The speed at which whole sections of London have been reinvented has changed the way that young professionals set out their criteria when looking for apartments to rent in the capital.
Remember when “Location, Location, Location” was the mantra of the property industry, as it labelled certain neighbourhoods desirable? Those areas were Central London, some inner North London boroughs and select SW postcodes. Now, anywhere within Zones 1 – 4 seems to fit the bill as huge investments in transport and infrastructure have seen East and South London play catch-up with a vengeance. However, young corporate professionals are nothing if not analytical in their approach and seem to have broken what makes an area desirable down into three components: convenience, cost-effectiveness and culture. What makes young professionals prefer a certain London district can be attributed to an attractive blend, though not always equal, of all three of these factors.
Kensington and Chelsea are perennial favourites as their positions just west and south of Hyde Park gives residents access to some of London’s best-loved attractions, parks, museums, galleries and shopping destinations. Those with more modest budgets may consider a one bedroom apartment at the award-winning development, Portobello Square (Notting Hill borders). These are available at £400 per week, while a one bedroom apartment at Kensington Square starts at £415 per week. For that amount, they may be able to secure a one bedroom conversion nearer to the Tube station in High Street Kensington, but they would not get the kind of amenities the others offer, such as private gym usage and access to landscaped gardens. A studio apartment in a period conversion such as St Stephens Gardens, can be rented for £300 per week. Cooking facilities in the studio might be on the compact side, but an apartment that has dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants in its immediate vicinity might not have much need for one! High Street Kensington Tube station is in the much-coveted Zone 1 part of the Underground network and provides straightforward connections to the City, West End, all mainline rail hubs and airport shuttles.
Looking eastwards across town, the creative hub of Shoreditch has become a regeneration byword. Young entrepreneurs have turned this once shabby neighbourhood on the fringe of the City into London’s ‘Cradle of Cool’. Craft breweries, indie hotels, tech start-ups,you name it, Shoreditch got there first. Rents at popular development Avantgarde start at £495 per week for a one bedroom apartment, which being a short walk from Bank makes it a better deal than renting within the Square Mile itself. With the new Overground train line, Shoreditch is now directly accessible from all over Zone 2 and 3, as well as being near the Old Street Northern line station.
Nearby Islington is popular with City professionals and young families alike. Highbury Stadium Square, the redeveloped Arsenal football stadium offers contemporary apartments with rentals starting at £395 per week for a one bedroom apartment. Islington has historically been home to liberal intellectuals, playwrights and political thinkers. Its thriving theatre scene energises the surrounding streets which are home to numerous gastropubs, art galleries and music venues. Highbury & Islington station is on the Victoria and Overground lines which run to St Pancras and Moorgate stations respectively, handy for travel into both the West End and the City. Angel station is on the Northern line network that connects Hampstead, Camden Town and Bank stations.
South of the river is still seen as a more wallet-friendly location in which to rent property and as the transport options have increased, so too have the availability of smart new property developments. Surrey Quays is the new growth area in this respect, being practically next door to Canary Wharf in terms of tube travel. At £350 per week, one bedroom apartments to rent in Marine Wharf compare favourably with those available just over the river in Docklands. That is not to say that bargains cannot be picked up in the Canary Wharf vicinity either. If you’re quick, you can still pick up a one bedroom apartment on the 12th Floor at The Landmark with lovely views over the Thames for £435 per week or a two bedroom in Caspian Wharf near Langdon Park DLR (15 min walk to Canary Wharf) from £400 per week. Another benefit that Surrey Quays shares with its powerful neighbour is access to a regular river taxi service which travels between Greenwich, Canary Wharf and Westminster. Surrey Quays is also on the Overground orbital rail network which intersects with both the Jubilee and District lines for fast connections to the City and West End.
For those who like a nice slice of rural tranquility to go with their Zone 4 rental location, Kew fits the bill perfectly. St George’s newly regenerated high-spec property development, Kew Bridge, offers good transport links and with nearby Brentford in the process of getting a makeover, seems to be at the centre of a new riverside community. Unspoilt views of the River Thames don’t come much more picturesque than from the balcony of a Kew Bridge apartment. Rents for one bedroom apartments are from £365 per week. Rents at Kew Bridge West in Brentford start at £360 per week. These prices are particularly competitive when compared to those of nearby Richmond where a one bedroom apartment in Hill Rise is available for £575 per week.
There are some young professionals who would prefer a complete blank slate; a brand new property development in a brand new neighbourhood. Some may have relocated and having no lasting ties to any given area in London are not averse to forming new relationships and being part of a new community. There was a time when such individuals would be looking at satellite towns and far-flung suburbs, but not any longer. Beaufort Park in Colindale, North-West London together with Kidbrooke Village in the South have both been created from the ground up as new communities with their own amenities, shopping and entertainment centres. With links into London via the Northern line and mainline overground routes respectively, they are proving to be an increasingly popular cost-effective option as the prices below indicate:
Beaufort Park: Studios from £290 – £310 per week; one bedroom apartments from £330 – £350 per week; two bedroom apartments from £390 – £475 per week
Kidbrooke Village: Studios from £290 – £310 per week; one bedroom apartments from £330 – £350 per week; two bedroom apartments from £390 – £475 per week.
A third of London’s population lies in the 25 to 44 age bracket which constitutes a lot of purchasing power. These young professionals are determined to use this power in order to establish for themselves a modern urban lifestyle and high quality of life – all without having to be too close to the high costs and high anxiety of the city centre.
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