Long the Cinderella suburb of west London, Acton is sandwiched between popular family neighbourhood Chiswick and the busy White City regeneration zone. But the advent of the Elizabeth line — formerly Crossrail — is finally eroding long-held prejudices against this sprawling, slightly down-at-heel location.
The prospect of fast new direct train links to the West End and City has driven up average W3 prices from £337,000 to just under £500,000 in five years, according to Rightmove.
Developers have also begun to notice Acton, with schemes including Countryside Property’s £600 million redevelopment of the 53-acre South Acton Estate. Private one-bedroom flats at Acton Gardens, as the estate is now known, are on sale from £435,000.
A key benefit of shared ownership, aimed at households earning less than £90,000, is that it helps buyers defeat the deposit trap. London first-time buyers currently put down more than £90,000 in deposit to get on the ladder, according to a study by Halifax.
A 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat at Acton Gardens costs £105,000, and a 10 per cent deposit comes in at £10,500. Some lenders will offer mortgages with a five per cent deposit, but rates will be higher.
Three-bedroom homes are also for sale, with 25 per cent costing £157,000. This means a 10 per cent deposit of £15,700. As well as mortgage repayments, buyers will pay monthly rent of £591 and £262 service charge.
Buying at Acton Gardens on a shared-ownership basis can be cheaper than renting locally. Buy 25 per cent of a one-bedroom flat and monthly costs will be £495 repayment on a £94,500 mortgage at 3.92 per cent over 25 years, plus rent of £328 and £169 service charge, totalling £992. However, according to the London Assembly, median monthly rent on a one-bedroom flat in W3 is £1,257 — so you could save £265 a month.
Acton is gaining status now, fuelled by rising prices in nearby Chiswick and Ealing as well as the Crossrail effect, says Cathy Lloyd, sales and marketing director at L&Q.
“With reports showing that Londoners require an average salary of over £106,000 to purchase their first home, shared-ownership homes at Acton Gardens offer first-time buyers a chance to get on to the housing ladder in a sound investment area, with a considerably smaller deposit required.”
Acton Gardens is a mile and a half from the Elizabeth line at Acton Main Line station, while Acton Town Tube station, in Zone 3, is 11 minutes’ walk away, with Piccadilly and District line services into central London.
Gunnersbury Park is half a mile away, and the development itself features landscaped gardens and squares, plus sports facilities and some shops.
A downside of Acton Gardens, other than its location next to railway lines, is a lack of nearby cafés, pubs and restaurants. But Chiswick High Road offers plenty of nightlife and shopping a mile and a half away, 10 minutes by Tube.