It has for years been the mantra of prudent home-buyers, but “location, location, location” no longer holds in central London, according to agents.
One chain, James Pendleton, said the number of purchasers registering in one branch but eventually buying in a different area has soared from 55 per cent to 72 per cent in just five years.
Founder Lucy Pendleton said: “In inner London, ‘location, location, location’ has become ‘property, property, property’.
“In the post-gentrification era, the right home is far more important than where it happens to be. Everywhere is gentrified.
“This is giving buyers the confidence to branch out into virtually all residential areas in inner London.
“We’re seeing people registering in Chelsea before buying in Battersea, and beginning their search in Fulham then moving to Tooting.”
Areas that were once shunned by middle-class buyers and are now regarded as highly desirable — with high prices to match — include Shoreditch, Walthamstow, Acton and Brixton.
One of the most extreme examples is Hackney, a borough that 20 years ago was seen as crime-ridden and dilapidated compared with its more fashionable neighbour, Islington.
However, the “hipster invasion” since the turn of the millennium has had a dramatic impact.
In January 2000 average prices in Islington were £174,119, 43 per cent higher than the £121,135 average in Hackney.
Alex Lyle, sales director at Marsh & Parsons, said: “There aren’t really truly undesirable areas anymore and buyers are willing to expand their catchment areas as long as they still have reasonably convenient access to transport links and other amenities.”
Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, which campaigns for broader home ownership, said: “Buyers in London are increasingly setting out their key criteria and then letting their budget dictate where they purchase... however, it is worth sparing a thought for younger buyers who are totally priced out of vast swathes of the London market and can’t afford to act on location or property.”
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- By last month this had closed to a 13 per cent gap, with Hackney’s average of £562,638 nearing Islington’s £637,347.
By Jonathan Prynn, 29 June 2017