Find out why first time buyers are heading to Dagenham, this thriving East End town that’s just 20 minutes from the City and set for some positive Thames-side changes
The east London town of Dagenham, which is just over 10 miles out of the city centre, recently topped a list of places to buy for first time buyers. It seems that the great transport links, local amenities and affordable prices have attracted buyers looking to find a place to settle and call their first home.
Dagenham, which falls within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, also sits on the edge of the vast, green county of Essex. So, as well as the urban lifestyle that the modern town has to offer, there is no shortage of countryside and coastline within incredibly easy reach.
The part of the town that runs along the Thames has been marked for a major facelift – work will soon begin on creating new homes, shops and leisure spaces, and on improving transport links to that part of town. Such important changes are sure to attract buyers and businesses alike, and help secure Dagenham’s place as a thriving part of the city to live and work.
Homes and residents
Dagenham is part of a truly booming borough; its popularity with young families is marked by the dramatic changes in its population, with the highest percentage of 0-19-year-olds in the country and a 50% increase in 0-four-year-olds since 2001. This young borough is ethnically diverse and well educated, and promises to contribute to a bright future for the area.
The brownfield sites located close to the river are the perfect place to build new homes and there are plans to increase the number of new homes in these areas, including apartments and larger family homes. These will form part of the ongoing regeneration of the area, which is exciting locals and buyers alike.
Out and about
Start your culinary journey with some traditional east London grub. Brook Pie and Mash on Dagenham Road serves up hearty pies, along with a dollop of creamy mash and thick gravy, to a loyal customer base. Also try Casa Italiana in Chadwell Heath for homemade Italian dishes in a cosy setting, or Lara Grill for highly-praised Turkish fare at affordable prices.
You don’t need to go far to reach some very pretty countryside, which means a good selection of country pubs. End, or break up a country walk at the Orange Tree pub, which sits on the outskirts of Romford, a few miles north of Dagenham. Here you can warm yourself by the open fire, or enjoy the sunshine in the garden on warmer days. The Halfway House in West Horndon is also well worth a visit. Set in beautiful surroundings, the family-run pub serves seasonal menus, with traditional pub grub and a great Sunday roast.
For concerts and theatre, try the Broadway in Barking, or the intimate Brookside Theatre in Romford. Both run a schedule of comedy, music and special events.
With beautiful countryside and many great towns and small villages within easy reach, there is a great deal to keep you entertained in and around the area.
The Thames is just moments away and forms part of Rainham Marshes RSPB Nature Reserve, which makes for a great day out all year round. Here you can watch the vast array of wildlife that inhabits this part of the world.
The Essex coast also lies within easy reach; Southend on Sea is just 50 minutes away by car, while the Blue Flag beach at West Mersea will take you a little over an hour.
Fitness fans can choose from membership at several gyms in the area, including Barking Sporthouse, which includes a huge skatepark and climbing wall. Of course, there are is also plenty of opportunity for outdoor pursuits, with outdoor gyms in the local parks, as well as some regular bootcamps throughout the week.
You’ll find a wide array of high street shops at the Heathway shopping mall in Dagenham town centre, which houses everything from the post office to the chemist, all under one roof. In 10 minutes, you can also reach Romford, which has a vast high street and several quality shopping centres. Stratford’s famous Westfield is also easy to get to by car, or tube, and is a shoppers’ paradise, with every budget and taste catered for, along with restaurants, bars and a cinema.
This part of London wouldn’t be complete without some quality markets, which can be found throughout the week. Visit the market in Barking town centre on most weekdays, for a wide range of products from local traders, or the locally-famous Dagenham Sunday Market, which occupies a huge site on the riverside. The market is so popular that it runs a free shuttle bus service from Barking station as well as two buses from south London.
Commuting into central London is quick and easy. Rail services from Dagenham Dock station arrive at Fenchurch Street in the City within 20 minutes. The town is also served by three District Line stations, all in travel zone 5. From Dagenham Heath you’ll reach Mile End in 30 minutes where you can swap to Central Line services to the West End. The area is also well-served by bus routes, which include regular services to the nearby towns of Leytonstone, Romford, Ilford and Rainham. The much-anticipated Crossrail (expected in 2017) will also be stopping at nearby Chadwell Heath and Gidea Park, for high-speed connections to central London. For drivers,travelling north is easy via the M11, while access to the rest of London can be gained via the M25, which can be reached within 15 minutes.
Average property price (November 2015) – £302,625
Property breakdown:* (Barking and Dagenham)
Detached – £440,016
Semi-detached – £309,499
Terraced – £288,168
Flat – £263,538
*According to the Land Registry House Price Index, November 2015