Greenwich’s grand Old Royal Naval College is the setting on Saturday March 10 for the first big affordable homes show of the year.
Focusing on properties in south-east London, more than 40 developments, a mix of apartments and houses, for shared ownership and outright sale are being marketed by housing associations and private developers, some within walking distance of the venue - so you can inspect them on the day.
'Some have preconceived ideas about south-east London, but there are more and more converts'
The show is organised by FIRST STEPS, the official “gateway” for affordable homes in the capital. All first-time buyers, not just key workers, earning between £15,000 and £60,000 are eligible for one of these affordable homes.
Typically, applicants must have at least £4,000 in savings to cover the costs associated with buying a home. This amount is in addition to the minimum five to 10 per cent required by a mortgage lender.
About 30,000 homes are listed on the FIRST STEPS website and new developments are added regularly. It offers a simple registration and search service, allowing people to see the homes on a borough-by-borough basis.
Some properties are available “off-plan”, usually several months before they are complete, allowing buyers to organise their move. Saturday’s show is an opportunity to talk face to face with housing providers and get details of government-backed low-cost home ownership schemes, including interest-free equity loans. Specialist solicitors and mortgage advisers will be on hand, too.
Part-buy, part-rent plan
SE postcodes are among the cheapest in the capital - and this includes some buzzing travel Zone 2 districts a short hop from the main employment hubs of the West End, City and Canary Wharf. Well-connected riverside districts such as Rotherhithe are also affordable under part-buy, part-rent schemes, and in some areas prices are low enough to buy outright.
South-east London stretches from Woolwich, via Lewisham, Dulwich and Herne Hill, to Camberwell and Kennington. Beyond the South Circular are leafy inner suburbs such as Earlsfield, Streatham and South Norwood where homes are relatively cheap. “A lot of buyers have preconceived ideas about south-east London, but there are more and more converts,” says Becky Munday of estate agent Wooster & Stock.
“When they discover up-and-coming areas like East Dulwich and Nunhead they’re taken aback by the value for money they can still get. Similar homes north of the river can be twice the price.”
Greenwich, which has Royal Borough status to mark the Olympics, is a development hotspot, with a number of dashing new apartment blocks and regeneration schemes close to the historic town centre, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
A development corridor has opened up to the west of the centre along Greenwich High Road, which runs into up-and-coming Deptford. Vertex Tower is part of the Greenwich Creekside “creative quarter” alongside Laban Dance Centre. Modern glass architecture by Squire and Partners raises the bar. Homes include flats with river and park views. Prices from £91,250 for a 25 per cent share (full price, £365,000) in addition to a monthly rent of £342. Call L&Q housing association on 0844 406 9800.
Central Park, a new development bordering Blackheath, is a council estate transformation. The first phase of 328 homes in jazzy-looking blocks lining a new urban park will be complete later this year.
The homes, including three-bedroom family houses, are being built to high energy-efficiency standards in order to reduce fuel bills and service charges. A district system will supply heating and hot water to all homes, while electricity generated from solar energy will power lifts and communal lighting. Prices start at £62,982 for a 35 per cent share. Visit www.centralparkliving.co.uk or call Family Mosaic housing association on 020 7089 3917.
The same provider is selling shared-ownership flats at a nearby development called One SE8, a former Thames Water site where low-rise blocks are clustered around courtyards. Brooklyn, the final phase, has apartments priced from £195,000 (£68,250 for a 35 per cent share). The scheme, moments from Deptford Bridge DLR, is popular with singles and couples, many working at Canary Wharf, a 12-minute train ride away.
Nearby Lewisham has cheaper homes. Sedona is at Conington Road, moments from the train and DLR stations. One-bedroom apartments cost from £182,500.
Bermondsey’s rougher edges are getting a facelift, too, and there is no better example than Bermondsey Spa, a 50-acre regeneration zone sandwiched between smart Shad Thames and gritty Grange Road. Southwark council and Hyde housing association are spearheading the 2,000-home project.
Launching next month is Parker Building. Apartments have open-plan designs and terraces, some with views of the Shard and Canary Wharf. Prices from £250,000. Show flats are open for viewing. Call 020 7231 1200.
The show at the naval college on Saturday March 10 between 11am and 4pm. Entry is free. Visit www.firststepslondon.org.