London is one of the most diverse and all-encompassing cities in the world, with people from all walks of life resident in the capital. No matter where you look, you're likely to see a different lifestyle or trend on display. Nowhere else in the city is this more evident than in the difference between the East and West of London.
Despite their reasonably close proximity, the two areas of the capital offer something very different in terms of lifestyle. While the West is quintessentially British and classic, what with the high-end fashion and the equally high-end architecture on offer, the East of London is home to the trendy young arty types, with emerging areas like Brick Lane and Shoreditch home to vintage fashion and retro styles that are on trend at the moment.
But despite their differences in trends and fashion, there are some things that link the two areas quite well - namely property prices. Whether it's the classic architecture or vintage properties, the price war between the two areas is evident, with values rising significantly in each of the last few years. But where are the best areas in the East and West for price increases, and which is performing best overall? We take a look at the East v West property markets.
Home to the rather plush boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, it's not hard to see that the West of London is an area in high demand, and here it is the traditionally strong locations that perform strongest.
According to Savills, Kensington and Chelsea property prices "have grown a phenomenal amount in the past five years", with prime assets in these areas having seen quick rises time and again in the last few years. In the past 12 months alone, the price of properties in the popular area have risen by some 9.5 per cent, according to the Land Registry, showing just how strongly they are performing.
That being said, some newer areas in the West of the capital are also now starting to pick up pace. Ealing, for example, has become something of an inner city suburban dream, with middle-class families increasingly able to find homes to suit their needs not too far away from the centre of London.
As recently as the start of 2014, it was possible to get a detached house in Ealing for as little as £850,000 - a steal in London - but prices have climbed by 6.1 per cent already in the year to date, with flats in particular having seen a real upturn in sales numbers, which has pushed prices ever higher as an increasing number of high net worth individuals move to the area.
Living in East London
In the East London area, property prices are generally relying on the trendy newer areas that young artistic types gravitate towards, rather that the traditionally popular sites that bring in the best prices in West London.
In the past year, we've seen the price of homes in edgy Shoreditch overtake those in evidence in traditionally safer areas such as Notting Hill in the West End. According to Zoopla, the average price for Shoreditch's one-bedroom flats comes in at more than £520,000 at present, compared to around £509,000 in Notting Hill.
Another gem in the East of London comes in the form of conversions. The likes of warehouses and unused industrial units are frequently turned into galleries and more recently homes, and in the past couple of decades, these have seen impressive increases. Hackney and Tower Hamlets have both hugely outpaced the growth seen in Kensington and Chelsea in recent times.
And the Olympic Games in the East of the city also had a really important impact. According to the latest report published by Lloyds, homes around the Olympic park area have seen rising prices of 60 per cent since the Games were first awarded to London in 2005. They have also generally grown by an average of some £60,000 since the summer of 2012, indicative of how well the East has grown in recent times.