London's top postcodes for first-time buyers:Hither Green and Lewisham offer some of the capital's most 'affordable' homes with good transport links

Low prices are drawing young buyers to SE13 and SE20, where farmers markets and gastro-pubs are offering added appeal...

Hither Green and the town of Lewisham have emerged as the capital’s leading first-time buyer hotspots, with more than half of all homes sold in the SE13 postcode they share being bought by people joining the property ladder, according to new research.

The study by Hamptons International reveals that 55 per cent of sales in SE13 are first-time purchases — up from just 24 per cent in 2012. The influx of new buyers has seen values rise 34 per cent in the same period, but the average price remains an affordable £297,000.

Crystal Palace (in SE20 and SE26) is another key hunting ground for first-timers, who snapped up 54 per cent of all homes in SE20, up from 21 per cent four years ago. Average prices now stand at £264,000, up 44 per cent since 2012.

Hither Green’s popularity is based not only on low house prices, but its burgeoning London village feel, complete with a community-run cinema, farmers’ market, a gastropub in the form of The Station Hotel, and Victorian and Edwardian housing stock.

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Transport links are good — it is less than 15 minutes to London Bridge, and 20 minutes to Charing Cross by train.

David Meredith, senior branch manager at Robinson Jackson estate agents, says that 70 per cent of his clients are first-time buyers, in their late twenties to late thirties, and nearly always helped financially by their parents. They pay between £275,000 and £300,000 for a one-bedroom flat in a period conversion, or between £350,000 and £400,000 for a two- bedroom flat.

Crystal Palace also has good transport links. Overground services to Victoria, London Bridge or Blackfriars all take about half an hour. Since 2010, the East London line has linked the area to Canary Wharf.

Crystal Palace’s greatest asset is the park, dotted with dinosaur sculptures. There are good bars, restaurants and shops on the triangle of Westow Street, Westow Hill and Church Road. Locals love the food market held every Saturday in Haynes Lane, and there is a well-equipped sports centre. Schools include Harris City Academy, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

Crystal Palace’s streets are lined with huge Victorian villas, most of which have been converted into flats.

James Gough, director of Martin & Co, says their typical first-time buyer would be a couple in their mid- to late twenties looking for value for money. An average one-bedroom flat would cost between £300,000 and £320,000, while a two-bedroom flat would be in the region of £400,000.

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Solid investment: Crystal Palace is a first-time buyer hotspot, helped by good bars and restaurants


Gough says Crystal Palace has plenty of charm and there’s a genuine community feel. “People seem to really love the area, with its food market organised by local residents, community garden projects, a film festival and a festival for families in the summer,” he adds.


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