House prices in parts of London known for having lots of green space and 'environmentally friendly' council services have largely outperformed average rises over the past two decades, according to the latest research from Chestertons.
The Chestertons Green Boroughs Research 2015 has Hackney, Haringey and Tower Hamlet topping the pile as London's top three "greenest" council areas. Perhaps surprisingly, Tower Hamlets, which includes Canary Wharf and Docklands, beats Richmond Upon Thames – renowned for its parks and eco-friendly politicians – into fourth place in the table, with Kensington & Chelsea rounding out the top five. There's a strong correlation with average house-price rises, with seven of the top ten matching or exceeding the London average over a 19-year period.
The research uses data from the Mayor's Office that calculates the percentage of households in each borough with access to green space in each London borough, including parks and natural open spaces such as woods, commons, heaths, waterways and marshes. Household recycling rates are also factored in before deducting average carbon emissions to come up with an overall 'Green' ranking. When compared with average prices over almost two decades, it appears higher average price rises generally correlate to those areas that score highly in terms of their overall green rating.
Caspar Bell, Research Analyst at Chestertons, says: "It makes sense that people would choose to live in areas where there are plenty of parks and which are relatively free of pollution and offer a good quality of life. In the light of our findings it's perhaps no surprise the most of the top ten boroughs are currently very sought-after places to live. It would seem the eco-credentials of a given part of London do have a bearing on the area's desirability among owner-occupiers and investors alike.
"We've seen a number of key policies introduced across London across the past two decades, from the Congestion Charge to London Councils' commitment to eradicating landfill by 2020. Successive politicians, not least the current London Mayor Boris Johnson and his would-be successors, have campaigned extensively on green issues – tackling traffic pollution or questioning the effects of airport expansion, for instance. Zac Goldsmith, the Conservatives' candidate to fight next May's Mayoral contest, is well known for his at-times outspoken views on environmental issues.
"We can certainly say that 20 years ago, which is as far back as the relevant house-price data in this study goes, people probably gave much less consideration to things like recycling rates and local air pollution levels when choosing whereabouts in London they'd like to live.
"Of course there are a couple of notable exceptions to the overall trends – Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Enfield all feature in the top ten green boroughs but actually underperformed when set against London average price rises over the period; however, when you consider the booming residential sales and lettings markets in Canary Wharf, Docklands, Greenwich and Blackheath, it's fair to suggest that these areas are currently highly desirable and that property prices will rise strongly over the next five to ten years, making them look very strong investment options."