By moving five miles south east the couple were able to buy their first home, a two-bedroom flat, last summer.
And while Manor Park can’t compete with Walthamstow’s trendy cafes and bars, they are delighted with their decision.
“All the two bedroom flats in Walthamstow were completely out of our budget,” said Josh, 30, who works in digital marketing. “In Manor Park we could buy a two bedroom flat for much the same price as a one bedroom flat in Walthamstow.”
They were also tempted by Manor Park’s location at the eastern tip of Wanstead Flats, and on the fringes of Essex. “We are both quite into exercise, and the runs around here are amazing,” said Josh.
“We also wanted somewhere a bit more relaxed, and the transport links are already fantastic. Crossrail will be the cherry on the cake which should hopefully add value in the longer term.”
Sannan Khan, a property consultant at Manor estate agents, said that Manor Park’s market has traditionally been dominated by buy to let landlords from London, Manchester, and Leicester, and Birmingham.
Pre-Crossrail, owner occupiers had tended to be locals. But now its good value for money is bringing in people like Josh and Grace from a wider catchment area of east London.
Khan estimates that a typical three bedroom Victorian or Edwardian terrace would cost £450,000 to £550,000, while you could pick up a two bedroom flat for £275,000 to £300,000.
Prices have grown 11.3 per cent last year, outperforming the rest of the eastern section (north) of the line.
Meanwhile renting a two bedroom flat in Manor Park would cost around £1,250pcm to £1,400pcm.
Josh and Grace, 31, who works in public relations, live on the west side of Manor Park and their favourite local hangouts include the converted railway arches on Avenue Road, now home to several independent cafes and a Pilates studio.
“It is also incredibly easy to get to Stratford, Shoreditch, or Liverpool Street,” said Josh.
Less appealing is Manor Park’s de facto high street, the dreary and downtrodden Romford Road.
Its array of empty shops and fast food joints have barely changed since the onset of Crossrail although there are a few green shoots of improvement if you look hard enough.
The exceedingly fancy Old Manor Park Library, one of the oldest free libraries in London, has been converted into artists’ studios, with community spaces and an independent printing press.
Its also worth checking out Café 621, a smashing little Lebanese restaurant, and some of the no frills but excellent Asian restaurants, notably Al Kareem and Kanchans Rasoi.
Pub wise, the Golden Fleece (Capel Road) is opposite Wanstead Flats made this year’s Campaign for Real Ale Good Beer Guide and is the best of the bunch but you are within a short walk of Wanstead and Leytonstone’s clutch of fancy gastropubs too.
Newham Council is aware of the shortcomings of Romford Road and has a drawn up plan to prettify it with improved links for cyclists, more trees and greenery, and upgraded lighting. It wants to see shopfronts smartened up and artists commissioned to create street murals and graffiti.
New house building over the last decade has been close to non-existent, although work has just started on a new low-carbon mini development of just over 80 new affordable homes on High Street North, designed by the award winning architects Haworth Tompkins.