Is everybody moving to Walthamstow?

In recent months three newspapers have shared the joys of living in the glorious stow with their readers. The Metro, Times and Guardian have all been singing the praises of E17. With quotes like “Walthamstow is a hidden gem” from the Metro and the Guardian stating that  Walthamstow is a “great value village within easy reach off central London” it’s fair to say that the Walthamstow cat is very firmly out of the bag.

This next statement would not surprise anyone that knows me,  I love Walthamstow, warts and all I think it’s a great place to live. But what is it that is encouraging other people to move here? Is it the Village with its church and ancient house? is it the bustling market? or perhaps it’s the transport links that bring people to E17. I’m sure all of these are a factor but one of the main reasons seems to be value for money. All three of the recent articles agree that Walthamstow is affordable, though the Guardian, when referring to affordability, does include the tag line “by London Standards” and I think for me that’s a really important statement. Whilst E17 is affordable in comparison to other areas of London, rents here are still too high for many whilst mortgages and buying a property is simply unachievable. The guardian also list average purchase prices for property in E17.

Market values Detacheds, £400,000-£800,000. Semis, £250,000-£750,000. Four-bed terraces, £320,000-£650,000; three-bed terraces, £240,000-£450,000; two-bed terraces, £220,000-£300,000. Three-bed flats, £160,000-£300,000; two-bed flats, £170,000-£260,000.

If you were just starting out on the property ladder you would have to earn a pretty decent salary to afford to buy anything. And here lies the problem, it’s great that people want to move here, the more the merrier. But as the popularity of Walthamstow increases so do the property prices. Great for estate agents but not so great for people who can no longer afford to live here. Is the housing situation actually going backwards? In 1911 the Howarth family, all six of them lived in our two bedroom house. In 2013 a similar situation can be found next door, three generations of the same family live in a two bed house because they can’t afford to rent anything bigger.

The original name for Walthamstow is Wilcumestowe which means The Place of Welcome. And many of us that have made our homes here have been made to feel incredibly welcome. Lets hope our town continues to live up to its name and welcome those that decide to live here. But I also hope a balance can be found and those just starting out, or people who are struggling financially can afford to stay in E17. Something that makes Walthamstow great is its mix of people and it would be a shame if that changed. There is lots of banter shared around pub tables about the perceived invasion from Stoke Newington, I love the jokes about installing check points and draw bridges over the River Lea. But the real challenge facing the Walthamstow housing market is not where people are moving from, but where people who already live here can afford to move to.

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27 comments

  1. I think Walthamstow has got a good few years left before the it becomes overrun and alien. Besides, I see no uber health food shops or an M&S turning up on Hoe Street for a we while. However if/when this happens I’d find it pretty hard pushed to leave.
    As for moving. Some X-stowers’ I know have moved to Chelmsford and Old Harlow. However, this would probably be down a to a lot of people having East London/Essex roots.
    As for me, I’m quite enjoying all the fuss, I find it quite weird that the hype seems to have notched up a gear post-Olympics? I grew up not too far from Walthamstow, the market was always good for fake Loads Of Money t-shirts. My Great Gran used to run the Castle pub and I’ve inherited some good memorabilia from the place.

    Might be worth having a look around Stoke’, working out what they’ve got that we haven’t and then start up your own shop. Similar to what Malcolm Mclaren did with Punk and Hip-Hop.
    Viva the Stow

  2. Yes Walthamstow is and has been a wonderful place. Tree lined streets, easy transport links, waterways, even Higham Hill is becoming gentrified. We’re even getting our own micro brewery, the Wild Card Brewery at the Warrant Officer Pub. Higham Hill will soon get it’s own Craft Yard. Watch this space. It’s not just the village. Happy Days.

    1. So long as it doesn’t lose its edgy mix, but some of it already has. The Village is filling up with braying accents and massive pushchairs and I’ve not been to the Nag’s Head since they made Pilates compulsory.

  3. I think the reason why walthamstow is stepping up in gentrified terms is its border proximity to North Hackney but cheaper than stoke newington and a better place to live than upper clapton. I understand the concrrns about gentrification and social exclusion. I lived in hackney for 19 years and moved close to st james park 4 years ago because I was becoming tired of over privileged groups of yonger rich people moving into the area of hackney making it feel less friendly and dislocating the communities, albeit some of them a problem. I did of course take advantage of selling my small flat and buying a 3 bed semi within a short bike ride of hackney via the marshes like many others. I still think that many look down their noses at the stow in the sameway people did about hackney in the early 90s, and that is the protective factor to things changing too quickly. I think there is some benefit to a few more middle class people moving towards markhouse and coppermill area as they are dull and tatty and it may increase the potential for arty cafs and better mix in the schools rather than bettin shops, chicken joints and horrble pubs, especially near st james st station which is still pretty grim. Dont forget, many people and families on lower incomes will benefit from house prices and will have further options from this. Im short, I like others who live here who have the dilemna of wanting to see less gangs and nasty chavs around but dont want people on lower incomes whove lived here all their lives being pushed out by greedy landlords and developers, not to mention losing its multi-cultural diversity that has happened to parts of hackney.

  4. The “multi-culturalism” is why I left. Asians and white’s don’t mix and there is always a nasty atmosphere. I lived there for 20 years but was glad to move out.

