A wise first-time buy in SW19:the Zone 3 pocket in south-west London with great transport, plenty of green space and better-value homes than neighbouring areas

Colliers Wood passes the green space test, transport's good and shared-ownership flats start at £95k. 

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Way down at the southernmost tip of the Northern Tube line, Colliers Wood is one of those places that locals prefer to describe by its closeness to more glamorous neighbours.

Sandwiched between swanky Wimbledon and cheerful-sounding Tooting, and despite a spirited attempt to re-brand it “Collywood”, this Zone 3 outpost was once overlooked and dirt cheap.

Today, though Colliers Wood remains at the cheaper end of SW19 buyers will need to budget £375,000 to £400,000 to buy a modest one-bedroom period flat.

Aware of this unaffordability to many first time buyers, housing association L&Q is about to launch 42 homes at Morris Court, Prince George's Road, half a mile from Colliers Wood Tube station. Prices start at £95,000 and are aimed at first-time buyers.

The details

For a 25 per cent share of a two-bedroom flat at Morris Court

  • Cost: £125,000
  • Rent: £859.38 per month
  • Service charge: £220.25 per month
  • Mortgage: £587 per month 

HOW CAN YOU PASS THE TIME IN COLLIERS WOOD?

This part of London easily passes the green space test – the slightly uninspiring Lavender Park is at the top of the road, while the National Trust-run, and distinctly more lovely, Wandle Park is probably worth the 10-minute walk, and the wilds of Mitcham Common are a mile away. It is also possible to walk along the River Wandle through to Morden Hall Park, another National Trust open space.

Each of the flats at Morris Court also has private outside space, either a terrace or a balcony.

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From £95,000: for a share of a one-bedroom flat at Morris Court in Colliers Wood

The coffee shop test is a little less successful. There are, of course, a couple of the multinational coffee chains, but Colliers Wood isn’t generally an artisanal coffee and home-made pastry kind of a neighbourhood.  

Shopping is plentiful but basic, mostly along the traffic-choked A24. For a restful afternoon of window browsing, you'll have to hop on a train to Wimbledon.

On the plus side, transport links are good. As well as the Tube to London Bridge taking less than half an hour, Colliers Wood is terminus of London’s first cycle superhighway, with a safe route all the way to Southwark courtesy of Transport for London.

The local offering of pubs and restaurants is improving. On a sunny weekend the garden at the Charles Holden is a great little find, although the gastropub’s Sunday bouncy castle possibly rules it out as aplace for a quiet drink. Coffee in the Wood is the exception to the coffee chain rule, and a very good one too. Rock Star Sushi, Corleone Restaurant, and the Belgian Brasserie are all well reviewed by locals.

ORGANISING YOUR BUDGET

One bedroom flats at Morris Courts start at £95,000 for a 25 per cent share, and the monthly costs come in at just over £1,300. This includes mortgage repayments of round £446, rent at £653.13, and service charge at £220.25.

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Open plan: the kitchen of a flat in Morris Court

A 25 per cent share of a two-bedroom flat starts at £125,000, and buyers must find monthly mortgage repayments of some £587, rent for the portion of the property they don’t own at £859.38, and again, £220.25 service charge, bringing the monthly total to just over £1,600.

There are also some three-bedroom flats available at Morris Court, priced from £161,250 for a 25 per cent share. Monthly costs for these, the largest homes, come in at just over £1,975, once mortgage of about £605, rent of £1,108.59, and service charge of £261.79 are factored in.

WHAT ELSE CAN I BUY?

Pushed upwards by the mansions of Wimbledon the average price of a home in SW19 currently stands at close to £800,000 according to Rightmove.

In "Collywood", however, prices are somewhat more reasonable. Eddisonwhite is currently selling a one-bedroom flat on Robinson Road for £375,000. 

Buyers willing to forgo period features will find their money goes further. Time2Move is selling a one-bedroom flat in a purpose-built block on Heathfield Drive for offers in the region of £259,950. 

For buyers who really need a house rather than a flat, prices jump scarily, particularly on the Wimbledon and Tooting borders. Housesimple has a home in Dryden Road, between Wimbledon and Colliers Wood, priced at £825,000.

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£600,000: a two-bedroom house in Mill Road that's ripe for renovation

However, prices tail off further south. Ludlow Thompson is selling a two-bedroom house in Mill Road for £600,000 with a loft that's ripe for conversion and could create extra space, subject to planning permission.

There are also opportunities for waterfront living. Haart is selling a Grade II-listed workers cottage, originally built for staff at the Liberty fabric works, in Wandle Bank. This property offers less chance for expansion, but is very pretty and priced at £599,950. 


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