Whether you’re buying or renting your property, you want to be sure you’re getting the most out of your home by choosing the most suitable London neighbourhood to live in. So, how do you go about choosing where to live in London?
Know Your Priorities
Before you decide where to live in London, it helps to have a clear list of your top priorities. These will depend largely on your lifestyle.
If you’re a busy professional putting in long hours, you’ll want a location close to work, or at least one with good transport links to your office. New parents will be looking for a neighbourhood with good schools and some green open spaces where the family can enjoy relaxing afternoons outdoors. Young, singles or couples will want a spot close to the local nightlife, with ample opportunities for socialising.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want most from your London base, you’ll be able to compare all the advantages of the local neighbourhoods and decide which one best suits your lifestyle.
Consider Some Key Factors - Then Do your Homework
Once you’ve prioritised and narrowed things down, think about all the major factors that will influence your decision on where to live. Then, do some research around these factors to narrow your search further.
- Property prices in London vary greatly from one neighbourhood to the next. What will your budget allow?
- Researching cost: Speak to a reputable London estate agent about average rental prices and selling prices in your shortlisted neighbourhoods.
- Fast fact: The average Londoner typically spends just over half their salary (61%) on rent. Be realistic about costs, and make sure your benchmark is average for the area you want to live in.
Safety & Security:
- Safety is always an important factor when choosing a home for your family.
- Researching safety: Get to know where the local police station in the area is, and talk to your estate agent about security in the areas where they operate.
- Fast fact: Douglas & Gordon operates in a variety of safe, reputable London neighbourhoods that are known for being family-friendly.
- It’s important to have reliable transport links between your home and your place of work, such as a bus route, Tube or overground train service. Areas with bicycle paths also make it easier to get to and from the station.
- Researching transport: Use online tools like Transport for London, Google Maps or Citymapper to see transport links and work out the time and distance between your office and your preferred neighbourhoods.
- Fast fact: Zone 1 offers a quicker and easier commute, but it does mean prices in these areas are notably higher. Some choose to live further out from central London, in Zones 2 and 3 where you can have the best of both worlds.
- Schools in London typically require that you live in the correct catchment area before you apply (with the exception of private schools). If there’s a school you especially want your child to attend, this could be the deciding factor.
- Researching schools: Check the catchment areas for the schools in each of the prospective London neighbourhoods you’re considering. Look at the Department for Education’s school league tables to see how well the schools in each area are performing.
- Fast fact: Brixton, Clapham and Battersea are all known as good family-friendly neighbourhoods, with well-catered schools and attractive public parks.
Research Local Amenities & Developments
Budget, safety, work and schools are sure to be top of mind, but don’t forget about the less “essential” advantages of your London neighbourhood.
The local facilities and amenities in your area can also make your daily life that much easier. Visit a neighbourhood to find out if it has facilities like a good supermarket, a gym or recreation centre, a choice of restaurants, parks and green spaces, and on-street parking availability.
Future developments can have a big impact on your life in a London borough. Major developments might mean great new amenities, but they could also drive up local prices and increase traffic to your neighbourhood. Have a look at the Government’s Planning Portal to see if there are any big developments planned for the area.
Seek Professional Advice from Douglas & Gordon
Speak to one of Douglas & Gordon’s knowledgeable agents for advice on how to choose where to live in London and find the perfect place to call home.