Brixton is one of the homes hotspots along the Victoria line, and the arcade-style market in Electric Avenue has a fantastic range of high-quality food outlets
When it was built in the Sixties, the Victoria line was the first entirely new Tube route in London for 50 years. It covers only Zones 1, 2 and 3, and in terms of the average number of journeys per mile it is by far the most intensely used line in the network, with 200 million passengers each year. It is also the only major Tube line to run entirely underground.
Gemma Shah, who lives in Brixton and works for a West End property company, is a big Victoria line fan. “I call it the Blue Bullet and consider myself to have the nicest of all commutes. It takes me only 13 minutes to get to Oxford Circus and I always get a seat.”
She says the quick hop was a big reason for buying her two-bedroom garden flat. “I have lots of friends living north of the river who I can get to from Brixton in 25 minutes. I can’t imagine trading that convenience for another area of London.”
Brixton was once a sedate Victorian suburb, but later fell on hard times. The riots of the Eighties turned it into a no-go residential zone for many but its renaissance is under way, cemented by a new generation of young and more affluent buyers adding to the cosmopolitan mix. It is a truly urban place — the nearest thing in London to the downtown districts common in American cities, with all that implies.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICES ALONG THE VICTORIA LINE
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One of the newer attractions is Brixton Village — a lively arcade-style market in Electric Avenue winning plaudits for its diverse range of high-quality food outlets.
The lure of the period home is strong but new builds such as 107-home Brixton Square in Coldharbour Lane have come to the area. Two-bedroom flats cost from £525,000. Call Winkworth on 020 3324 7427.
£495,000: contemporary space-efficient homes at Tagus Apartments in Stockwell. Call 0207 664 6649
Tagus Apartments in Lingham Street are moments from the Tube and named after the river that runs through Lisbon, as this part of south-west London is known as Little Portugal. The eight space-efficient flats in this contemporary-design block include a penthouse with a big terrace, and are priced from £495,000. Call Jackson-Stops and Staff on 0207 664 6649.
Vauxhall, the Victoria line’s next stop on the south side of the river, is at the heart of London’s biggest and most dramatic construction project — the 450-acre Nine Elms zone, where a new riverside district is being built.
CROSSING THE RIVER
Property values jump once the line crosses the Thames, before falling again as the train heads north-east from King’s Cross to Walthamstow.
Victoria is another central London district getting a big, splashy makeover, with outdated office blocks being bulldozed to make way for gleaming mixed-use developments such as Nova, a 5.5-acre island site right opposite the station that includes 170 apartments. Call Savills on 020 7409 8701.
From £1.4 million: homes at Riverwalk in Millbank. Call 020 7861 5499
Waterfront apartments are for sale at Riverwalk, close to Tate Britain. Prices from £1.4 million. Call Knight Frank on 020 7861 5499.
From £1.5 million: City North, in Finsbury Park, has direct access to local restaurants and amenities. Call 020 7087 5536
City North, with 308 homes, is being built right next to the station, and will include a Waitrose branch, restaurants, bars, cinema and gym. It launches in June, with prices from £300,000 to £1.5 million. Call 020 7087 5536.
Tottenham, despite its rough image, is a place to watch. Regeneration is beginning to make a difference and it remains one of the cheapest Zone 3 locations. Where else in London can you buy a studio apartment for less than £150,000, or a decent, three-bedroom Victorian house for less than £350,000 — and still be in the West End or the City in 20 minutes?
Hale Village, next to Tottenham Hale station, is Haringey borough’s biggest development project since the Sixties, with 1,200 new homes, a student campus, a primary school, hotel, retail and office space. The 12-acre site borders protected parkland and the Lea Navigation, a once-vital canal route running into Docklands, meaning there will be waterfront homes.
Worth a wager
Investment-wise, Walthamstow looks a decent bet. Values are relatively low, with pockets of sensibly priced Victorian and Edwardian housing with gardens — those on the Warner Estate are sought-after — and town centre improvements, including new bars and eateries.