Buying a first-time flat- location advice! (London-wide)(4 Posts)
Hi everyone! Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Despite not being a mum (I'm a 22 year old uni student), I've found Mumsnet to be one of the best places on the internet for useful discussions and property, and I would appreciate this community's advice!
I am in the enormously fortunate position that my parents have decided to purchase a flat in London for me to live in. Our budget is 350k, give or take, for a one-bed, and I'm feeling overwhelmed, particularly in deciding on an area. My main priority is to be near a tube (not Overground or National Rail), within a 40ish minute commute of the City. Nice supermarkets/cafes/restaurants/green spaces are a plus, but definitely secondary. No kids planned for at least a decade (or ever?), so schools aren't a concern.
As I'll be a single woman living alone, safety (particularly walking at night) is really a key priority for me. I don't walk around alone at 3 am anywhere, but I'd like to feel comfortable walking from the Tube til about 11 pm. In the past I've lived + spent time in Holloway/Highbury (liked it), Chiswick (too far/bit empty at night), Isle of Dogs (love it), and Golders Green (also bit too deserted at night). I'm probably more of a scaredy-cat than many, and consider areas like Finsbury Park, Turnpike Lane, Wood Green, Stepney, Tottenham, Brixton, Caledonian Road, and Acton too 'dodgy' for my comfort level. I'm not concerned about poor or immigrant areas- it's specifically street crime, harassment and mugging I'm worried about. But ideally the area would also have enough going on to not become a ghost town after 7 pm.
I'm posting in Redbridge because I'm looking a lot at east London and have little personal experience of it, but I welcome suggestions about other areas! If I've posted in the wrong place, please point me to the right forum. :-) Some places I'm considering, which seem to be within budget, include:
- Isle of Dogs (I rent here now, but might be priced out)
- South Woodford
- Leyton/Leytonstone (don't mind a bit of grimness, but is it safe?)
- Mile End/Bow
- Charlton (although no tube is a big minus!)
- East Putney
If you work in the City and want a short commute, I would go for East London. I bought my flat in Leytonstone in 2000, moments away from the tube station and have always felt safe at night. It's around 30 mins door to door to Liverpool Street. I think you get more for your money and if you liked Holloway, then Leyton and Leytonstone would work. Tesco nearby, Epping Forest on your doorstep for green spaces and the high street although not exactly pretty has the usual pubs and restaurants. Wanstead is just across the road for a more upmarket feel for dining out.
You would get a v nice 1 bed flat in Wanstead for that sum, and feel safe, on a tube etc
I think Wanstead might be a bit 'old' for you. It's great for me (35, with DC) but it doesn't have much of a young person's feel about it. Also, even for London, I think it's overpriced for what it is. There are plenty of bits of London as nice without the decades-old pedigree of an E11 postcode, which is what Wanstead 'village' trades on.
Personally, I would go for somewhere like South Woodford. If you wanted slightly more for your money then Leytonstone is perfectly fine. As you say, it's not as leafy and pretty, but it's as safe as anywhere else. If you can afford somewhere further in towards central London then I think Mile End is great. It might be outside your comfort zone as, inevitably with a big student population, it's a bit more rowdy on a weekend night. In terms of nice green spaces, it's right next to the canal and lovely walks along there.
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