Take the East London line and go south

The East London line - dubbed 'the EL' by commuters - is making SE postcodes more attractive to buyers, discovers David Spittles
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BASE14, New Cross
£59,500: buys a part-share of flats at BASE14, Reaston Street, New Cross. Call 0845 606 1221
The reopening of the East London line as a new Overground service has caused big property ripples in Hackney, where the line has been extended to four new stations. However, areas along the southern route have received far less attention.

Now could prove a good time to buy into these SE postcodes, before the full impact of the new line is felt, and especially as prices are lower on the south side of the river anyway.

Prior to the upgrade, the old line carried nine million passengers a year. Transport for London forecasts that the new line will boost passenger numbers to 33 million by the end of next year, and to 40 million by 2016.

The southern extension runs from New Cross to West Croydon - via Brockley, Honor Oak, Sydenham, Forest Hill, Crystal Palace, Norwood and West Croydon. Estate agents are often the first to spot an area's potential and, significantly, new branches are sprouting up in these areas. Last month, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, which has 50 offices across the capital, opened in Crystal Palace. Call 020 8766 5920. "It was a gaping hole in our network," says Lee Watts, managing director. "The new transport link will open up the area to more homebuyers."

Altitude 25, Croydon
£170,000: flats at Altitude 25, a new residential tower in Croydon town centre. Call DTZ (020 3296 3837)

Options for buyers

New Cross is reaching the stage where people want to live there rather than have to live there, having finally woken up to its transport pluses: sixminute overland trains to London Bridge and a one-stop connection to the Jubilee line at Canada Water.

For years the area's only two attractions have been Goldsmiths College (where Damien Hirst studied) and The Venue, a lively nightclub. But things are changing both demographically and physically.

Always cosmopolitan, the ethnic mix is wider than ever and there is a growing community of creatives, spawning quirky shops and eateries. Singles and couples - not just key workers but Canary Wharf and City types, too - are hunting for homes.

BASE14, on Reaston Street, is a new development of 12 apartments, all available under the government backed New Build HomeBuy scheme, with shared ownership options. Tucked away in a neighbourhood of Victorian terraces, there are more phases to come. Prices start at £170,000 (or £59,500 for a part-share) for a one-bedroom flat. Two-bedroom apartments cost from £220,000 (or £77,000). The developer is In Place, part of Hyde Housing Association, which is offering rented accommodation at the site, too. Call 0845 606 1221.

The Atrium is a recently completed scheme of 24 loft-style flats at 459 New Cross Road. It is a contemporary design building set amid a Victorian terrace. Resales from £180,000. Call Winkworth on 020 7277 7298.

New Cross Gate, half a mile from New Cross, has its own station and its own identity. It was once a pretty village at the end of the tramline out of central London, and the legacy of handsome Victorian architecture remains - the Haberdashers Estate at Telegraph Hill, a fire station, public conveniences (now sealed off ), large pubs, a town hall and listed Hatcham Liberal Club. Watch out for the latter, which has closed and is a redevelopment candidate, being part of the Kender Street regeneration zone where Lewisham council is building hundreds of new homes. The former Electric Empire cinema, nearby, has already been converted into 28 flats, with the historic frontage retained. Pure Lake, the developer, has other small schemes in the area. Call 020 8244 2420.

Forest Hill Central, Perry Vale
£250,000: resale apartments at Forest Hill Central, next to the new line at Perry Vale. Call Acorn (020 8333 5080)
Forest Hill is a leafy, unpretentious inner suburb. Though located on the busy South Circular road, it has quaint passageways, mews and private roads with houses built on elevated plots offering splendid views of London - almost Hampstead-like.

Berkeley Homes has built Forest Hill Central on railway land at Perry Vale. There are 46 flats. Resales from £250,000. Call Acorn on 020 8333 5080. London & Quadrant and Hyde are the two main housing associations operating in this part of London.

Altitude 25 is a new 25-storey residential tower in Croydon town centre and is well positioned for both East Croydon mainline station and the new Tube link at West Croydon station. Prices start at £170,000 - rising to £1,020,000 for the penthouse. Call DTZ on 020 3296 3837. The same agent is selling flats at The Exchange, a good-looking conversion of a telephone exchange. Prices from £230,000.

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