As buyers find themselves increasingly priced out of Clapham and East Dulwich, an unlikely neighbourhood south of the river is starting to seem like a great first-time option, and one of the few places left in the capital where you can buy a home for less than £100,000.
Catford is not glamorous, but it is affordable and is due to be revamped, so it will become a good bet for buyers keen to see their investment value grow. Lewisham council plans to regenerate the town centre, currently a rather sad affair with a proliferation of empty buildings and pound shops, while Transport for London has vowed to improve roads.
Major new housing developments include Prospect Quarter, which is being built on the site of the former Catford greyhound stadium.
Housing association Peabody has 38 shared-ownership properties for sale on the site. They will be ready to move into at the end of next month and priority will be given to those already living or working in south-east London. Another 22 shared-ownership homes on the site will go on sale at the end of October.
“It is the last bastion of really affordable homes that is close to London,” says Martin Fillery, head of affordable homes at Currell, which is selling the flats. “It really is the only place where you can buy a home for under £100,000. I think that it has been overlooked for years, but it is a key area.”
A 40 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat at Prospect Quarter, with a full price of £190,000, will cost £76,000. Buyers also need to budget for a monthly rent of £247 and an estimated monthly service charge of £150.
Two-bedroom flats start at £93,000 for a 30 per cent share of a property that has a full market value of £270,000. Added to the cost of the mortgage will be a monthly rent payment of £470, plus a service charge of about £165.
Prospect Quarter is part of Barratt London’s Catford Green scheme. It will feature 589 homes by 2017, and shops, in landscaped grounds near Ladywell Fields, which has been spruced up with tennis courts and a café.
A massive point in this development’s favour is its transport links. Commuters can travel from Catford Bridge to Waterloo East, Cannon Street or Charing Cross in 18, 22 and 20 minutes respectively. Journeys from Catford to Blackfriars take 22 minutes, while a trip to St Pancras takes just over half an hour. Both of Catford’s stations are in Zone 3 and an annual season ticket costs £1,508.
In the future there is talk of extending both the Docklands Light Railway and the Bakerloo line to Catford. If either plan materialises it would give the area a huge boost.
The knowledge: Catford
- Past: Catford Stadium, one of London’s top greyhound racetracks from 1932 to 2003, suffered a fire in 2005 and was later demolished.
- Future: Lewisham council is plotting a badly needed upgrade of Catford Shopping Centre.
- Trivial pursuit: Catford is home to Britain’s largest surviving prefab housing estate. The Excalibur Estate was built after the Second World War to provide “temporary” housing for families bombed out of the East End.
- What homes cost: the average price is £337,982, up 7.42 per cent in the past year, according to Zoopla. For renters, a two-bedroom flat would cost an average £1,218pcm.
- Landmark: the huge fibreglass cat at the entrance to Catford Shopping Centre.
- Eat: Sushi at Sapporo Ichiban.
- Drink: at Catford Constitutional Club on Catford Broadway. If you get peckish, it has a good modern British menu.
- Buy: fruit and vegetables at the old-school Catford market.
- Walk: along the River Ravensbourne, which runs through Ladywell Fields — you could almost be in the countryside.