Hackney’s Silicon Roundabout is home to the greatest density of technology firms in the UK, twice more densely packed than its closest competitor in London on the other side of the roundabout and eight times denser than Manchester rival Silicon Mill, a new study has revealed.
The inaugural London Hubs Tracker, a study of every registered business in the country published by Stirling Ackroyd estate agents, shows that London’s EC1V postal district is 50 times more densely packed with tech firms than the rest of the capital (which averages 58 firms per km2), with 3,228 tech firms clustered in every square kilometre.
This is more than twice the second-placed area, neighbouring EC2A on the other side of the Old Street roundabout, where tech businesses are packed at a density of 1,580 per square kilometre.
The study nominates the Silicon Roundabout as the primary technology hub in the whole of the UK and it also identifies a secondary cluster of tech firms stretching from Marylebone High Street, Portland Place and Regent Street to Charlotte Street and Goodge Street, where the peak density is 1,214 tech businesses per square kilometre. This is 62% less than the Hackney hub.
Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, said: “At the bright heart of Britain’s technology industry, there’s an entrepreneurial start-up spirit to the Old Street area that’s creating its own gravitational force.
“Social media is the Bloomberg of the 21st century, HTML is our new lingua franca, and Shoreditch is fast becoming the Canary Wharf of the 2020s.”
Compared to other hubs across the country, the Silicon Roundabout is home to nearly eight times the density of registered technology companies than Manchester’s Silicon Mill, the densest postal district for technology companies outside London, and 16 times the density of tech firms than Birmingham’s Silicon Canal.
Stirling Ackroyd, which manages property in Hackney as well as central London, links the incredible growth in tech firms density in the Silicon Roundabout to the relative affordability of the property market in East London compared to the West of the City.
For instance, an average residential price-tag of £846,000 for a WC postcode stands 20% higher than the equivalent in East Central (EC) postcodes.
However, the average rent per month across all property types in West Central (WC) districts is £3,141 per calendar month, or just 0.4% more than an average of £3,130 for a home in East Central (EC) London.
But turning to the EC1V hotspot specifically, renting a one bed flat costs an average of £2,328 per month, and a two bed flat an average of £2,934 – while renting a one bed flat around the next-ranked tech hotspot in W1 requires an average rent of £4,035 per month. A two-bed flat in W1 commands an average rent of £5,172 per month.
Bridges commented: “A distance of five miles between peak property prices in one part of London and the heart of innovation further east is no accident. Nimble start-ups and a young, innovative population both flourish best in a dense but comparatively affordable environment.
“Property prices in the East and West are still radically different. But as a wave of activity travels through the East End, rents are catching up much faster than purchase prices – which is providing real opportunities for landlords.
“Start-ups are shifting the sands of London property as their employees start to trace a different tube line home. And in even greater numbers, a bigger pool of tenants are attracted by the wider appeal of these new cultural hubs in eastern London.”
Alongside technology-focused activity, the Old Street area also rivals West London hubs for the creative industries. Comprising activities such as advertising, public relations, architecture, design, publishing and the media, such firms can be found in the EC1V area at a density of 1,857 businesses per km2.
This is third place in the entire UK and practically level with the more familiar hotspot of Soho’s W1F district, where creative firms are clustered at a density of 1,858 for every square kilometre.
Meanwhile, the number one hotspot for creative industries in the United Kingdom is W1T in the West End, including the famous advertising hotspot of Goodge Street and Charlotte Street, where there are currently 2,800 such creative businesses per square kilometre.