  5. I think Walthamstow has been lying in wait for some time. It has so much to offer – Wood Street, the Village, William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Market, Epping Forest etc. When you think that you can be in the City in 15 minutes on the overground or the West End in 20 minutes on the tube, it’s amazing that Walthamstow hasn’t popped sooner.

  6. it’s the great diversity and welcoming spirit that makes Walthamstow so great. To say asians and whites don’t mix says more about the person posting the comment than anything else. If anything the place is becoming more and more middle class. I love the area, there is so much happening all the time and a great sense of community.

    1. I agree, it is improving. I think the Asian communities enhance the area unlike the chavy white EDL supporters whom im happy to see their ‘white flght’

  7. Having rented with my girlfriend in Walthamstow for 5 and a half years we are now looking to buy. We moved here with the intention of buying and now we are in a position to do so, we are gutted to be faced with the proposition of leaving the stow because the prices have been pushed up so much in such a short space of time!

    Even Leyton and Leytonstone properties are seeing increased interest and offers above asking price. We are now considering Tottenham. Anyone know any other areas that might be slightly more affordable still close by?

      1. We are open minded. We would happily move to Coppermill/Markhouse/Wood Street…

        Just doesn’t seem to be a lot coming on at the moment.

  8. Walthamstow is at a crossroads and has 2 possible directions it will go. A Muslim ghetto like Upton Park, devoid of white people and diversity, or more trendy like stoke. I sincerely hope it is the latter so bring on the arty coffee shops!

  9. I live in St. John’s road near wood street and the town hall. Perfect for the cafés and shopping in wood street. People are so kind and friendly. Been here for 15 years. It has changed amazingly clean now! And the regeneration has made a real difference to the condition of the street. Lovely place to live come and join us.!!!!!

  10. We unfortunately were outpriced from walthamstow and both me and my husband earned a decent salary. We ended up moving to upton park Central Park area and was able to afford a house with a garden. Although not in the press as much as walthamstow and hasn’t got a micro brewery as yet, you’ll definitely afford a victorian house in a tree lined street and after west ham leave the developers will be sure to move in! Also so close to the city it’s a perfect canvas to invest! Why pay already loads to move into an area when it’s all about bagging a bargain in the next up and coming areas!

    1. Hi Sarah. I know this comment is a year old and I was wondering how you’re getting on. My partner and I are looking to buy our first home, and Upton Park prices are much more attractive than Walthamstow or Stratford (the two other main areas we’re considering). I have had similar thoughts about the move of West Ham football club, and the proximity to the city (we both work in Liverpool stree). I guess I’m just curious as to what it’s like living in Upton Park as I hear mixed reviews.
      How have you found your decision one year on? Have you enjkoyed living in Upton Park, and does it still feel like a good and worthwhile investment?
      Thanks!

      1. Also worth mentioning that we’re both from Tottenham, so used to living somewhere that many people describe ‘dodgy’. Main reason for moving out the area is that anything we can afford is not the best commute. We are young and don’t want to rely on overground trains to get back after nights out 😉

    2. Hi Alice,

      We moved to Central Park from Stoke Newington in November and couldn’t be happier. We have space, easy access to the City and, above all, a feeling that a new community is emerging. I couldn’t recommend it enough

      1. Hi Nick,

        Thanks so much for commenting! I’m glad to hear that you’re really enjoying living there and it’s really encouraging for us. We’re going for some house viewings int the area soon, so fingers crossed! 🙂

      2. Hi, I just wanted to post to say that my wife and I moved to Upton Park / Plaistow area a couple of months ago. We bought a lovely little Victorian terraced house in the New City Estates area. Really nice tree lined streets of terraced houses about 10 mins walk to Upton park station.
        We love it so far. The commute in to town is really easy, all of our neighbours are really friendly. It could certainly do with a bit more to do – nice cafes, pubs etc… but we are hoping that might come eventually. Perhaps when West Ham move out.
        We lived in Stoke Newington renting for about 9 years so it was a big change but we are really happy. It is a great place to buy in zone 3.

  11. Me and my wife are thinking of moving up to Walthamstow and are interested in the thoughts of current residents on the area. I had always had a pre-conception that it was a wee bit dodgy but that is from years ago (and I’ve never been there!). I’ve read a number of posts and articles about how great it is to live there now. My main concern is safety – I currently have no concerns about my wife walking back from the tube at past midnight on her own down here in Tooting Bec… Any thoughts much appreciated!

    1. I’ve lived here for 16 years and when I first moved here it had a bit of a bad reputation. But I have always felt at home and safe here. I have female friends that live here and they feel the same. It’s not Utopia, as with other parts of London bad stuff sometimes happens, but it’s the exception not the rule.

      1. I moved here from stoke newington 5 years ago.. Historically, Hackney was always more crime ridden, but marketing aimed at the middle class hipsters has hidden that factor. The same will be happening in W.stow. There are far worse areas in south London, especially Brixton eastwards so Im surprised you would worry about w.stow. Although this might sound a bit contraversial, I would say that the larger Asian community means there is less gun crime and violent gang culture than say, Tottenham, Hackney or Peckham. This is all fact before anyone reading this thinks im predjudiced against particular racial or cultural groups.

  12. We have just bought a victorian terrace house in Higham Hill.It’s about the only place in London with good connections that we could afford. It’s a 15 minute walk to Blackhorse Road Station (Victoria Line) , we’ve got a bus stop and Co-op at the end of our road. The area near the station is being redeveloped so their should be some more shops around too.

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