At Rentonomy, we broadly define Central London broadly as tube zones 1 and 2. The area stretches from Hammersmith in the West, to Canary Wharf in the east and from Clapham in the south to Finsbury Park in the north.
The area contains prime central London which is one of, if not the most expensive area to live in in the world. This area is roughly equivalent to tube zone 1 and stretches from St Johns Wood in the north to Chelsea in the west, city of London in the east with the River Thames forming its southern border.
Within prime central London is an area known in the property world called “super prime”. Super prime has grown significantly in the last few decades from a small area of Mayfair and Belgravia to pretty much any all areas touching Hyde Park. After the world economy hit choppy waters after 2008 huge volumes of international capital flowed to super-prime London. The phenomenon was also spurred on by geo-political events, most especially the ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions. London was, and is seen as a safe place to invest money because of its desirability as a place to live, it’s excellent education establishments and it’s relatively stable political environment. The result is that now a large proportion of property in central London is in the hands of foreign investors and prices have risen exponentially.
Outside of prime central London, the area is mainly split into north, south-west and east. There are about 15 villages within each of these zones and I won’t describe all of them here, I’ll choose three areas in each which are most representative - please see Discover London for more specific details.
The northern part of central London is dominated by Islington, Finsbury Park and Hampstead. Islington has a very traditionally urban feel to it. Up to the 1960’s it was decaying but in the following decades it became gentrified and is now very popular with ‘baby bankers’ - young people working in financial services. Relative to Islington, Finsbury Park is a little rougher around the edges, a little further out and a little less well connected which all means it’s a bit more affordable. This area is dominated by young people with a little less spending power but who are still keen to live as centrally as possible. Hampstead is a very well-to-do suburb, traditionally seen as the literary centre of London. Perched as it is on a hill, it’s long been desirable, not least because the sewage could easily run down hill before proper sewerage came into being.
The main hubs in the south west part of central London are Clapham, Fulham and Shepherd’s Bush. Clapham used to be synonymous with “average”, the old-fashioned term for “the man on the street” was “that man at the back of the Clapham omnibus”. However now it is rather above average, at least in terms of affordability. Prices have been pushed ever higher by graduates moving there for the fun nightlife (of which there is plenty) and then buying up property, often with the help of Mum and Dad. The area, like a lot of the south west is very popular with people from the UK - the census shows its full of white UK born folk. Fulham has changed dramatically just in the last few years. when prices in prime central London rocketed after 2008, a lot of domestic demand was pushed out of the prime centre and Fulham became an over-spill area for Chelsea. the result is that many now consider it a part of prime central London. Shepherd’s Bush has likewise become a spill-over area for Notting Hill. Being on the central line, it is fantastically well connected and the construction of Westfield has made Shepherd’s Bush to Oxford Street what Canary Wharf is to the City of London - an overspill hub.
The main areas in the east are Canary Wharf, Hackney and Shoreditch. Canary Wharf is London’s over-spill financial centre (the main centre being the City of London). It is home to skyscrapers and a growing number of new build high rise residential blocks. As a result it’s obviously popular with young people working in financial services, but increasingly popular with young renters from south-east Asia for whom new build towers are often particularly desirable. While the area is neat and tidy with excellent transport connectivity, some find it a touch soulless and a little boring. Shoreditch has risen hugely in popularity in the last decade. Throughout the 90’s it was a trendy inner city enclave, popular with artists and anyone looking for cheap central accommodation. However it’s brand has now translated into high property prices and rents. Furthermore improvements to the transport infrastructure have compounded the effect and the sorts of interesting people who made the area attractive have now been largely priced out. Hackney (by which we mean the area around Hackney central, not the whole borough) is still relatively affordable. The area, along with Newham was host to the 2012 Olympics and has benefitted from the investment in new housing. While the urban fabric is still quite rough around the edges, many residents remain very proud of their Hackney and it is very much the heart of the “real’ east end.
Central London has a population of 2,410,433 which means it is the most populous of the 8 Rentonomy compass zones and comprises 67 Rentonomy areas. The most populous area in Central London is Willesden (NW10) with a population of 76,224. The least populous area is Wapping (E1W) with a population of just 10,486. The average age in this area is 32.57 which is 7.6% below the London average.
We give wealth levels in the area a Rentonomy rating of 2.06 out of 5 (1 being the wealthiest) which is 3.4% above the London average.
So what else do the numbers tell us about Central London. Average rents, based on a 2 bedroom property, range from £1000 in Marylebone & West End to £242 in Clapton. The crime rate here is 68.3% above the London average but it’s worth remembering the area includes huge tourist areas and nightclubs which create more crime everywhere in the world.
We give pubs in the area a Rentonomy rating of 8.3 which is 86.8% above the London average. We give coffee shops in the area a Rentonomy rating of 8.2 which is 83.6% above the London average. We give restaurants in the area a Rentonomy rating of 8 which is 74.7% above the London average. We give the quality of the retails shops in the area a Rentonomy rating of 8 which is 74.2% above the London average.
35.1% of local people in Central London were not born in the UK ranking it 1 out of 8 Rentonomy compass areas as most international area of London, North West London being the most international at number 1. The most common country of origin (excluding the UK) is Republic of Ireland, followed by Bangladesh and Nigeria. When it comes to languages spoken, the most common language spoken in homes in this area (except English) is Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) followed by French and Polish.
31.1% of homes in the area are rented privately while 32.8% are owner occupied and 32.9% are social rented. Regarding types of housing, flats account for 56.1% of homes in the area while houses account for 43.9%. Of these houses, terraces represent 20.6% of the total, semi-detached 15.8% and detached 7.3%.
In regards to employment, the average job grade here is 4.4 (1 being the fanciest professional jobs and 10 being the more menial jobs, as defined by the Office for National Statistics) meaning residents of Central London are ranked 5 out of 8 Rentonomy compass zones for average job grade, 1 being the area with the highest grade of workers. The most common field of employment here is Lower managerial, administrative and professional occupations which employs 24% of the population.
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