Looking to invest in London, but not sure where to start? While your choice may be influenced by practical concerns, such as proximity to a workplace or access to one of the international airports, you may prefer to shop based on neighborhood or investment potential, particularly if this will be a vacation home or rental investment.
As a general rule, the further out from the center of the city, the more affordable the real estate will be. But there are significant fluctuations depending on the popularity of the neighborhood and access to features like a direct transit line, parks and water access. Here are some of our top picks:
South east of the center, Woolwich’s status as the next transport hub to be added makes it one of the best investment locations. A station on 2018’s new Elizabeth Line will provide access to frequent, direct service to Canary Wharf, the City and the West End. Massive development is already underway, and plans are in place to transform past-its-prime social housing into more new housing. Get in before the market’s saturated with condo presales or a new-build home.
Located near Wimbledon Stadium, home to the world-famous Wimbledon tennis matches, Wandsworth and its surrounding environs in London’s south-western quadrant offer family-friendly, picturesque residential areas with access to charming high streets, ample transit connections and extensive parklands. Residential units trend toward historic brick row housing, and prices hover in the mid-range for the city.
Leafy and suburban, Gidea Park offers surprisingly quick access to the city, with only about a half-hour commute to all the buzz and bustle of the center. The charm of easy access to nature and dozy streets is balanced by multiple major shopping centers, though nightlife is somewhat lacking, making this a great investment for families. Pricing is again in the mid range. You probably won’t find remarkable deals, but it is a significant discount over housing closer to the center and offers more space for those who need it.
Much closer to the center, Crystal Palace refers generally to a region that encompasses five neighborhoods or “boroughs.” On the south side of the Thames, it includes Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. While proximity is one significant draw, it’s by no means the only advantage to investing in this area. Geographically, Crystal Palace sits at the highest point in London, offering excellent views, and it’s evolved into a hip, buzzing neighborhood with plenty of independent eateries, nightlife and retail catering to a young professional clientele. Less attractive for families, smaller units for singles and couples or holiday goers can be had at reasonable prices, and the location is ideal.
Just north of the center, this area offers opportunity to fixer-upper investors. Hyde Park is surrounded by almost absurdly upscale development, but this one little pocket has been left behind and is prime for investment. Look for redevelopment or renovation opportunities in character units in a spectacular location. These opportunities won’t be for everyone, but for investors with vision, higher financing resources and a longer timeline, Bayswater is an exciting chance to get into the market close in to the city.
In the UK, real estate transactions are facilitated through an estate agent. Different estate agents represent different markets and properties, and there are also some variations between the fees they charge. They can help you negotiate with the seller, and you may be able to negotiate mortgage terms with the bank to capture the best deal.
Another key consideration will be getting the best deal on currency exchange, since the sums transferred during a real estate transaction are significant, and currency exchange fees are generally based on a percentage of the total sum. Use a service for international money transfers comparison to find the best rates when you need to convert dollars to pounds sterling.
London is perennially a strong real estate investment, both stable and high return. Brexit and a new wave of real estate regulation has managed to cool the market and the pound sterling slightly, just enough to open up opportunity for investors ready to move fast and ride the wave up. Consider your needs and preferences – professionals or nightlife-loving holiday goers will likely prefer something closer in to the center, while deals can be had further afield, and the outer rim offers larger residences for families and a more natural setting. Don’t forget to shop around for the right estate agent and take care to investigate your options when it comes time to convert your dollars.
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