Tower Hamlets Property Investment Guide

A high-flying economy with high-earning tenants

Tower Hamlets includes much of London’s redeveloped Docklands area, together with the capital’s financial centre of Canary Wharf, which is home to some of London’s tallest buildings. One Canada Square, also known as Canary Wharf Tower, stands at an impressive 244 metres high, and is the second tallest habitable building in Britain.

As Tower Hamlets is situated adjacent to the City of London and home to Canary Wharf, a great many international financial businesses have either global headquarters or major offices in there. As a result the area has one of the highest average incomes in the UK. So it’s a great place to find affluent tenants looking for rentals close to work.

Property prices throughout the borough are above the London average and it is the 11th most expensive overall. However, local prices compare very favourably with the adjacent boroughs, at 20% lower than Hackney and & 13.5% less than Southwark.

A 10 year regeneration master plan underway in the Whitechapel area. By 2025 the council plans to make 3,500 new homes, 5,000 new local jobs, 7 new public squares as well as upgrades to Whitechapel Road, including an enhanced market and a new civic centre.

The borough of Tower Hamlets has a population of around 256,000 people, which is a rise of around 26% over the last ten years. This regeneration will only continue to draw more tenants to the area.

Transport connectivity throughout Tower Hamlets is excellent. The A12 and A13 both start in the borough and provide excellent routes out of the London area.

There are also plenty of bus services operating both day and night, covering the region and beyond. Rail services include the Docklands Light Railway and London City Airport is only 4km away.

With the arrival of Crossrail in Whitechapel and Canary Wharf in 2018 house prices and rents look set to soar.

Property research giants JLL predict that Whitechapel will be the main beneficiary of the entire Crossrail project. They also expect a 53.6% house price rise from 2014-2020 with rents rising just under 40% in the same period.

Similarly, house prices in Canary Wharf are anticipated to grow by 43.7%, with rentals increasing around 30%.

So if you’re looking to profit from Crossrail, Tower Hamlets property investment could be ideal for you.

Economy & Employment

Financial institutions are major economic drivers in Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets is bordered by the city on its western boundary and Hackney to the north. Newham is to the east, separated by the River Lea, the boroughs of Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich lie to the south, separated by the Thames.

Like many other regions, Tower Hamlets grew and prospered from the industrial revolution to the Victorian era with the influx of migrant workers who brought with them new skills.

Eventually, the areas of marsh were drained, the docks were improved and the patches of farmland were developed, effectively joining the villages together, increasing the spread of the city.

Known as the ‘East End’, the region was originally a series of villages clustered around the city boundaries. The area was predominantly farmland, marshland and small riverside communities that served the needs of the shipping industry.

The docks have seen both a rise and fall in fortunes through the years from their opening in 1802 when they were the major centre for import and export to and from India. They declined in the 1960s with the development of the shipping container and were finally closed in 1980. Today Tower Hamlets is an area of colour, contrast and diversity, with a great deal to attract visitors and residents.

There are more than 150 unusual, quirky and independent shops in the region, these offer a diverse range of cutting-edge, vintage and retro fashions, designs and gift stores, ranging from clothing, jewellery, food, musical instruments, perfumes and sporting goods.

The region is also well-known its markets including Columbia Road’s Flower Market, Spitalfields and the Brick Lane flea-market.

Investment

Renowned names such as J.P. Morgan, HSBC Holdings, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse Group, Citigroup and Thompson Reuters have offices in the borough.

The arrival of Crossrail in Whitechapel in 2018, has an average rental growth forecast of 5.5% per annum.

The area is currently undergoing major regeneration, through the Whitechapel Vision master plan. This is centred on the creation of a 21st Century civic hub connected via the new Whitechapel Crossrail station interchange.

One of the largest new housing projects in the area offers a mix of 462 homes, it was recently crowned the Best Apartment building for 2013 at the Sunday Times British Homes Awards. It has also generated hundreds of jobs and helped many local people find work in construction and other related industries.

The West India Docks and part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are within the borough’s boundaries, as is the Tower of London which contributes over £1 billion a year to the country’s foreign tourism revenue. Such attractions make a significant contribution to the local economy.

Transport

Air: London City Airport is a mere four miles to the east of the borough, making it an extremely popular business destination. The airport handles in the region of 3.6 million passengers a year and flies to over forty destinations.

Rail: Services are excellent in Tower Hamlets. The Docklands Light Railway, Tube and Overground run to many areas of the borough. When open Crossrail will provide swift links to central London from Canary Wharf and Whitechapel.

Road: Connectivity throughout the borough is excellent, with the A12 and A13 both starting in the borough, providing excellent routes in and around the London area and beyond.

Bus: Being this close to the city, there are plenty of bus services operating throughout the day and night, covering the region as well as further afield.

Education

Tower Hamlets has 82 primary schools, 23 secondary schools, 20 independent schools and 2 further education colleges in its catchment area.

Notable schools include: Central Foundation Girls’ School in Bow, caters for girls from the age of 11 to 18 years. Rated well by Ofsted,

The inspectors also praised the headteacher for her inspirational leadership.

George Green’s School on the Isle of Dogs caters for pupils between the ages of 11 and 19. The school offers GCSEs and vocational courses along with A levels and the IB Diploma Programme.

St. Paul’s Way Trust School is a co-educational comprehensive school, catering for pupils from the age of 4 up to 18. In 2013 it was described as ‘outstanding in every category’ by Ofsted inspectors.

Further and Higher Education: There are around nineteen establishments covering the further and higher education needs of the borough. The Tower Hamlets College is a large college with four different campuses in the borough, it offers vocational and academic programmes, including A levels, BTECs, International GCSE English and Maths, and GNVQ and ESOL courses.

Shops & Leisure

Shopping & Dining: There is a huge variety of unusual, quirky and independent shops in the region, offering a diverse and colourful range of fashions, gifts, jewellery, food, and much more. The region is also well-known for its many markets, from the Columbia Road Flower Market to Spitalfields, open seven days a week, and where every day is a different market.  Then there’s the fresh fruit and veg market at Roman Road to the world famous Brick Lane flea-market, with its bustling vibrant eclectic mix of wares.

Sport & Culture: Mile End Park hosts an athletics stadium and many other sport facilities. Wapping has a Sports Centre and there are pools at Mile End, St. Georges, Limehouse and Bethnal Green. Part of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is in the Tower Hamlets borough and is where you can follow in the footsteps of the 2012 medal winners. There is also a good selection of libraries, galleries and museums in the borough.

Green Spaces: Tower Hamlets has a great selection of parks, gardens and open spaces for you to enjoy, from Mile End Park to Victoria Park they offer children’s play areas, leisure and recreational facilities, to nature reserves, walking trails and live events. The borough has won many awards for the quality and management of its parks and open spaces, including six Green Flag Awards.

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