London is brimming with building projects, transport upgrades, cultural and employment shifts that are creating new property hotspots, and not just for the city’s wealthy elite. Shared ownership allows buyers on modest budgets to be winners too.
Urban renewal is a constant in London. Nowhere is undiscovered, but continually areas are being rediscovered. Often this is due to co-ordinated regeneration, as at King’s Cross, but sometimes it is an unplanned confluence of people and cheaper property that makes a place special.
The spur might be commercial, such as the tech sector sprouting up in Shoreditch, or cultural, such as the opening of Tate Modern at Bankside.
New tribes settle, bringing vitality, hastening gentrification and pushing up prices — a familiar cycle.
Once a sedate railway suburb, with Victorian department stores attracting shoppers from across south London.
Electric Avenue, so named because it was one of the first streets to have electric lights, was built in 1880, while the splendid vaulted arcades that form Brixton Market, now a “cauldron” of hip foodie outlets and cafes, date from the 1920s. Music halls and late-night trams to the West End gave the area a bohemian flavour, but after World War Two Brixton fell on hard times.
Riots in the 1980s turned it into a no-go residential zone for many, but also threw a political spotlight on Brixton and brought Whitehall mega-bucks, which sparked a turnaround. The revival has gathered pace, with a street-cred generation of young buyers and renters joining the cosmopolitan mix of anarchist squatters, ethnics, indies, gays and key workers.
Housing charity Guinness Trust has bulldozed a 1930s estate to make way for 487 new homes at Loughborough Park. Many of these are for affordable rent and shared ownership. It launches in March. Call 0300 456 0522. The Junction, another new development, brings 92 light-filled flats across three buildings with roof terraces and gardens. Call Network Homes on 0300 373 3000.
King’s College lecturer Ruth Smith, 34, put down a £26,000 deposit to purchase a 50 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat priced at £359,000. “It costs me £1,090 a month for mortgage, rent and service charges. Before this I paid £700 a month for a room in a shared house. It’s so satisfying to know that my hard-earned money is going towards buying my own property rather than lining someone else’s pocket.”
The former stamping ground of the notorious Kray Twins, is on the up, still rough and tumble but colourful and cool too. Sandwiched between bar-packed Shoreditch to the south and Islington to the north, the pace of gentrification has been slower here but the East London line extension through Hackney is attracting new homebuyers.
Broadway Market has changed with the times yet retains some of its old down-to-earth character: Cooke’s pie-and-mash shop serves cocktails and survives amid new openings such as Tow Path Cafe.
City Mills is the largest new development with 761 homes, including four-bedroom houses. Prices from £171,500 for a 35 per cent share. Call L&Q on 0844 406 9289.
It’s all go in the “Stow” now: street cafes and late bars are opening, boosted by the night tube, signalling the arrival of a new wave of young homebuyers who have brought their lifestyle with them.
The famous greyhound stadium, with its listed Art Deco facade (a wall of neon lights) intact, is being transformed into 99 homes while designer apartments are sprouting up in the centre, enjoying a makeover.
A high street project called The Scene, in homage to movie legend Alfred Hitchcock, who was born locally, has brought 121 smart flats, eateries and a much-needed cinema to the district.
Banbury Park is a development of 352 homes with 72 shared ownership, 20 minutes from Walthamstow centre.
Foundry Mews is a scheme of townhouses and apartments. Two-bedroom homes cost from £106,250 for a 25 per cent share. Nearby, Evesham Court has two-bedroom apartments priced from £199,250 for a 30 per cent share. Call 0300 303 7333.
Flats at Stadium Place, the former dog track, cost from £78,750 for a 25 per cent share.
Arty Deptford has usurped Dalston as the capital’s hippest postcode. It has a creative vibe rippling out from Goldsmiths College, birthplace of the Brit Art Movement, and Laban dance centre, a historic waterfront, a traditional high street and quick transport connections to central London and Docklands. Now it even has a Waitrose superstore, part of a “waterfront village” of 980 homes.
Having slipped off the radar when the docks closed in the 1960s, the area was rediscovered a decade or so ago. despite the drift of creatives to east London, Deptford still has more artists per square mile than anywhere else in the capital.
Joining these are white-collar business consultants and media-industry freelances. A council plan is to unite the high street with the cut-off riverfront with walkways to Deptford Strand, site of Henry VIII’s Royal Dockyard and for decades a rundown strip of derelict wharves.
The Timberyard, a landscaped neighbourhood of 1,132 new homes, will have a public square plus a park along the route of the former Grand Surrey Canal.
And keep an eye open for 40-acre Convoys Wharf, where over 3,000 homes are planned.
Tanners Hill is a development of 43 flats priced from £85,000 for a 25 per cent share. Call 0300 100 0303.
Bow: shared-ownership homes with medal-winning views
Away from the gleaming towers of Canary Wharf, the East End heartland remains a popular hunting ground for first-time buyers. New homes are sprouting up in Shadwell, Bethnal Green and Bow.
"I pinch myself, I've got amazing views of Olympic Park"
Claire Harvey, a speech and language therapist, moved from Nottingham five years ago. Saving a £23,000 deposit, she bought a 30 per cent share of a £310,000, one-bedroom flat at Fondant Court, a former chocolate factory in Bow. Her total monthly outgoings are £870. “I still pinch myself. I’ve got amazing views of the Olympic Park. I love the area.”