London’s most affordable commuter areas
Guest post by Annie Button
Living in London is expensive; no two ways about it. From exorbitant property prices and borderline affordable rents to the highest commuter rail travel costs in Europe, not to mention the fact that a pint in the capital can cost you up to a staggering £22.50, you need a healthy salary to even contemplate making your home here.
On the other hand, London is one of the most important, diverse and fascinating cities in the world, and if you have the opportunity to work here, a solution needs to be found. If you’re prepared to compromise on location and are not averse to the daily commute, all is not lost.
I asked a South London property expert to suggest some great neighbourhoods that still offer the buzz of city life but in more peaceful surroundings while still providing value for money. He said: “We live and work locally, which gives us an accurate understanding of property valuations and local issues that may affect homes in South London. If you head south of the River, you’ll still find plenty of parks and stylish hangouts near residential areas that are perfect for young professionals who want to live close-ish to the action.”
And the best bit? Not only are transport links to Central London growing all the time, all our handpicked locations are within easy reach of Waterloo, one of London’s busiest rail terminals.
#1 | Battersea
Did you now that, historically, Battersea was an agricultural area where lavender was grown and pigs were bred? These days, the area is famous for three things: the Power Station, the Dogs’ Home and the Park. In addition, the area has an enviable art & culture pedigree, with the Affordable Art Fair and Arts Centre events well established in the annual calendar.
Situated on the other side of the Thames opposite Chelsea & Westminster, Battersea is an urban area but with plenty of green space and, crucially, a short commute. One stop from Battersea Park station takes you into Victoria, and two stops into Waterloo. Two new underground stations – Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station – are under construction and due to open in 2021. Residential development along the riverside and around the iconic Battersea Power Station is sharply on the increase, with plenty of availability to buy or rent.
#2 | Wandsworth
Wandsworth has modern riverside apartments aplenty and a great choice of leafy Victorian and Edwardian homes. It is also the safest borough in inner London for recorded crime and has the second cheapest council tax in the UK.
In a Lloyds TSB survey from 2013, Wandsworth came out as the favourite place in England and Wales for aspiring young professionals to set up home, while a PWC/Demos survey in the same year found that Wandsworth scored highest in London in terms of the wellbeing and economic success of its inhabitants.
Then there’s the picturesque river views, the stylish pubs, the high end boutiques, the independent cafes… no wonder that this South London area is highly sought after. Transport wise, there’s Wandsworth Town, a 15-minute commute away from Waterloo, and East Putney (District Line) on the western side of the borough.
#3 | Clapham
In a Time Out survey carried out in 2015, Clapham SW4 emerged as the clear winner as the best place to live in London. There’s a vibrant social life with a host of pubs, bars and restaurants you can explore, but there’s also a friendly, village like atmosphere that attracts young families. Clapham has plenty of green space, especially the 200+ acre Clapham Common, which is a popular spot for relaxing and socialising.
When it comes to transport, did you know that Clapham Junction is Europe’s busiest train station? Connecting trains from the South and Southwest to Waterloo and Victoria, there’s a train every 13 seconds during peak times. In addition, there are 3 underground stations –
Clapham Common, Clapham North and Clapham South – all on the Northern Line.
#4 | Wimbledon
Wimbledon, slightly further out of town, has much more to offer than its famous tennis club. Located in leafy South West London, its residential area is divided into Wimbledon Village which boasts a pretty high street full of period charm and a good selection of bistros, pubs and restaurants, and Wimbledon Town.
Property prices here tend to be higher than more central areas such as Clapham, but Wimbledon charms with residential boulevards, period family homes and over 460 hectares of Wimbledon Common, one of the largest areas of common land in London.
This affluent London suburb has a relaxed atmosphere with excellent amenities for professionals and families, and great transport links to Central London including three underground stations – South Wimbledon (Northern Line), Wimbledon Park and Southfields (District Line).