Homes to buy in Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich: why first-timers are flocking to south-east London

One in four people joining the ranks of London home owners is doing so in areas stretching from Greenwich Peninsula to Crystal Palace...
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South-East London is proving to be a major draw for buyers taking their initial step on the property ladder, with the boroughs of Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich accounting for a quarter of all the capital’s first-time buys, according to information services company Experian.
So it seems one in four people joining the ranks of London home owners is doing so in swathes stretching from Greenwich Peninsula to Crystal Palace.
Experian’s research also found that 23 per cent of first-timers opt for the cheaper reaches of east London, such as Havering, which accounts for almost 13 per cent of first-time buyer sales. Newham, Tower Hamlets and Barking and Dagenham are also popular.
Other favoured first-time buyer locations include Sutton (9.07 per cent), Hillingdon (5.37 per cent) and Croydon (4.99 per cent).
However, only a handful of house hunters find a first home in Kensington and Chelsea — 0.08 per cent. Westminster, Camden and Hammersmith and Fulham see just over one per cent of first-time buys between them.

London flats for first-time buyers: the capital's top boroughs

Family-friendly Bexley
Bexley’s strong performance in the study can be put down to its appeal to young families priced out of more central locations.
The leafy borough was named the best place to bring up a child in London in the most recent Family Hotspots report from Family Investment, thanks to its open spaces and high-performing grammar schools, with Beths Grammar School and Bexley Grammar School rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.
Kevin Wooder, managing partner of Robinson Jackson estate agents, said most first-time buyer families find their starter home in Bexleyheath, which has great schools, a thriving high street and good commuter links. Residents can reach Cannon Street in 33 minutes and Charing Cross in 37 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £2,188.
Houses are also affordable, compared with the rest of London. Wooder estimates a Thirties three-bedroom semi-detached home would cost between £370,000 and £440,000. A three-bedroom Victorian terrace would be priced at about £320,000 to £330,000.
“Young families are moving into the area,” says Wooder. “It has a very good selection of schools, the infrastructure is good and it is affordable compared to other London boroughs.”
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Cool Crystal Palace
First-time buyers who don’t want to stray too far from central London could find a home from home in Crystal Palace, a large area of which is within Bromley but also crosses over into Croydon and Southwark.
“Everybody knows about the park, but Crystal Palace has rapidly become a really cool place,” says Zoe Matheson, branch manager at Wooster & Stock. “It has lots of lovely restaurants and boutiques, and a cocktail bar recently opened.”
A food market, imaginative housebuilding, breathtaking views of the City and the antiques shops of Church Road are all adding to its cachet, while the town itself is blessed with grand Victorian houses, mostly converted into spacious flats.
A two-bedroom flat would cost about £350,000 — though the largest flats overlooking the park can sell for as much as £650,000.
The area’s star has risen since the extension of the East London line in 2012, bringing direct links to Docklands. There are also railway services to Victoria and London Bridge, which take less than half an hour. An annual season ticket costs from £1,508.

Going for Greenwich
When buyers think of Greenwich, they tend to think of its sumptuous, historic village. But with two-bedroom flats priced at about £500,000 and houses stretching into the millions, a more realistic option is Greenwich Peninsula, which is still within walking distance of great shopping and eating opportunities at Greenwich Park.
The peninsula, home of the O2, has finally come of age after being overhyped as the solution to London’s housing woes at the time of the Millennium. Two-bedroom flats are priced at about £300,000.

The peninsula has the great advantage of North Greenwich Tube station, which is in Zone 2 on the Jubilee line, only one stop from Canary Wharf and four from London Bridge.
Critics complain that Greenwich Peninsula still has an unfinished feel as more developments continue to spring up, but in terms of lifestyle it is visibly improving.
The 02 has a full complement of chain eateries, Craft London is a smart new restaurant in Peninsula Square and The Jetty is a pop-up street food venue and cocktail bar with outstanding views from its rooftop.

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