It’s the happy medium, where they are far more likely to find a home they can afford with a garden, without straying too far from the heart of town. They might also be able to invest in an up-and-coming regeneration zone.
A new report by Hamptons International analyses average prices across the whole of Zone 3, to reveal the three postcodes that offer home hunters the best value for money.
Buying in East Ham, E6
Average price: £431 per sq ft
North of the river and east of the City and Canary Wharf, E6 is the most pocket-friendly Zone 3 postcode.
This traditional swathe of the East End missed out on the regeneration that transformed much of the rest of Newham in the past 10 years.
Now though, change has begun, as housebuilders put new homes on former industrial backlands.
It’s also good value for period property, with streets of Victorian terrace houses originally built for factory workers and costing £380,000 to £425,000 for a three-bedroom home.
From £304,000: a studio flat with Help to Buy available in New Market Place
The most popular pocket is Central Park Estate, south of Barking Road. Flats are equally good value. East Ham has plenty of slightly dated, purpose-built blocks where a one-bedroom flat would be £240,000 to £260,000.
There is a compromise. E6 is an area where deprivation is widespread. The high street is drab — competition from the Westfield mall in Stratford means few chains are interested and the everyday shops are basic. But new homes could revive East Ham’s heart.
These include New Market Place, with 277 red-brick flats in six blocks set around courtyards, plus a parade of new shops replacing the old East Ham Market Hall.
From £304,000 for a studio flat. Help to Buy is available.
East Ham Tube, on the Hammersmith & City and District lines, is half a mile away, with 17-minute services to Canary Wharf and a half-hour trip to King’s Cross.
Buying in Plaistow, E13
Average price: £448 per sq ft
Plaistow is a Cinderella beside the monster regeneration zones at Canning Town and Royal Docks but like East Ham, it’s good for affordable Victorian terraces, with four- to five-bedroom houses from £600,000 and three-bedroom houses from about £500,000.
Flats range from period conversions to slightly dated blocks. A two-bedroom flat can be had for £300,000 to £350,000.
£350,000: a two-bedroom flat in Greengate Street, E13, with secure allocated underground parking and a long lease. Available chain free through City & Urban
The big new-build player is Upton Gardens, once home to West Ham United FC, where almost 850 homes are being built in landscaped grounds, with a play area, residents gym and shops.
Two-bedroom flats start from £474,000. Help to Buy is available.
Buying in Woolwich: SE18
Average price: £461 per sq ft
Just south of the river, Woolwich occupies a swathe of Thames-side London that’s enjoying something of a renaissance.
Five miles down the Thames from Canary Wharf, Woolwich is a postcode of two halves.
The multibillion-pound regeneration of Woolwich Arsenal, Royal Arsenal Riverside by Berkeley Homes, is at one end of the scale, featuring 5,000 new homes plus waterfront bars and restaurants. At the other end are some downright shabby streets.
Whichever option fits your budget, your local transport links are about to get better. Crossrail is due to arrive at Woolwich next summer.
In the meantime, British Land is planning a five-acre mixed development that should smarten up Woolwich’s high street, while Greenwich council is investing in a waterfront arts centre.
The poshest part of SE18 is towards Shooters Hill, where grand Victorian villas approach the £1 million price tag, but about £500,000 will buy a three-bedroom period terrace house.
“In the Royal Arsenal you would pay more than that for a three-bedroom flat,” says Paul Olubunmi, director of PK Sales and Lettings.
Many buyers want to live close to the station and Olubunmi recommends Burrage Road, Burrage Place or Crescent Road. Another good option is to look to the south of the postcode, close to the wilds of Woolwich Common.
From £338,000: flats at Battalion Court, Artillery Place, Woolwich
Woolwich is rich with historic buildings mostly linked to its naval history, and these make for beautiful period conversions, although buyers will pay a big premium for this kind of kerb appeal, with two-bedroom flats frequently listed for between £600,000 and £800,000.
If you care more about bang for your buck, then a two-bedroom purpose-built flat would cost around £350,000.
Housebuilding is going on all over SE18, and there are still a few homes left at Battalion Court, which overlooks Mulgrave Pond.
The pond dates from the 1750s and was originally dug as a reservoir for the royal dockyards. The site is half-a-mile from Woolwich town centre and Woolwich Arsenal station. Prices start from £338,000 for a one-bedroom flat.
For first-time buyers, Home Group has shared-ownership apartments for sale priced from £92,500 at Insignia Place, some with balconies giving views of the Thames and close to Barrack Field, just one of the area’s great open spaces.