Streets of London: Columbia Road, E2

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  • Although the terraced Victorian houses on the north side of the street, flanking the flower market, are the key properties, they seldom come up for sale. However, flats above the south-side shops and pretty terraces in the surrounding streets – particularly Baxendale, Ravenscroft, Quilter and Elwin – crop up regularly.

    A block of council housing in the middle of the street makes the surrounding houses and flats more affordable. A three-bedroom 1950s terrace on Ravenscroft Street, which runs from Columbia Road to Hackney Road, is currently on for £395,000.

    Although bargains are hard to come by here, prices do become cheaper on the streets approaching Bethnal Green Road. Auctions can also beat the high prices. Estate agent McHugh & Co regularly acquires properties and points out that, with luck and a poor auction turnout, buyers can sometimes secure a cheaper property. There’s a strong sense of community too. Locals recently fought off plans to build an insensitive 23-storey block of one-bed flats in the area to house recovering addicts and alcoholics. ‘What the area needs is more affordable family housing, not that,’ comments one local. No wonder the area’s appeal continues unabated. ‘We’ve been waiting for the right two-bedroom house for over six months now,’ says Katharine Edwards who currently lives with her boyfriend in Islington and visits most Sundays. ‘Columbia Road has got so much individuality, but it’s not gritty like Shoreditch. We’ve seen cheaper places elsewhere, but nowhere else has quite the appeal of this.’

    Estate agents

    Davy Stone 60 Charlotte Rd, EC2 (020 7729 2476/www.daveystone.co.uk).

    McHugh & Co 71 Parkway, NW1
    (020 7485 0112/ www.mchughandcompany.co.uk).

    Peach Properties 53 Bethnal
    Green Rd, E1 (020 7739 6969/ www.peachproperties.com).

    Space Station 92 Leonard St, EC2
    (020 7613 6262/www.thespacestation.co.uk).

    Urban Links lettings 13-15 Bow Wharf, 221 Grove Rd, E3
    (020 8981 7007/ www.urbanlink.co.uk).

    Transport

    Bethnal Green tube is 15 minutes’ walk away, Liverpool Street tube/rail is 20 minutes’ walk, the 55 bus goes from Hackney Road to Oxford Circus and takes around 40 minutes.

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