Why London buyers are turning to luxury homes in Chigwell

Charles Dickens wrote of Chigwell in Essex as “the greatest place in the world. Such a delicious old inn facing the church… such beautiful forest scenery - such an out-of-the way rural place.”

These days, it’s no longer the rural haven that prompted Dickens’ effusive praise. But this small corner of Essex is no less desirable today. Rising prices in London’s central zones have left many London property buyers seeking alternatives outside the capital. This has meant a focus on areas with more reasonable prices and reliable travel links into the central city.

Despite technically being in Essex, Chigwell is actually only twelve miles from central London, and is within Zone 4: hop onto the tube at Chigwell Station, which is on the Central Line, and in half an hour you’ll be at Liverpool Street Station. And if you’re driving, the M11 runs west of the village, taking you to Stansted Airport in just 40 minutes away.

Chigwell Village

Squint a little and you can imagine what Dickens might have seen, looking around the old village. In this part of town you’ll see St Mary’s Church, the Ye Olde King’s Head, and the Georgian houses and cottages that have survived progress.

The designer boutiques, salons and independent vendors lining Brook Parade, by the station, hint at the neighbourhood’s wealth. This part of the village is also home a number of new luxury apartment developments, catering to commuters looking for an option outside London - and perhaps the cachet of living in a village known these days more for footballer’s wives than Dickens.

Who lives in Chigwell?

This is a family area - but Chigwell also attracts its share of London’s rich and famous. Until recently the football training ground was home to Tottenham Hotspurs, and today Leyton Orient Football Club trains here, which has given the area a reputation as the home of footballer’s wives. The most famous resident is without a doubt Alan Sugar, who owns an old mansion here - as well as a popular Turkish restaurant in the village.

“Chigwell’s a wealthy area, with a lot of wealthy people,” says Mert Alton, Property UK’s sales director. He adds that the local market is strong. “Chigwell’s shops, schools and travel links mean there’s no real reason to leave.”

But this is changing. Chigwell property is becoming more and more desirable to families and city commuters looking for luxury property in green areas away from the expense and chaos of the city centre. Although Chigwell property prices are higher than the national average (currently £217,000), they are still in high demand.

“Before London property prices really went through the roof, Chigwell had a reputation as somewhere successful east enders bought mansions. Now, it’s an alternative for London buyers looking for London-calibre luxury property at non-London prices.”

Property in Chigwell

There are about 6000 homes in Chigwell, including a number of large, detached family dwellings, mostly built after the tube reached the area in 1903. Recently, a number of these were demolished to make way for new luxury developments, putting Chigwell firmly on London buyers’ maps.

Chigwell property developments are generally spacious (thanks to lower land prices) with luxury stylings, built with an open plan spec. Family homes are priced from £400,000 to £500,000, while prime properties sell for more than £1million.

Chigwell property stats

  • The average price of a flat in Chigwell in 2016 was £385,109, compared to the London average of £508,195.
  • The average price of a terraced house in Chigwell in 2016 was £399,016, compared to London’s average of £638,844.
  • The overall average price of a property in Chigwell in 2016 was, while London’s average property price was £582,321.
  • Prices in Chigwell rose by 13% last year, compared to London’s 3.7%, and a national rise of 4.5%.

Local and wider infrastructure

Chigwell’s benefitting from the East of England Plan, which is aiming to improve infrastructure in the region. The private sector is also looking East. Large companies like Liverpool Victoria, RSA and International Financial Data Services have established operations in parts of Essex, saving money on their operations - and providing opportunities for workers who are avoiding Central London for the same reason.

Some of the projects that will impact Chigwell and surroundings include:

Third Thames River crossing: this will provide a link between Essex and Kent, easing traffic and speeding up commuter times.

Crossrail: The Elizabeth Line (or Crossrail) will pass just below Chigwell, taking commuters from Shenfield to the central city. Crossrail 2 is also in the pipeline, which will serve Harlow and south Essex.

Airports: Stansted and Southend Airport are both within easy reach of Chigwell. Twenty-four million passengers passed through Stansted last year, and the airport plans to increase this number to 45 million with investment in the hub. Southend Airport is smaller, with less than a million passengers each year. However, the airport is growing steadily since a new terminal and station were built, and new routes are offered, and airport officials expect numbers will increase to two million within the next three years with further redevelopment.

Housing developments: construction is underway under the East of England Plan, which promises the delivery of 400 homes in the parish, within the existing urban area and on released green belt land.

For more information on Chigwell property, contact Mert on +44 (0) 208 344 2339, or email info@PropertyUK.com.

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