Romford has seen significant regeneration in recent years and is now one of the most popular places to live, work and play.
Romford has experienced enormous change over the years, from its historical roots as a market town, through expansion and industrialisation in the early 20th century, to becoming part of Greater London in the 1960s.
Today, it forms one of the largest retail, commercial and leisure districts outside central London. Following a major regeneration programme, Romford estate agents confirm that it is now becoming a highly desirable area to live.
The town was first recorded in the 12th Century, and its name derives from a wide ford that crossed the river on the main London to Colchester road that evolved into today’s A12.
The town is famous for its market, which was established way back in 1247. Initially a sheep market, in subsequent years, it predominantly served the local agricultural industry, displaying the wares of the numerous nearby corn mills.
As the transportation infrastructure evolved, so did Romford’s strategic significance as an important coaching town. This increased with the advent of the railways, and improved links to London, Colchester, Southend and Tilbury.
In 1965, Romford became part of Greater London, but it has always maintained its own unique identity. The Liberty Shopping Centre was constructed at around the same time, and two additional shopping and leisure centres, Liberty 2 and The Brewery followed in 1990 and 2000 respectively.
The continued investment and regeneration of the town centre means that Romford remains more than just a convenient location with great transport links. Its historic market and modern shopping centres combine to make it the fourth largest retail centre in London, and it attracts more than 25 million visitors each year.
Its growing nightlife appeals both to locals and visitors – around 15,000 of whom arrive every weekend.
The town is also one of London’s few established suburban office centres. 40% of town centre workers are in the office sector.
Living in Romford
Investment in Romford has also extended to the property sector, and there are a number of popular new residential developments within the town centre.
New residents are attracted to all the town has to offer, with easy access to transport links, a thriving local community, a huge range of local shopping and leisure facilities and proximity to attractive green space.
At present, Romford still remains something of a well-kept secret, and property prices are highly competitive compared with locations a few miles in either direction along the London to Colchester corridor.
The majority of sales over the past year were terraced properties, with an average sale price of around £345,000.
One or two bedroom apartments start at around £170,000 and averaged £230,000 over the past year, and semi-detached houses averaged £380,000.
Today, a number of well-presented three bedroom family homes are available in the £300,000 – £350,000 range. However, the imminent arrival of Crossrail along with Romford’s continuing regeneration mean that these prices are likely to increase significantly over the next few years.
This suggests that Romford is not only a great place to live, but right now it also provides superb investment opportunities.