Since arriving in Ealing and setting up next door to Ealing Common Station in 1994, local estate agent Winkworth Ealing & Acton has seen much change in its 28 years and reflects on the changes both inside homes and outside in the changing landscape.
Terence Long for Winkworth Ealing & Acton shares their findings.
It’s July 1994: John Major is PM, four pints of milk cost 84p, Four Weddings and a Funeral is at the top of the box office, Love is All Around will be number one for another eleven weeks – and you can buy your first flat in Ealing for under £76K.
A lot has changed in Ealing & Acton in the last 28 years, not least property prices. Like the rest of the UK, the area’s housing market has transformed since the nineties, with average property prices rising 567%. In the mid-nineties, a semi-detached home in the area would set you back an average £192,834, while a terraced house cost somewhere in the region of £140K. Fast forward to 2022, and the same properties are fetching £2.4 million and £900K respectively, while that £76K flat would now reach over £400K if sold on today’s market.
Step inside those properties back in 1994 and you’ll find more differences than just the price tag. Conservatories were in as a way to add space to your property, while carpets were out, replaced by functional, easy-clean laminate and hardwood. Interior trends were eclectic, including brightly coloured accessories, fake plants, stainless steel and the occasional lava lamp. Armchairs were either checked or, bizarrely, inflatable, and terracotta was the most popular paint colour for living and dining rooms. The memory foam mattress had only just been introduced, and IKEA was hitting its heyday – you’d be hard pressed to find a home without a Mammut kids chair or Smog table lamp.
There have been plenty of changes to the local area, too. New developments and conversions have increased the number of properties available in this part of London. It’s also more connected than it was 30 years ago, thanks to the completion of the Elizabeth Line earlier this year bringing Crossrail to Ealing Broadway, West Ealing and Acton Main Line stations.
Fiona Lee, the branch’s lettings manager, has been part of the Winkworth team since they established a branch here. Fiona revealed: “Yes, Ealing & Acton has changed, but its community spirit and personality is as strong as ever. It’s made Ealing an in-demand area for those looking for both a London postcode and a neighbourhood with its own identity, and that hasn’t really changed since we opened our branch in 1994.”
She added: “We still see the same diverse mix of people attracted to Ealing & Acton for its character as much as the properties on offer – and although prices have clearly gone up since we started selling here, they are still competitive, especially when compared to other parts of West London.”
Housing developments and transport links aren’t the only things that have changed the landscape of the area. The high street has seen tumultuous change, with 90s essentials like Woolworths, HMV and BHS disappearing in favour of the likes of Smiggle, Bubble tea stores and Amazon opening its first UK branch of Amazon Fresh.
Yet there are some things that haven’t changed. Fashion seems to have come full-circle – hello again, bucket hats and dungarees – and by the end of the year, you should be able to catch a film again at the site of the old EMPIRE cinema on New Broadway, which closed in 2008 but has been part of a redevelopment that includes 200 homes and a Picturehouse cinema. You can also still find the same Winkworth Ealing & Acton Estate Agents, which has stood at the same spot on Uxbridge Road since it opened in the summer of 1994.
Winkworth Ealing & Acton is currently undergoing its own transformation, investing in staff development and qualifications, a full office refurbishment and innovative new ways to reach the local property market, including a new digital marketing initiative, bringing the agency into a new era for Ealing & Acton.