In the spotlight: Tower Hamlets

Posted 2 April 2015

This month we take a look at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, one of London’s most active areas in terms of regeneration.

Where is it?

Tower Hamlets is located to the east of the City of London and north of the River Thames. Tower Hill, Whitechapel, Wapping, Bethnal Green, Stepney, Mile End, Bow and the majority of the docklands area including Shadwell, Limehouse and Canary Wharf all fall within its boundaries.

Who lives there?

The 2011 Census survey found Tower Hamlets had the fastest growing population of any local authority in the country, with an increase of 29% since 2001. The total population is now estimated to be in the region of 272,000.

What is the political landscape like?

Of the 45 councillors in the borough, Labour boasts 22 seats, the Tower Hamlets First party has 18, and the Conservatives have five. The borough has experienced significant political controversy in recent years, and petitioners are currently attempting to have the 2014 poll rerun.

What do houses cost?

In the year to May 2014, Tower Hamlets saw the biggest price hike of any London borough – a whopping 43.1%. There are signs than things are beginning to slow down, however, with prices dropping 3.3% last month.

Although the numbers vary between sources, recent figures suggest the average property price in Tower Hamlets is £544,893, with flats selling for £423,196, terraced homes for £727,382 and semi-detached properties for £584,086. Tower Bridge is the most expensive area here, while Lansbury is the cheapest.

Will Crossrail have a big effect?

Yes. Recent research by JLL found that Whitechapel homeowners will enjoy the biggest increase in house prices – 54% over the next five years – of any London stop on the new Crossrail line. Crossrail is set to be completed by 2019, cutting journey times to Heathrow to just 39 minutes, and Canary Wharf to just three minutes. Price increases in Whitechapel are already outstripping those in central London, and there are various residential schemes either under construction or with planning permission that aim to deliver nearly 1900 units in the coming years.

What are the current property trends?

Tower Hamlets is very popular with second-home buyers, with council tax records in 2014 showing 5,003, or one in 22 homes, are not registered as the main residence of their owners. The figure reflects the significant number of Canary Wharf and City employees living in London during the working week before heading to their family home at the weekend.

Are there any regeneration projects underway?

The large-scale regeneration of the borough continues apace, with a range of new schemes in the pipeline.

Bishopsgate goods yard

The Bishopsgate goods yard regeneration hopes to bring 2,000 new homes to the area over the next 10-15 years.

Fish Island

In the east, the council aims to bring 3,000 new homes to Fish Island, close to the Olympic Park. The area is a key component of the plan to develop the wider Hackney Wick area.

Leopold Estate, St Paul’s Way

There are plans afoot to regenerate the Leopold Estate, replacing old blocks with 470 new private sale and affordable homes.

Blackwall Reach

The Blackwall Reach regeneration programme will transform Polar and bring nearly 1,600 new homes to the local area.

Wood Wharf

Wood Wharf is one of the largest proposed regeneration schemes in London, with plans afoot to build up to 4,500 new homes, a school and community centre.


A proposal for 900 apartments in Millharbour was deferred by the council last month, with 35 objections putting a temporary stop to the plans to build a 42-storey tower.

Estate Agent Outlook

Tom Hawkins, associate director of London RDI at Hamptons International

“The market in Tower Hamlets is currently very strong in the £500-£600 per sqft bracket. There is a very strong demand for purchasers seeking good quality new-build stock close to transport links who have been priced out from other areas.”

Carl Schmid, owner of Fyfe Mcdade

“The borough of Tower Hamlets has boomed in the past two years thanks to areas like Bethnal Green and Bow which offer a vibrant atmosphere and good transport links, combined with a lack of pretension and relative affordability against their trendier counterparts. You can still get a decent two-bedroom flat in these areas for under £500,000, while you’d only get a one-bedroom home in Hackney for the same price.”

New Homes

Royal Quay, by Regal Homes

Comprising 90 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, the scheme occupies a former warehouse overlooking the Limehouse Cut – London’s oldest canal. Royal Quay combines canalside living with industrial chic architecture; original brickwork facades juxtapose contemporary design flourishes for optimum style, while courtyards provide centre points for residents. Local pubs include Charles Dickens’ favourite The Grapes, and The Narrow – owned by Gordon Ramsay. Transport links from Limehouse and Westferry deliver commuters to Canary Wharf and the City in minutes.

Prices at the development start from £250,000, offering unrivalled affordability for a central London location.

Find out more at ; 020 7328 7171

Goodman’s Fields, by Berkeley Homes

The latest phase here, Kingswood Gardens, has recently been launched, with prices starting at £735,000.  Comprising over 920 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses, Goodman’s Fields is arranged across seven acres and within walking distance of the City, Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Old Street.

Goodman’s Fields boasts five-star hotel-standard facilities for the private use of its residents, including an onsite indoor pool, spa, state-of-the-art gym, private cinema and business lounge.

Find out more at ; 020 3217 1000


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