Why we really moved to North London…

In December last year, we made the unusual move from South of the river to very far North London. Not a lot of Londoners do that.

It’s so rare that we get asked, pretty much daily, what made us make the move? So I thought I’d put it into a blogpost…

1.  BUDGET

The biggie, really. We were so lucky when we bought our first flat, it seemed SO expensive when we invested (and it was, for what it was!) but fortunately it doubled in value over the 6 years we lived there. You’d think we’d have the choice of anywhere to move to right? Very wrong…our area had gone up so much around us that the next level (a terraced house) was not feasible in any shape or form. The next step for us was double our flat again, which was impossible as our wages hadn’t really increased that much.

We looked on Zoopla and Right Move, basically searched our top budget and just started looking in those areas.

2. CIRCUMSTANCE

Yes, we loved where we lived, but that didn’t mean it defined us. We would’ve stayed if we could (my family are all South London with a family business in Tooting and Chris’s family were nearby in Surrey). My nan’s passing made me realise maybe I didn’t have to stay nearby and in fact, maybe a change would be good. And now we’re excited to get to know a new area.

3. INVESTMENT

We don’t have a pension. And no savings pot. Scary as that sounds. We both wanted to stay in London as we love living here and both work in town, often late evenings too.  We also knew that if we were to make a sensible investment (as we did with our first flat) then we needed to find an up and coming area where we could hopefully make a profit.

4. A PROJECT

As crazy as it might sound, we were excited for a project. With hindsight, it was a bit naive and far more expensive than we anticipated. However, the reason we even managed to afford our house was its condition – the house had no central heating, no working bathroom or kitchen and most rooms were in disrepair. I have never really been one to live in someone else’s decor anyway and as a creative I can always see through the dirt and dust but a bit of a wreck is always on the better side of the budget and gives you more leverage for bargaining.

5. LOCATION

We’ve established that we didn’t really have a choice on location. But when we viewed the house, we could definitely see potential in the area. We had always assumed North London was more expensive than South London, but turns out we were just looking in the wrong places (and listening to the wrong people). North East London is really turning into an exciting, creative area and more and more people I meet are moving to the neighbouring areas of Tottenham, Turnpike Lane and Bowes Park. The shopping city is getting funding for a big regeneration project, too – although it’s already pretty handy as it is (Tiger, Lidl, H&M – who could ask for more?!).

There’s something quite exciting about living somewhere new to us and being part of a new community…and although we’re a bit further away from family, we make more of an effort to see them and actually spend more quality time together instead.

18 Comments

  1. I live in North East London too (Wanstead), and its an excellent place to be! As well as great shopping, there’s Epping Forest, farmers markets, local festivals and great transport links into town – whats not to love! I think you made a great choice. X

  2. A big step! If you’re not from London, you probably wouldn’t appreciate the cultural difference between north and south of the river. We moved from Wimbledon to Wood Green when our daughter was born 18 years ago – we felt like pioneers!

  3. We have moved from Stoke Newington to Tottenham. Not such a big move but we much prefer the diversity of our new area. Majorly recommend a walk around Lordship Rec, lovely park and a cute cafe with decent coffee. I love your new home and find inspiration in your interiors posts, especially the bathroom one.

  4. Have brunch at the Haberdashery in crouch end and Kiva in Palmers Green. Get lunch at Bobs cafe in muswell hill. Grab a coffee at ChrisKitch Muswell Hill. Grab a pub lunch at the Clissold arms east finchley/muswell hill or at the Ranelagh in bounds green.

    So many awesome eateries..
    I’ve moved from Wood Green to Enfield and miss it lots…

  5. Hi Alex,

    Not at all relevant to this post, but I am off to Japan in October and wanted to let you know that I have found your Japan posts very helpful (I’ve pretty much used them as a guidebook), so thanks for those!

  6. Love this! We moved from East to West last year to buy our first flat and it was such a wrench too! And totally know what you mean about the niavety of renovations, but I always think its those that take the plunge and make crazy decisions that benefit in the end! 😉 can’t wait to continue to see progress on the house xxx

  7. I would love to be able to have my own place just so that I could really make it our own instead of worrying about how many holes we are allowed to make in each room, alas, I don’t think I will ever be in a position to buy a house where I live now but who knows what the future may bring. Happy week, Alex

  8. I’ve always lived in North London in the 6 years I’ve been here, absolutely love it – all my friends who are south of the river rave about it but I don’t see it 😉 I love Holloway Road, such an interesting diverse stretch and Finsbury Park is a great green space! Looking forward to see many more of your posts in this area 😉

  9. I completely get your reason for moving. We were in central brighton before (well Hove) and I ABSOLUTELY loved living there but there was no way we could afford a house so we’ve had to move out go the suburbs. It’s not as bad as I expected it to be but definitely a big change. Getting used to it and settling in now though x

    1. Aah Hove is so lovely – but sure the new place is gorgeous too, as much as I’m unsettled in the new area, I love our house and that’s where we are 90% of the time so hopefully I’ll love the area just as much in time! x

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