News | Borough by Borough 2020: London Living

CBRE has launched its annual London residential research report, Borough by Borough.

London, 26 October 2020 - Now in its 7th year, Borough by Borough is CBRE’s guide to the housing market and lifestyle in each of London’s 33 boroughs.

Borough by Borough provides information on leisure and lifestyle measures for each borough, including the number of shops, restaurants, outstanding primary schools, and the average internet download speed.

Mark Collins, Residential Chairman at CBRE said:

 This year brought about massive changes in our lives, and as we spent more time at home, both our properties and the areas we live in have become more important than ever. When we consider a home move, whether it’s to a new area or a new city, we look beyond house prices and rents, we want to know much more about our potential new neighbourhoods. We seek out the information about the things that matter to us, such as local amenities and good schools.  With an area of 1,569 km2 and a population of nearly 9 million, finding the perfect corner of London for you might seem daunting. But now in its 7th year, Borough by Borough by CBRE offers a starting point, a taster of what each London borough offers. From vibrant high streets to leafy green parks, from hubs for entrepreneurs to leaders in sustainability, there’s a London for everyone.


Staying at home

With people staying closer to home for much of the time from March, local amenities and community came into their own. Local high streets were indispensable particularly in the early days of lockdown, with shops, restaurants and pubs providing vegetable boxes, meal kits and food delivery services to their communities. Borough by Borough includes information about the top shopping streets across London, from the market town of Romford in Havering to Columbia Road Flower Market in Tower Hamlets.

Charles Lloyd, a senior director in CBRE’s residential Private Office, lives in Primrose Hill in the borough of Camden. He said:

We stayed in London through lockdown, and although the theatres were shuttered and the restaurants were closed, we developed even more appreciation for our neighbourhood.  While people driving to big supermarkets had to queue around the block, our local shops and delis did a fantastic job of keeping their supplies going, and diversifying to stock all the essentials we needed.


Staying connected

Speedy and reliable internet is a modern necessity. CBRE’s Borough by Borough provides at an at glance guide to the areas with the best average download speeds. Wandsworth has the fastest averages (67 Mbps), followed by a cluster around the north west, with Hillingdon, Harrow and Hounslow all with average internet download speeds of between 44-48 Mbps. Hounslow is also among the boroughs in easy reach of the major technology hub stretches out through the towns on the M4 corridor from London.

Technology has helped support communities during lockdown, as digital applications brought us together when meeting in person wasn’t possible. Neighbourhood Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups had offers to help and for assistance with supplies, and people volunteered to do shopping for those who were shielding and provide food bank donation points.


Going green

The move to a more sustainable lifestyle is reflected across London. CBRE has conducted research into the energy efficiency of our homes. Residential buildings are responsible for the lion’s share of emissions produced by the real estate sector. Making a few adjustments to increase the energy efficiency of our homes means they cost less in energy bills, are more pleasant to live in, and are good for the planet too.

Barking and Dagenham is among the councils helping residents live more sustainably. It has turned its focus to ensuring homes have access to affordable renewable energy systems like heat pumps, solar panels, insulation and electric charge-points as the borough moves to become carbon neutral by 2050. The sustainability agenda has a positive impact on jobs in London too, for instance, Dagenham’s London Sustainable Industries Park hosts the UK’s largest cohort of environmental industries and technologies, highly attractive to investors and a cluster for green jobs.


Being Active

A recurring theme in CBRE’s borough profiles is the abundance of parks and open spaces, allowing residents to get out and get active. For instance, Redbridge is jam-packed full of award-winning parks and woodlands walks including Hainault Forest Country Park, while the north London borough of Enfield has the New River Loop, the longest length of river corridor in London.

Shaun Macnamara, head of London development sales in CBRE’s residential team, lives in Hackney with his wife and two children. He said,

A couple of the parents we’re friends with from my son’s school moved out to Hertfordshire but have now moved back to Hackney. They enjoy cycling and thought moving to the country would allow them to have a more active lifestyle, but instead they felt cut off. During the week they were more reliant on the car to do school drops offs and get to the train station, so all their leisure activities had to be on the weekends. I think it’s easier in London to make cycling or walking part of your normal day.


Family friendly

Earlier this year, research by CBRE looked at the impact of the working from home (WFH) trend on the housing market

Jennet Siebrits, interim head of research at CBRE said,

Given fewer days in the office, employees will have more flexibility over where they live. However, this doesn't mean a mass exodus, as cities will remain our higher education, leisure, social and cultural epicentres. Established migration trends in and out of UK cities are likely to remain. Young professionals arriving for employment opportunities will continue to favour central locations. Families moving out in search of more space and schooling options - the 30-44 age cohort and their children - account for some 65% of net outward migration.


Those raising families in London have many great places to choose from. CBRE’s Borough by Borough profiles found a number of areas renowned for being family friendly, including Clapham in Wandsworth’s “nappy valley”, while the borough of Barnet in north London is in high demand for young families, with its 40 ‘outstanding’ schools and an abundance of sports facilities.


Being inspired

Above all, CBRE’s annual look across London’s boroughs shows us a city brimming with variety, energy and creativity.

Ros Weaver, knowledge manager in CBRE’s residential team, lives in south east London with her husband and likes spending time in Southwark. She said,

We moved back to London after spending lockdown (5 months) on my parents’ farm because we missed it so much! Now we’re back, we can sit and people-watch from the window of Jose in Bermondsey Street. Whether their look is vintage, smart, chic, or a posh boy with no socks on, almost everyone walking past has made maximum effort. The people are international, cool, funky - they are inspirational. We sit and soak in all these gorgeous people living their best lives.


For more inspiration, please see Borough by Borough 2020