Some of the most luxurious homes in Islington overlook the Regent’s Canal
Highbury and Islington are the closest you can get to the City without having to reside in a flat, which is why lawyers and bankers wanting to have a sophisticated house and a quick commute are still lining up to buy.
Despite the slow market and recession, one agent reports getting 10 offers a week for a £750,000 home in Highbury.
Over the past two decades, the area has developed into becoming more exclusive and blander as well off professionals move into an area previously considered as a bit dodgy and arty.
‘If you live in Islington, you never have to leave it because everything you need there’
But Islington continues to be socially mixed. More than half its population reside in social housing, and state schools are mostly poor. Luxurious terraces stand next to drab estates. For many admirers of Islington, this certain edginess is part of its appeal. Islington is often critiqued for being a bit scrappy, but this is what makes the place exhilarating.”
The Highbury and Islington area
Islington and Highbury are often related together as one area, but architecturally they are rather different. Highbury is mostly Edwardian and Victorian, with solid red-brick homes alongside Baalbec Roads and Calabria nearby Highbury Fields.
By contrast, The Georgian terraces with unique iron railings and fanlights line the squares and streets of Islington, to the west of Liverpool Road.
The area draws affluent professionals (lawyers, bankers, politicians and City workers); childless couples with stable incomes and access to parental funds; first-time buyer, well-off international students; and the successful creative types.
Postcodes: Islington and Canonbury, are usually more expensive than Highbury. N1 (Islington) is about 10% more costly than Highbury (N5).
Best streets in Islington are Colebrooke Row and Duncan Terrace, just after Angel Tube station. Also in demand are Lonsdale Square and Cloudesley Square, in the quieter are of Barnsbury.
Best streets in Highbury are Highbury Terrace and Highbury Place, overseeing the Highbury Fields.
Rising areas: Tatty Essex Road used to be Angel’s poor relation but anymore. Busy and occasionally seedy, the Holloway Road is practical, with lots of Piccadilly line and buses.
What’s new? Newly built homes are still emerging along Islington’s canals and in previous warehouses. The great project is located at City Road Basin on the Regent’s Canal, where unpleasant warehouses have been wiped out and the water space opened out to a community plaza. There are plans of building two soaring luxury flats at the south end of the basin. Work could begin later this year on a neighbouring 16-storey block of inexpensive flats.
Islington Green has had some major renovations, with new seating and sculptures, as well as certain enhancements to Angel are set to carry on under the government-funded Angel Bid improvement project.
Restaurants and shops: Upper Street got duller and smarter over the past two decades as second-hand bookshops and hardware stores gave way to some anticipated chains along Upper Street and in the Angel Shopping Centre. Though some designer clothes boutiques and antique shops are still located at the narrow streets of Camden Passage, and then there’s the wide assortment of restaurants.
Schools: Islington’s secondaries scored least of in GSCE league tables this recent year and well-off residents are directing their children to attend private schools in Highgate, Hampstead or central London instead. The finest state performers are Central Foundation (boys), St Aloysius RC (boys), and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (girls).
Green space and culture: Islington is one of the most modern boroughs in London and green spaces are subtle and small, yet one of the prettiest stretches of the Regent’s Canal flows behind the Duncan Terrace. Further up north, the New River Walk, tracing the course of the river that previously brought fresh water into London, runs through Canonbury. Theatres include the King’s Head are located behind the eponymous pub in Upper Street, and the popular Almeida Theatre is located at Almeida Street.
Transportation: By next year, this already well-connected area will develop even more when its new station on the East London line extension opens to the public, connecting to Hackney, Shoreditch, and even south London.
The local council: Islington is Liberal Democrat-controlled and marks 4 out of 4 under the Audit Commission performance scales.
Average Property Prices
For One-bedroom flat: worth £277,378
For Two-bedroom flat: worth £391,279
For Two-bedroom house: worth £663,406
For Three-bedroom house: worth £890,133
For Four-bedroom house: worth £1.05 million
For One-bedroom flat: worth £246,282
For Two-bedroom flat: worth £373,467
For Two-bedroom house: worth £601,000
For Three-bedroom house: worth £669,190
For Four-bedroom house: worth £899,563
Average Rental Prices
For Two-bedroom flat: worth £450pw
For Three-bedroom house: worth £850pw
For Four-bedroom house: worth £1
For Two-bedroom flat: worth £375pw
For Three-bedroom house: worth £500pw-plus
For Four-bedroom house: worth £850pw-plus