Gentrification is a slow process. It takes most areas ten to twenty years to make the transition from down trodden to desirable, and sometimes even longer. Dalston though is an exception to this rule and seems to have somehow fast tracked. In the space of about four or five years, it has become extremely cool and a great hub for arty types who can’t afford Clerkenwell, Shoreditch or Hoxton for home buyers.
Dalston is centred around the high street, specifically Kingsland Road, which runs south to Shoreditch and North to Stoke Newington, and where grubby shops and pubs have given way to trendy bars, cafes, clubs and boutiques. Some of the cash funded from the Olympics has created a new railway station – Dalston Junction – on the East London line, and trains run frequently to West Croydon and Crystal Palace via Canada Water and Surrey Quays.
Connections to the City, West End and Canary Wharf are already good: the Jubilee line, Victoria line and DLR can all be picked up within a few stops – and they’re about to get even better. The area’s other station, Dalston Kingsland, is on the North London line, linking Stratford and Richmond, and there are numerous buses. Dalston is in Zone 2, and an annual Travelcard into Zone 1 costs £1,168.
At the heart of the regeneration scheme sits Dalston Square, a huge development featuring a public square, shops, restaurants, a library and archives as well as the well renowned station.
Most of Dalston’s housing is somewhat older – a typical inner city mix of Victorian and ex local authority properties, plus a smattering of Georgian buildings. The spacious 19th century houses in the streets of Kingsland Road were long ago converted into flats, and home buyers after period family houses head to the conversation areas in pricey London Fields or De Beauvoir Town. These houses have remained the same but other aspects of Dalston have changed enormously.
Dalston’s upturn is reflected in property prices. A one bed period flat starts at around £270,000 and two beds range from £350,000 to more than £600,000. People who live on the N1 side want to say and announce they live in Dalston, whereas in the past they would have called it Islington. The areas trendiness is reflected in the letting market too. One bedroom flats start at around £1,000 per month, so there’s something in the area for all, even if you are on a budget.