thames.
Another significant pull for first-time buyers are the brilliant transport links. "Three railway stations are positioned across the town, with journeys into London Waterloo taking just 30 minutes.”
Postcode matters here. Historically KT2, nearer Richmond Park, was the most sought after, but KT1, towards Surbiton, is now gaining traction, partly because prices are a bit lower but also because it is within walking distance of both the town centre and Surbiton station, which has fast trains to Waterloo from 19 minutes.
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