If you're a first-time buyer looking for value-for-money, London might not be the best place to buy; however, if you're working in the city, it's certainly the most practical option. London has many an established, trendy area where you'll pay well above average, but there are also a variety of spots that are up-and-coming and some awaiting a tip-off which means, if you act fast, you might be able to bag a bargain – in London terms, that is. Below, find out where to buy in London if you're a first-time buyer.
If it's good enough for Del Boy and Rodney, it's good enough for us. Peckham never used to be a desirable area, but it's steadily grown in prominence and, with that, received a 'trendy' stamp of approval. According to Homes & Property, two-thirds of properties sold in Peckham go to first-time buyers; most of which pay below £400k for their first home. Better still, Peckham's got bars, restaurants, coffee shops and, increasingly, boutiques, and the Overground received an extension in 2012 as part of London's development plans for the London 2012 Olympics. Today, prices are steadily rising 15% every year, but you can still snap up a bargain, especially if you’re a couple or buying solo.
If you want to buy somewhere that's established as a playground for the 'cool' and have the budget to pay for the marginally posher postcode, consider Brixton. 57% of sales in Brixton are to first-time buyers, but the average price paid by first-time buyers is a staggering £650k. Prices rise by a fifth every year; however, the price tag comes with many benefits. For instance, Brixton is at the end of the Victoria line which will take into the city effortlessly. Plus, it has a vibrant community of artists, independent shops and musicians; the recent Brixton Village makeover made it the new Spitalfields.
If you're happy to go even further south, Forest Hill has excellent Overground transport links that can get you to East London's Shoreditch in less than 40 minutes. It also has very competitive prices; a two-bedroom flat or Victorian conversion can be picked up from around £450k. Further north in East Dulwich, the same would cost £550-575k. Forest Hill is away from the bustle and ideal for families.
Not too fussed about being in the heart of the city? To snap up an excellent deal, trying heading East to Dagenham or Barking. By doing so, you can get a spacious, characterful starter home from just £250k and still travel into the city within 30 minutes. Dagenham may not be one of the most hip-and-happening spots on our list, but it's perfect for families and couples that enjoy weekend countryside walks, with Hainault Forest on the doorstep. While Dagenham has a growing entertaining offering, you might want to head into the city for date night. 50% of sales in Dagenham go to first-time buyers.
The average property price in London's up-and-coming areas is ever-increasing, which means if you spot a bargain you need to snap it up quick; as you know, with investors ever on the lookout for a quick buck, in-demand London property doesn't stick around. The closer you are to the hub of the city, the more you will pay for your property. For a great deal, head south or east. Avoid west, central and north London where you'll pay well over the odds – unless it’s essential you have instant city access.