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Borough Analysis: Developments in Hackney in the 21st Century - the most in demand borough in London?

Hackney in the 21st Century

Once a mottled tapestry of gleaming palaces, emerald brooks and quaint villages that provided an escape for the Tudors, Hackney, perhaps more so than any of London's other boroughs, has been in a perpetual state of flux. Putting aside its rich 16th century heritage, Hackney's evolution over the last 15 years has been just as stark. Until recently it was one of the most deprived and crime riddled boroughs in the capital and yet a focused look at the shifting property market of the area over the last 15 years illustrates just how much Hackney has changed in a relatively short space of time.


Hackney property affordable for buyers with a budget of £250,000 (adjusted for inflation) since 2000:

In 2015, a First Time Buyer with a budget of £250,000 can only afford 12% of all of the properties sold in Hackney. At the turn of the century, a buyer with the equivalent budget (£181,000 taking into account inflation) could have afforded 72%. Gradually colonised by creatives and modern day bourgeois, Hackney's latter day tale is indicative of the gentrification of London's boroughs.

Between 2000 and 2005, the number of properties available to those with a budget under £250K plummeted from 70% to 40%. Although social tensions remain, the regeneration of the area has played a fundamental role in making it one of the most sought-after boroughs to live in for those with the coffers to capitalise.

Hackney Property Affordability Graph 250k Budget

Property transactions in Hackney vs London (Indexed)

During the darkest moments of the recession between 2005 and 2010 London endured a turbulent time, and yet Hackney managed to emerge with a developing property market desirable to the financial sound. The region continued to experience rising house valuations, which subsequently priced the vast majority of First Time Buyers out of the market. Whilst the rest of London experienced a serious dip of 40% in the level of transactions during this turbulent period, Hackney's transaction levels dropped by less than 20% even as affordability was shrinking:

Hackney property transaction index since 2000

Hackney property affordable for buyers with a budget of £350,000 and £450,000 since 2000 (inflation adjusted)

We saw the impact of this high demand between 2010 and 2015 as bigger flats and houses became dramatically more expensive. In 2010, 60% of all of the properties sold that year would have been affordable for a buyer with £350,000, whereas in 2015 this number had nosedived to 28%. Even at £450,000 which is a budget far outside most home buyers dreams only 54% of properties would be affordable:

Hackney Property affordable for buyers with 350k and 450k graph

Average price of flats and houses in Hackney since 2000

Flats in Hackney have maintained the same rate of growth as London but houses in Hackney have skyrocketed in the last five years. The gradual gentrification, for want of a better word, between the five years from 2005 to 2010 has seen more and more families identify the borough as a place to setup a home. This has fuelled the significant rise in house prices whilst flats have maintained their steady rate of growth:

Graph showing average hackney property prices by type

2008 was the tipping point for the cultural melting pot of Hackney, since it became even more expensive for first time buyers and more so than the average borough in London.

Although it still remains a borough of extremes, where wealth and poverty is palpably pronounced, the shifting landscape of Hackney, epitomised by the evolution of Broadway Market, has attracted young professionals to the area like Henry VIII to a full goblet of mead.


​Did you know?

The name Hackney is not referenced until the 12th century, but this fluid borough can certainly trace its name to much earlier, as evinced from the ‘tun’ of Dalston and Clapton and the ‘wic’ of Hackney Wick. Some historians believe the borough was so named due its standing on raised ground, or an ‘ey’, hence Haca’s ey.

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